The deceptive Craig Whyte

“Deceptive”:  adjective   Giving an appearance or impression different from the true one; misleading.

Whyte has released a statement on the official Rangers website dismissing the calls for “vigilance” from outgoing directors as just sour grapes from men replaced for resisting change.  His statement includes the following:
I believe most Rangers supporters understand that, as a result of the takeover, the Club’s debt to the Lloyds Banking Group has been cleared and I have repeatedly stated to the Board my intentions to invest in the team.”
This statement is nothing short of a clear attempt to mislead Rangers supporters.  It is a craftily worded statement (Hay McKerron must be exhausted) that amounts to an attempt to deceive his paying customers.  Craig Whyte does not say that Rangers FC’s debt has been reduced.  He did not say this because he cannot say this.  He cannot say this because it is not true.  As this blog has stated several times, the debt that Rangers owed Lloyds banking Group was purchased by Whyte’s Wavetower company (as it was then named) in a transaction that did not involve Rangers.  The purchase of MIH’s shares in Rangers FC by Whyte’s firm for a single pound was a separate transaction.  So Rangers do not owe Lloyds this money any more, but they owe the same amount to someone else: Whyte’s company.
Prove me wrong, Mr. Whyte.  Make a fool of me.  Discredit this blog by revealing the structure of Rangers’ debt today.  It is a plc and it does have 26,000 other shareholders who have a right to know the amount of indebtedness of the company they co-own with you.
The truth is that Rangers’ debt is about £28m (including negative working capital).  The takeover did not change Rangers debt, but Whyte is trying to imply otherwise.  Whyte is shaping up to make Sir David Murray look like a model of transparency and straight-talking.
Rangers supporters and journalists should note what Whyte did not mention.  Whyte ignored the “circular” that he is alleged to have promised to the Independent Board Committee (a sub-committee of the old Rangers board that reviewed the takeover proposal).  Alastair Johnston says that this was originally promised to be released on 16 May, but is now scheduled for 6 June.  This “circular” is supposed to reveal the how Whyte plans to fund Rangers going forward (the £25m investment promised).  Perhaps Whyte is just practicing ‘dignified silence’ on this subject?  Perhaps this is simply a subject that he does not want to discuss publicly in advance of a result in the tax case?

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 are for one of the largest football clubs in Britain.

578 Responses to The deceptive Craig Whyte

  1. tonybananas says:

    “paul smith30/05/2011 at 11:09 am
    I don’t pretend to understand the full subtleties of EBTs, but if it can be shown that Rangers were using them to make contractual wage payments, then there will be a tax bill, no doubt about it.”

    Boab made a good post a few weeks ago that punched through the “subtleties” of EBT use. To paraphrase it was along the lines of…..

    Ronald De Boer’s agent says “Here Ron, I’ve negotiated this great deal where the Gers will pay two million quid a year into a fund and then at some unspecified point in the future, the trustees of this fund might decide to pay you some or all of this money totally at their own discretion, or maybe they’ll decide not to. But I’m sure they will….. what’s that?…. No I’m afraid they can’t provide any written guarantees but don’t let that bother you”

    Ronald De Boer “Aye sounds like a magic deal, sign me up immediately. I’m rich enough as it is anyway to not bother if they don’t pay me”

    To me and my layman understanding, Rangers have to find a way of making the above not just sound plausible, but probable, this is what they are up against.

    We can dance around smoke, mirrors and obfuscation, around “evasion”, “avoidance” or “management” but this is the issue at the heart of the matter for which Rangers and Thornhill will have to come up with something which explains away the implausibility that highly remunerated international football players would accept an agreement with no written guarantees that they would be paid anything.

    I think even Alan ‘you’ll have to crow bar me out the door and down to Tottenham’ Hutton would baulk at such a proposition.

  2. Boab says:

    Management, avoidance and evasion are really secondary issues as you suggest. They are however very important secondary issues.

    The facts of the case, the straightforward question, what promises were made to whom, what expectations did people have, what arrangements were made, will answer the question of whether or not the tax is due. Was the correct amount of tax paid at the correct time. If so then there will be interest as well. So as you suggest, avoidance and evasion aren’t really important here, simple mistakes could have been made. No avoidance scheme, no deliberate acts, simple mistakes. Though as you also suggest, what’s the chances of that well.

