The Tribunal: Is it actually finished?

I have been operating under the assumption that the First Tier Tribunal dealing with determining the illegality of Rangers’ tax strategy for the last decade had finished on schedule on Friday the 6th of May.  However, I have yet to actually find any confirmation of this.

My sources of information for this issue and I had previously agreed, and are maintaining, a ‘zero contact’ policy  until the tribunal returns a result.  So my access to the case will be limited until then.   However, other lines of enquiry have also drawn a blank.  Rangers FC will not be interested in keeping their supporters informed on an issue of such negligible risk.  Additionally, I doubt that they will want to put this subject back on the radar for a news cycle by commenting.  Some journalists I am talking with have also been unable to confirm that the First Tier Tribunal finished on schedule.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.  So it might be complete, but I just wanted to correct any impression I had given that it was.

In the event that it is not complete, the inquest will doubtless begin in the vacuum with all of us who follow this subject reading the entrails of the beast to divine meaning where none may exist.  If you want to believe that Rangers will not face an unpayable bill, this would be a sign that HMRC’s case cannot be that good.  If you want this to be the execution order for the club that started in Flesher’s Haugh in 1872, you would see further delay as an indicator of the vast mountains of evidence against Rangers.  In truth a further delay would probably signal neither.

In a case involving £48m of transactions from Rangers FC (and a further £2m from MIH) and an average “loan” transaction of £50,000, there would be at least 1,000 transactions that would have to be dissected in detail for the judges.  This would involve tracking the disbursement of funds to an employee from the EBT.  Each payment must have a corresponding loan request (with multiple extension documents).  HMRC will be trying to match loan requests to player contracts: either on a one-to-one correspondence or where aggregate amounts due to players match aggregate amounts paid through the EBT + legally paid emoluments (salary and contractual bonus).  Any other documents relating to these payments that may exist would also be presented.  In summary, it is quite an onerous task given the amount of money and the number of transactions involved.

If Andrew Thornton QC is under instruction to slow things down, it would be a trivial task to do so.  Questioning the admissibility of each piece of paper or verification of the authenticity and data integrity of the information on each sheet of paper could really slow progress down.  Even if not deliberately trying to slow the process, but just doing his job to try to limit the damage by getting anything he can excluded would also have a retarding effect on progress.

If the submission of evidence and cross-examination was not completed last Friday, it could mean a further six months until the tribunal can reconvene.  At this stage, no one wants an answer to this saga one way or the other more than I do.  I sincerely hope that the tribunal is moving towards a finding right now.  However, it suddenly struck me that I have no independent basis for believing that it is.  I just wanted to keep you all up to date and as well informed as I can.

About rangerstaxcase
I have information on Rangers' tax case, and I will use this blog to provide the details of what Rangers FC have done, why it was illegal, and what the implications for what was (updated) one of the largest football clubs in Britain.

214 Responses to The Tribunal: Is it actually finished?

  1. Casual Observer says:

    Just catching up after the weekend. Back to your best RTC.


  2. Ray Charles says:

    Boab said:

    Having read some of it and the summary I am stunned by the amount of time and effort companies and the Taxman put into this sort of stuff.

    Basically it is like a “Shell game”.
    Three shells and a pea.
    The taxman is the mark.
    Tax lawyers/accountants are the shill.

    Speaking as a layman, I think that sums up this case without having to read it.

    Why is tax law so obtuse that it allows such shenanigans?
    I would have thought it would be easier to simplify and tighten up existing tax law rather than expand it and yet it just seems to get bigger, more unwieldy and less effective.

  3. manila says:


  4. manila says:

    I’ve posted, and it popped up randomly in the middle of fukknose where. This is obviously a continuing problem for RTC’s blog management, but considering all that he has given us, it would be churlish to complain.

    I’m going to look at it as a positive, and as the result of the league, most on here will be looking for something … anything, anything to dull the pain. The random nature now of where informed comment, opTIMistic speculation, hunnish blind optimism, the odd rammy and FULL-CAPS appear is a perfect reflection of the the blue-top coverage of this entire saga so far. Ill-informed, dis-informed, Mint-informed and hun-informed has been the Blue order of the day since this charade lurched into action. None of it coherent, none of it sincere and all of it pathetic.

    The endgame is coming, there will be a decision. I want this permanent embarrassment and occassional disgrace obliterated. It’s triumphalist ethos, it’s bitter beliefs, it’s superiority, it’s brown brogues, it’s blazers and it’s grey Farah slacks … I want them gone, I want to breath.

    Surely justice will see to it – that justice has to be served … surely?

    Goodness where, and in what blog that this post will appear …

  5. DavyLaw says:

    Time for an update, please! Whaddya mean you’re away on holiday?! there is never nothing happening.

  6. Mark Dickson says:

    so has the tribunal finished? Apart from post season squabbling between rival Old Firm fans until we get some fresh information this otherwise excellent blog has kinda ground to a halt meantime?

    I don’t know what significance it has but I see Rangers re-signed Sasa Papac instead of paying Hearts a transfer fee for Lee Wallace, perhaps Hearts wanted more than Rangers were willing to pay when they could gamble on getting him on a pre-contract in January but no real evidence of the Whyte ‘warchest’ yet?

  7. Lord Wobbly says:

    Surely you are not suggesting that Rangers are spending within their means, Mark? I’ve heard and read comments from Rangers fans who think “HMRC are small change compared to Whyte’s millions” which is obviously why he’s not worried!

    In the meantime, on the blog front, one can only speculate regarding RTC’s absence.

    Is he on holiday?
    Has he been rumbled and ordered to desist?
    Did he imbibe too much in sorrow/celebration and fall in the Shannon/Clyde?
    Is he, as someone previously suggested, a double agent who has been recalled…. “mission accomplished”?

    Come on people. We’re supposed to be good at conspiracy theories. Alternatively, if any of the regular posters wanted to wade in with a lengthy tome of their own, I’m sure nobody would mind.

  8. Mark Dickson says:

    Here’s a conspiracy theory for you to ponder …….

    ‘rangers tax case’
    anagrams to
    ‘Sex act arranges.’

  9. tomtom says:

    Better with arrange sex acts!!

  10. droid says:

    RTC is lying low as there have been attempts to leech specific detailed information which if posts had gone any further could have undermined the tribunal. Silence is Golden.?

  11. Goosy says:

    Re RTC comment that journalists were warned off asking awkward questions about Whyte`s source of funds and the RTC gorilla at the takeover press conference
    It was interesting to note that at the subsequent “Paper Talk” broadcast on 9 May Jim Traynor and his fellow hacks managed to discuss the takeover for 10mins without once mentioning these two elephants in the room

    I wonder if the ban is permanent and not just a one off ??

  12. peter lamb says:

    hes off to sunny spain!!! on his holidays! and he deserves it as he has sone more reporting of this story than the whole scottish media put together!!
    either that or he has found out rangers have won the case:(………………………………………………………………..
    i hope hes in spain!!!

  13. Lord Wobbly says:

    It doesn’t take a lot of work to turn an ’employee benefit trust’ into ’employ trustee benefit’!

  14. me 2 says:

    I think the Austerity will continue until the findings of the tribunal are published splashing cash just now would be very foolish

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