The Craig Whyte disaster: who benefits?

Over the months leading up to Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers, I was sceptical, to say the least, that anyone would want to take over a club so riven with problems. The options for explaining the motivations of a buyer were:

  • Billionaire ready to lose close to £80 million to cover the cost of repairing the damage left by the Murray legacy
  • Asset stripper intent on liquidating the club and making a quick profit
  • Shrewd strategist who will help Rangers to safety and survival
  • Idiot

The claims that Whyte was a billionaire with “off the radar” wealth were obvious fictions propagated by Hay McKerron (Whyte’s PR firm at the time) and eagerly repeated by a cowed and compliant Scottish media.  It is difficult to believe that any journalist wrote those stories without knowing that they were baseless.  Evidence then and now renders the idea of Billionaire-Whyte as laughable.  The preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that Whyte is just an aspiring entrepreneur with a string of business failures behind him.

Similarly, we can dismiss the notion of Whyte as a cynical asset-stripper, at least he is not one intent on maximising profit.  Had Whyte been interested only on a quick profit he would have been a little more focused on selling players and his club would not have had a net spend during the recent transfer window.

One of the theories which we have speculated upon on in this blog is that Whyte would be protected in the event of a Rangers insolvency.  Rangers’ debt holder is protected by a floating charge security interest on that would give the holder of that floating charge priority in repayment ahead of HMRC and other unsecured creditors.  This idea seemed to make a lot of sense. The Shareholder Circular released by Whyte seemed to confirm this idea.  It seemed like Whyte had bought a no-lose propisition: Rangers continue to qualify for the Champions’ League for the next few years (and all debts including the tax bills would be affordable) or he gets to control the relaunch of a debt-free Rangers following bankruptcy.  Was Whyte really the only “wealthy” man in Scotland with an affection for Rangers who could see this opportunity?  Or do fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

In reviewing some old records related to this situation, I started to wonder about the idea that Whyte will win regardless of what happens.  The MG05s that was filed with Companies House some weeks ago: it listed Lloyds’ subsidiary, the Bank of Scotland, as the beneficiary of this security interest.

With the reported purchase of Rangers’ debt by Whyte’s company, we should have expected that Lloyds would have assigned the mortgage on Rangers assets to The Rangers FC Group Ltd, the holding company Whyte uses to own Rangers. The assignation of the mortgage on Rangers’ assets would usually be the subject of a public filing in the form of an MG01s form filed at Companies House. No such filing has been made: the Bank of Scotland are still listed as the holders of the floating charge on Rangers’ assets. This alone did not give me much pause for thought as such a filing would be voluntary. However, a source has approached me with information that Whyte’s deal to purchase Rangers’ bank debt was something other than what Whyte and his co-conspirators in the Scottish media have made out. I am told that Whyte has indeed signed a contract obliging him to buy Rangers’ debt but that he has not paid for much of that debt, possibly not any of it. This would imply that Whyte does not “own” the security interest on Rangers’ assets. If this proves to be true, it would deny Rangers of their perfect rescue. In the event of an insolvency filing, it would be Lloyds who would control a receiver and it would be for Lloyds benefit that assets would be sold. This would crush the “shrewd strategist” theory.

When we add up the evidence: Whyte’s lack of any track record of legally making significant money since the collapse of his plant hire business and his dash to Monaco; the compliance problems involving corporate records for many shell businesses in which Whyte has been involved; the rank incompetence of Whyte’s leadership of Rangers to date- evidence is building that point to another explanation of Whyte’s takeover of Rangers: he was a useful idiot for the real villain of this piece, Sir David Murray.

If we stop and ask: “what was Sir David Murray’s worst fear related to Rangers?” The answer must surely be that the extent of the club’s illegal actions while he was in charge would become public knowledge. What would be the perfect outcome for Murray now? That an idiot would emerge who could be persuaded to take on the glory of owning Rangers for the price of a single pound. This perfect idiot should be administratively incompetent and should not have deep enough pockets to help Rangers over any cash flow problems. His real specification for Rangers next custodian might have been very different from the one he discussed in public. Murray benefits most by having a bumbling amateur with little cash in the hot seat. If Rangers can go bankrupt, and even disappear, before the big tax case returns then Murray might hope to duck the blame for his own actions.  Murray’s media poodles would be able to muddy the waters with a debate over whether Rangers would have survived had so many fan groups not pressured The Great Leader to sell. Rangers’ problems could be blamed on Whyte, and Murray’s legacy would remain largely intact in the minds of the newspaper reading public in Scotland.