    Where avoidance and evasion come into it is what happens next. Worst case scenario, in the event of evasion people can end up in the jail. Tax evasion is a criminal offence, albeit it may be prosecuted under the common law in Scotland. That would be a matter for Crown Office to decide.

    As I have said elsewhere, I have yet to see any suggestion that any individual has been accused of tax evasion. It would be unlikely anyway I would have thought, as it is likely to be the body corporate which benefited rather than the individuals who acted on it’s behalf. Though you could argue that they benefited indirectly by keeping their job, or maybe even getting bonuses for “efficiency”.

  3. tonybananas says:

    As ever Boab you’ve got the finger on the pulse. Evasion, avoidance, management etc. are not irrelevant but are not central to the question of how Rangers have operated in relation to EBTs.

    The ‘De Boer’ scenario is one for the benefit of those who have argued that this is a question of whether EBTs are legal or not/it’s a loophole Rangers have exploited/they acted on advice etc. etc.

    EBTs ARE legal but not as a means to fulfill contractual obligations such as a highly-paid footballer’s salary. Admittedly without any access to information on the case, I find it very difficult to see how Rangers could successfully argue that payments to players through an EBT were anything but contractual remuneration. Unless no evidence of having used EBTs for this purpose exists which I find doubtful through the hints that RTC has dropped (yes an opinion developed purely on trust in the context of everything RTC has said so far).

    It’s not a loophole as operating EBTs in this manner has never been legal.

    Acting on advice is another red herring as the central question is ‘do they owe the tax or not’? This has nothing to do with intentions, good or otherwise or what advice they took. If they are found to owe the tax, the £24million crystallises as a bill PLUS interest.

    I very much doubt I would be successful in arguing I don’t need to pay 25% of my council tax because I received advice that a single person is entitled to 25% discount. This is not to say these discounts do not exist but they are not applicable to me due to my circumstances i.e. tied to the ball and chain!

    This seems analagous with the Rangers case where some have argued that EBTs are not illegal and have pointed to other examples in case law, ignoring the basis of HOW the EBTs have been managed.

    When/if the bill crystallises we are in the ball park of penalties where intent, or lack of intent, to avoid tax becomes central.

  4. abrahamtoast says:

    How do you think RFC could argue that these employees, on their rather large salaries, would need a loan, which is how payments from EBTs are described?

    And how could RFC argue that it would be appropriate, or even likely, for them to make such loans to individuals who no longer have any connection withthe club?

  5. Boab says:

    Isn’t it the trustees who decide, on their discretion, which loans are paid out and to whom.

    Nothing to do with the club surely. They just put the money in, but don’t have any say in how it gets paid out.

  6. DavyLaw says:

    Time for a fresh blog, methinks.

  7. Auldheid says:


    Pennies dropping from the arcade?.

  8. Lord Wobbly says:

    Wait a minute. The author of that piece has just returned from a place with no internet access?!

    Charlie? Is that you?

    (see earlier in this blog)

  9. Adam says:

    Ive read a few of his articles. It appears that he is in the 5% of internet fans that im a member of. lol

  10. Lord Wobbly says:

    What are the chances that Mr Whyte has delayed the circular because he wants to understand the complete picture for committing pen to paper? If he truely does have Rangers at heart, maybe he really will take the opportunity to bring all of the skeletons out from wherever they’ve been hiding (those he inherited at least)? After all, if he continues to cover up pre-existing issues, he becomes complicit in them.

  11. droid says:

    Does anyone know whether the following could be applied in rfc’s case?

    a Personal Liability Notice (“PLN”) served on each Appellant under section 121C of the of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 which enables HMRC, in certain circumstances, to impose personal liability on directors of companies who fail to pay National Insurance Contributions.

    If so would it be the current directors or the previous ones?

    How much could this amount to?

    Does it point to the need for the skills backgound of Mr Betts et al?

  12. Random Username to enable private message says:

    Hi RTC. Absolutely facinating stuff on this blog. Can you give us an update as to how well viewed this site is and can I also strongly recomend that you add a facebook “LIKE” button to the site. As good as this blog is, there is a lot of people out there I talk to who haven’t even heard of it (or at least claim as much) and therefore dismiss it as the biased ramblings of a paranoid Celtic fan. Adding the “like” button will allow this site/blog to be seen everywhere and thus generate more interest/debate and get more and more people talking about it.

    It’s very simple. here is a link

  13. Goosy says:

    Its an interesting idea that somewhere in the bowels of Pakhead there is a dread that RFC may go under and cause Celtic a massive strategic headache
    Its even more interesting that with hindsight Celtic deliberately gambled on not winning the SPL under GS with the comfort that losing the title meant RFC were still in business thus perpetuating the Old Firm stranglehold on Scottish football
    Which raises yet another interesting point

    We have to assume that the Celtic Board are avidly following the RFC situ (and indeed this blog)

    So what is the REAL ideal scenario asfaras Celtic are concerned ?
    Surely they dont want an RFC so enfeebled that they cease mounting a challenge for the title
    Its one thing to have won “tainted titles ”
    Its quite another to win “meaningless titles ”
    Do Cetic want to dominate scottish football without any serious challenge from anywhere ?
    I certainly recall periods in the past when I and my mates opted not to go to a match because it would be “too easy”
    This was no good to Celtic or to the game

  14. Thegreenbhoy says:

    Piffle you talk a lot of nonsense the fact of the matter is Rangers have won titles based on financial doping Celtic have not argue that case and not another as I said at the beginning PIFFILE

  15. Goosy says:

    We have to assume that the Celtic Board are avidly following the RFC situ (and indeed this blog)

    So what is the REAL ideal scenario asfaras Celtic are concerned ?
    Surely they dont want an RFC so enfeebled that they cease mounting a challenge for the title
    Its one thing to have won “tainted titles ”
    Its quite another to win “meaningless titles ”
    Do Cetic want to dominate scottish football without any serious challenge from anywhere ?
    I certainly recall periods in the past when I and my mates opted not to go to a match because it would be “too easy”
    This was no good to Celtic or to the game

  16. grocer says:

    Just testing guys to see if I can post etc !

  17. grocer says:

    When you look back and analyse how celtic lost the last 3 spl titles against a rangers team on their uppers it beggars believe. A year or 2 ago I smelt a serious rat, in so much as, celtic were aiding and abetting in ensuring the survival of rangers and the SPL as a viable marketable media thing.

    Gordan Strachans last year and the loss of the title, to me anyway, was akin to things that happened in that series “The twilight zone”. Only my opinion guys.

  18. Adam says:

    Rangers getting to CL 2 years in a row has given us £30 million CASH before a ball is kicked.
    Celtic not getting to CL 2 years in a row means they have lost £30 million CASH before a ball is kicked.

    Do you honestly believe Celtic allowed a £60 million swing in revenue to Rangers, just to keep them alive? LOL

  19. Not The Huddle Malcontent says:

    I don’t believe they ALLOWED it, i just think they were too small minded and penny pinching not to capitalise on the current plight of rangers FC. And they should all be sacked for the pigs ear they have made of it.

    However, there is a good argument to be made that Celtic would go into further decline without some kind of serious compeition (which a club like rangers will provide)

    So, no rangers, then no Celtic. i was going to say no DECENT Celtic team, but really, both clubs are on a downward spiral and as the gulf between the haves and have nots in terms of TV revenue, the Scottish game is gonna die a slow death

    revolution of the way the game is funded to create a level playing field is needed – whether its a euro league structure, cross border leagues/tv/sponsorship, salary caps, squad size limits, number of youth players/home nationals to be in the squad etc

    sadly, i don’t see the wee countries being able to do anything to influence UEFA/FIFA to change things.

  20. Thomas314 says:


  21. Lord Wobbly says:

    Start a thread then.

  22. tonybananas says:

    Lord Wobbly & Adam
    30/05/2011 at 11:28 pm

    It’s already been stated on this blog that Rangers making a settlement offer to HMRC has no legal implications so I’m not quite sure why those of the Rangers persuasion resist the idea so dogmatically.