This hypothesis is very Machiavellian and assumes an extreme degree of advanced planning. However, of all of the stories about David Murray that have been circulated, none have ever claimed that he was stupid. Murray is a man of high intelligence and great cunning. I do not think that setting up Whyte as a patsy is beyond him.  During the takeover, the degree of harmony between buyer and seller was unusual.  The haste with which David Murray shot down the soundings of an alternative proposal from Rangers director Paul Murray was odd.  Lastly, I know of one other attempt to buy Rangers just before the takeover.  Graham Duffy may not have had the benefit of an expensive PR campaign to burnish his image and he might have had credibility problems of his own.  However, he made several desperate efforts to try to talk to Murray to discuss a deal in the weeks before the Whyte deal was announced, but Murray would not respond to his requests for a meeting.  Duffy may not have been any better for Rangers than Craig Whyte, but when you are surrendering your entire interest in a business for £1, you might be expected to explore all options before resigning yourself to your fate.  Murray’s actions certainly give the appearance of someone who was working hard to ensure that Whyte was the only option.  I find that difficult to explain.

As the wheels start to come off the Rangers wagon, we should not lose sight of the fact that the current custodian has inherited a situation not of his own making.  Whyte may just be another victim in a long line of businessmen who has fallen for a David Murray sales-pitch.

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.

1,303 Responses to The Craig Whyte disaster: who benefits?

  1. rangerstaxcase says:
    10/09/2011 at 12:53 am
    Sorry Paulie!

    Anyways- forget The Scotsman.

    I have received a link to a file that is sensational!!! Sorting out permission to post it, but I think that it will be “quite interesting” for all readers of this blog

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    I wonder if one day we’ll regret going to bed just before the Big One was posted?

  2. Paulie Walnuts says:

    For the avoidance of doubt Duggie, it wouldn’t stop me. Just an observation, as you say.

    OK RTC. Mrs W is alseep and not to be woken. I’ve exhausted my stock of whimsy. Still no dramatic revelation. I’m off for a kip and will expect news when I awaken.


    Oh, sorry, one last thing. According to the journos, Martin Bain’s case is up on Tuesday for the same thing – application to arrest the bank accounts.

  3. Johnbhoy says:

    Has Jack Irvine given up on Twitter?
    His attempted defence of Whyte (aided and abetted by his old pals Hay and McKerron) may have fatally sullied the Media House brand in this country.
    What I want to know is: Was someone else directing the traffic to ensure that the Press were too scared to ask ANY questions?
    What we know of Irvine is that he worked for Murray.
    And has recently operated on behalf of Stewart Ford, a controversial Scottish-born businessman with interests in the British Virgin Isles and Switzerland.
    Has wee Craigy fulfilled his purpose and now will be allowed to be hung out to dry . . .
    Paving the way for a “saviour”?
    Question is, will the saviour arrive post-Administration or post-Liquidation?

  4. Duggie73 says:

    if you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep.

  5. paulmac says:

    As we appear to be killing time…

    Lets try..the games a bogey and all the papers are jostling for position waiting on the starting pistol being cleanse their souls with honest reporting in a new era…where there is no conflict of interest..

    Or it could be they’ve just realised they will be seen as an acomplice to what is going!

  6. Too right, Duggie –

    I’ve waited for this moment for fifty years. I’m sure I can hang on in there for a few more hours. :)

  7. paulmac says:

    The question I suppose is…if RTC receives the legal go ahead…will it be presented as a segment within this posted story…or a complete new story in its own rights..

    if it’s a segment..I’m sure its worth the wait..a new story and it ain’t coming on until later today..

  8. Reilly1926 says:

    Even though I want them sent into oblivion I’ve got to say I find Bain’s actions a wee bit distasteful. Surely he knew he would be thrown out with the Minty bathwater. He’s probably more of a thousandaire than Whyte.

    Honest I’m not a hun.

  9. GerryD says:

    Think I’ll stay up.

  10. stunney says:

    Hope it’s like a new signing for The Rungers!

  11. hitch22 says:

    anybody any good guesses??? go on have a try!! i was gonna go to bed as im up at 730 but ill give rtc a wee half hour if hes ready to post

  12. stunney says:


    My guess is it’ll be like… a new signing for The Rungers!