    It’s public knowledge that the core amount and interest come to something in the region of £38million. Surely any semi-competent legal team would explore the possibility of offering to pay a fraction of this amount to make the problem go away even if the percentage probability of losing the case is fairly low but not insignificant. This is standard business practice and does not amount to an admittance of guilt. Only the most delusional Rangers fan, or an owner trying to pull the wool, could believe or state that the odds of losing the their case are insignificant or 0%.

    Instead we are led to believe that, along with the financial cost of taking HMRC to a lengthy tribunal, Rangers preferred to endure 12+ months of negative publicity (in relative terms compared to what they’re used to) despite the media’s best attempts to fire fight, without exploring every avenue to make the problem go away.

    The source of the allegation that Rangers offered to settle is Phil MacGiollabhain. Cue derisive laughter and dismissal from the Rangers-minded “why would we believe someone who hates Rangers blah blah?”

    Phil MacGiollabhain is certainly a Celtic-minded individual, however this does not automatically make him wrong. Most, if not all, of what Phil has published on the tax case has proven correct so far regarding a story that is still unfolding. This is inconvenient for those who want to dismiss him out of hand as anti-Rangers. Well, anti-Rangers or not, this doesn’t automatically make him wrong, any more than the hopelessly pro-Rangers Scottish media are automatically correct

    I am not trying to convice anyone that the sun shines out Phil MacGiollabhain’s arse, but he is a card-carrying journalist who has had stories published in the national media (for what that’s worth!) and is cautious about ensuring stories are “stood up” by sources before he publishes them. He does not simply publish wild accusations where organisations and businesses are concerned.

    The assertion that no statement from MIH/Rangers/Johston/Whyte or the ghost of Bill Struth about an offer has been forthcoming is delusional nonsense anyway.

    What are they likely to say…. “We’d just like to announce to the nation that we made an offer to settle with HMRC and they rejected this hands down…. but don’t worry, we’re 100% confident of winning the case… keep buying those season books….”


    It can also be said that no statement has been forthcoming denying an offer was made either.

    We are dealing with an individual (Whyte) who has shown every indication of trying to wriggle off the hook of the undertaking he gave to disclose his sources of finance and you honestly think if Rangers had an offer to settle with HMRC rejected they’d be releasing this information in press statements???

    Anyway, here are links to the stories outlining the circumstances of these offers. Make of it what you will.

  23. Boab says:

    Pretty much my thinking.

    I would add one thing. Whilst people may argue that the chap publishing his stories is not evidence (actually it would be primary hearsay, but that’s not important right now) it can be described as intelligence from a reliable source.

    As you say, the bloke has form for getting it right in relation to this story. Suggesting that he himself has a good source. It would also make commercial sense for this to have happened. One would have thought it was part of the normal process. Even if the tax payer (or non payer) felt they had a good case.

    So, on the balance of probabilities (in the best traditions of the tribunal) I believe that Rangers have made offers to settle. Oh and those would have been “without prejudice” and as such could not be used as an admission of anything.

  24. Lord Wobbly says:

    Tonybananas. How very dare you sir! I resent the implication! (sorry Adam, you seem like a thoroughly decent sort – you’re choice of team notwithstanding) but I cannot have the readers of this site thinking I’m one of THEM. I am, however, a Celtic fan who prefers evidence to conjecture. I’m not doubting there have been offers to HMRC, but I would prefer to see proof before I serve it up as FACT.

  25. tonybananas says:

    Lord Wobbly – I think my statement was sufficiently woolly, in the best Craig Whyte/Hay McKerron manner, to avoid the implication that I implicated you as one of THEM. Phew, I think I got away with it!

  26. The Mighty Quinn says:

    Bougherra linked with Leicester move;

    “Championship side Leicester City are reported to be considering a £1m bid for Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra as the midlands club look to bolster their central defence for next season.” (Record)

    So much for the £10m rating Rangers fans have been giving him…

  27. manila says:

    As the days tick by, I’m more and more looking forward to the 6th of June, when the new Chieftan of the Klan descends the marble starcase [careful how you go there] to deliver to the massed ranks of expectant bearholders his bright new and transparent vision for Turd Lanark.

    My understanding is that this address to the remaining independent 15% of hunvestors was a mandatory requirement of the shakedown takeover. Anyone confirm/dispute?

    Originally scheduled for the 16th of May, the sliding of the pronouncement can only be seen as an emphatic sign that Mr. Whyte has only the best interests of the club at heart. A prisoner to his dedication to Ra Berrz, which stretches all the way back to the time he used to support Motherwell, his effort to cross all the ays, ays, ays, ays, ays and dotting the tees can only be admired. Having invested over 50 Million into the club, cleared the debt and provided Sir Alistair with a magnificent Warchest, it is understandable that Wee Craigy will be making every effort to send a clear and unambiguous message.


    So … are we likely to see a statement – or another postponement? What are the chances?

  28. tonybananas says:

    RTC has been scathing in his criticism of the Scottish media in relation to the tax case but also in general, and rightly so.

    One or two Rangers-minded posters have postulated that there’s no bias, it’s just a matter of opinion based on what colour of glasses you’re viewing things through.

    Mark Dickson accepted the logic that you have to be on message with whoever is in charge at Rangers, but argued the same was equally true with Lawwell and Reid at Celtic.

    I wonder how Mark would explain the following is consistent with the view that the Scottish press are reluctant to criticise Celtic due to the threat of privileges withdrawn…

    Today’s Evening Times. What’s the big story….

    The Tax Tribunal?
    What is the probability of the result going against Rangers?
    What would the consequences be?
    What did Alastair Johnston mean when he said Rangers fans should be “vigilant”?
    Why has Craig Whyte delayed his circular on his sources of finance?


    The big story, that puts everything else in the shade, is that Celtic got pumped 5-0 by Artmedia Bratislava 6 years ago…

  29. tomtom says:

    Baffled by that story as well. It’s not as if it was the anniversary or anything like that. As good a reason as any as to why fewer people are buying newspapers nowadays.

    Tomorrow’s story is about Celtic’s close shave when the only beat Airdrie 2-1 in 1962.

  30. Gary c says:

    It all goes back to the January transfer window in season 2008/2009. when the Celtic board / Gordon Strachan refused to spend any money on Steven Fletcher from Hibs and instead we signed Willo Flood.

    Rangers were on their knees having to sell and we/Celtic had a 7 point lead in the league. Was a mistake/arrogance on our part.

    If we had won the league that season i genuinely think that would have been a death warrant for Rangers.

    That error and typical Celtic mind set not to buy in a position of strength in the long run has cost Celtic over £30m in CL revenue. and i have no doubt in my mind the league title for the last 3 years. or 6 in a row. All for the cost of £3m it would have cost for Steven Fletcher.

  31. I STILL See No Subs Except... says:

    I agree with Boab for what it’s worth.

    But, can someone please enlighten me, how is this related to the RFC tax case and the shenanigans at Ibrox and the complicit Scottish media, which is what I thought this blog was about?

    RTC, I undersrtand the its a “quiet news day” wrt the case right now, but off-topic stuff only dilutes what this blog is about – it’s in danger of becoming another message board, rather than the inciteful blog and forum for debate on a crucial issue.

    I implore, don’t fall into the trap those we despise do so regulalrly – print anything just to fill space.

    When there is news – well be here – I check it daily, and contribute when there is something peritnent (like McCoist having no clue aobut spending even after meeting Whyte).

    All this “fill” just makes it harde to se if anything worthwhile and/or relevant has ocurred.

    All due rspect to my fellow posters BTW, this isn’t a slight on them, merely some of the content and particularly it’s relevance/value in this context.

    Oh, and having stated my case here, I won’t be debating this further, as that in it’s-self becomes just another sideshow!


  32. Boab says:

    Just replying to a comment from RTC that if we are all too happy to accept and criticise Rangers and their board for their actions then we must surely be willing to do the same with regard Celtic. If one is willing to criticise others one should also be able to face one’s own shortcomings.

    You are however correct and it was “off-topic”. I thought that at the time, and if I remember right I commented as such.

  33. Ed007 says:

    Hi, I am the main editor on the CFC pages at Just found your blog and found it very interesting. I hope you don’t mind if I post a link to you blog on my site? Keep up the good work..


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