  13. Auldheid says:

    Don’t tell Billy says:

    10/09/2011 at 1:27 am

    This from the Scotsman article does not tie in with what Sir David Murray said the other day.
    The £2.8m bill relates to “player compensation schemes” between 1999 and 2003, and was first revealed when the club’s interim accounts were published in April, before Craig Whyte took over the club.

    The following was taken from an article in the Glasgow Evening Times of 5th/6th Sept.
    ( )

    The latest financial woes to hit the Scottish champions emerged as former owner Sir David Murray made clear that Craig Whyte, the businessman to whom he sold Rangers, was “fully aware” of an outstanding tax liability of £2.8million before buying the club.


    A spokesman for the Murray Group said: “Craig Whyte and his advisers were fully aware of the £2.8m tax liability before buying the club. The liability was included in our accounts for the six months ending on December 31, 2010.

    Mistruths are being told about the timing of this small tax bill to deflect questions from the possibility that it should have either given the SFA reason to refuse a licence or the SFA were misled by Rangers.

    The Scotsman is probably just following the line that has been put out to deflect questions but the small bill was known about well before April, was a liability before then and looks like it should have been classed as an payable overdue. Both UEFA and the SFA have been asked to clarify and it will be interesting to hear what both have to say.

  14. Fritz Agrandoldteam says:


    It’s all been a dream?
    He’s really a woman?
    They’re all ghosts?
    They think it’s the past, but it’s set in the future?
    He’s his own brother?
    It’s all a flashback?
    The £9m bid really was from another galaxy?


  15. Duggie73 says:

    if it beats the fact that the legal representatives of Rangers in their unsuccessful attempt to defend the club against allegations of sectarian singing have taken legal action against the club for fees owed to them because of their fears that Rangers face a possibility of immediate financial collapse, and this has been reported as fact on the front page of a Scottish newspaper…

  16. Reilly1926 says:

    Auldheid says:
    10/09/2011 at 2:41 am

    Am I right in saying that it was your good self Auldheid that asked for clarification ?

  17. Ray Charles says:

    My last post, which was pretty rubbish, is awaiting moderation.

    It was only intended as a “filler” to discuss while we waited.

    I’m not sure if I’m in moderation purgatory so I don’t know if this one will make it but…

    hitch22 @ 2.35 am I have two guesses based on RTC’s last full article.

    He said:: “However, a source has approached me with information that Whyte’s deal to purchase Rangers’ bank debt was something other than Whyte has made out.

    “Whyte does not “own” the security interest on Rangers’ assets. If this proves to be true, it would deny Rangers of their perfect rescue.”

    It may documentary evidence of this.


    “The evidence is buildin to another explanation of Whyte’s takeover of Rangers: he was a useful idiot for the real villain of this piece, Sir David Murray.”

    There may be documents supporting this analysis.

    Or there may be both!

  18. Reilly1926 says:

    After today’s comments by the law firm I think anyone who is owed money will be chasing it up enthusiastically now.

  19. Ray Charles says:

    I am, obviously, allowed to post.

    I just hope the one that went missing stays missing.

    I just have to say Duggie73 that you have entertained me many times on this blog but your latest one is a highlight so far.

    “if it beats the fact that the legal representatives of Rangers in their unsuccessful attempt to defend the club against allegations of sectarian singing have taken legal action against the club for fees owed to them because of their fears that Rangers face a possibility of immediate financial collapse, and this has been reported as fact on the front page of a Scottish newspaper…

    Poor, poor Sam.

    It’s actually almost poetic the more I read it.

  20. hitch22 says:

    Im gonna go with its SDMs little pawn aka Craigy Boy Whyte!! and the file shows the Lloyds money was paid by Minty aka Mr Moonbeam

  21. Reilly1926 says:

    Ray Charles says:
    10/09/2011 at 2:49 am

    I think certain words used in posts automatically trigger the admin thingy.

  22. Duggie73 says:

    Al’Queda’s invested their entire funds in MHG? CW’s currently in Guantanamo?
    Police have stopped an attempt to burn Ibrox for the insurance?
    The Queen’s bought out Whyte and been arrested on suspicion of tax evasion?
    Nacho Novo to make a sensational return, for free,in time for the next (last?) Glasgow derby?

  23. Auldheid says:

    Reilly1926 says:

    10/09/2011 at 2:48 am

    I asked UEFA,. someone else asked UEFA and the SFA to my knowledge..

    The answer looks less important now as Celtic are by chance getting UEFA money and Rangers are not and other events have overtaken this particular issue, but in terms of emphasising the importance of rigourous application of the licencing process, not to mention how it allowed Rangers to get into such a mess, it is important for our game that questions are asked and answers given.

    I’m not suggesting Rangers broke the rules on previous occasions, I am asking were the rules up to the job of protecting our game?

  24. hitch22 says:

    or the jordan nominees file that shows the true owner of rangers?? close RTC? cmon tell tell

  25. curious observer says:

    They are in denial of what is happening to them. They are so glad to be rid of Murray. So you mean to tell me that theoretically they could go into administration or worse? And theoretically Murray is somehow still involved? I really do think they’d explode if they had that truth crammed down their throat all in one day.

  26. Duggie73 says:

    to be moderately serious for a minute-
    it’s not at all clear to me that AR was ever a silver bullet. It may have been the plan to get CW to risk his own neck on firing it, and if it didn’t work, so much the worse for him.

  27. Duggie73 says:

    my best guess would be that someone’s squealed. If there’s any conspiracy it relies on everyone keeping mum- in the face of possible jail time, taking the immunity option has to be tempting, and there’s no point being 2nd to do so.

  28. Ray Charles says:

    I’ll go for nobody paying the debt to Lloyds.

    It was, in all practicalities, an assignment of debt from Lloyds.

    Whyte is a debt collector.

    He will get Lloyds the bulk of their cash while they distance themselves from the painful death throws of the club.

    Whyte, even though he is a poor operator, will still get a slice of the pie.

    Murray probably came up with the plan and knew of Whyte and suggested him as the best candidate they could get for the job, given the trying circumstances.

    He wasn’t ideal, but he would have to do.

    Needs must and all that..

  29. easyJambo says:

    Duggie73 says 10/09/2011 at 3:07 am
    my best guess would be that someone’s squealed. If there’s any conspiracy it relies on everyone keeping mum- in the face of possible jail time, taking the immunity option has to be tempting, and there’s no point being 2nd to do so.

    I don’t think so. RTC said he had a link to a file. That suggests that it is a document, e.g. a security, maybe the amended MG05s, maybe a Ticketus type agreement. The potential files are numerous.

  30. Duggie73 says:

    hitch22’s gets my vote- the real source of an £18 mil deal…

  31. Duggie73 says:

    you’re right.
    does the “squealing” post work better in the future tense?

  32. Martin Bain must know a thing or two that would cause a problem or two for just about everyone at Ibrox. If he feels that he’s about to be short-changed in his settlement or even denied his day in court, might he be tempted to drop a few depth charges in the general vicinity of the good ship Dignity?

  33. sid says:

    Omen- John Stein,may you forever rest in peace.

  34. Duggie73 says:

    it really is a nest of vipers, isn’t it.
    almost academic in the long run which one of them starts the biting.

  35. Aye, Duggie. One’s as bad as the other. :D

    Ach well, it looks now as if we’ll have to wait to see what tomorrow brings.
    I’ve hit my last F5 for tonight, I think.

  36. sam says:


  37. stunney says:

    @Ray Charles says:
    10/09/2011 at 3:12 am

    That’s my theory too.

    As for RTC’s sensational file, my guess is that whatever it is, it will be like… a new signing for The Rungers!

  38. Exiled in Deepest Kent says:

    Someone’s being brave!!

  39. Lord Wobbly says:

    Something I didn’t know was that (according to Wiki anyway) the Samantha Stephens residence was at 1164 Morning Glory Circle! No wonder that neighbour was always trying to spy on her!

  40. Andy fitzpatrick says:

    DUN DUN DUN!!! wonder if the sheep of govan will have there save our gers protest today,, me thinks not as there are no problem at ibrox,,clearly.

  41. Lord Wobbly says:

    Dundee Utd v Rangers live on ESPN from noon today. Catch ’em while you can?

  42. boabby sixkiller says:

    beattie is a strange one …. if his contract has been paid up now then this goes against the general theory on here that liquidity is running dry …

    to me it now looks like his goal is the same as what we all thought at the start … keep them going until the big tax case decision …

    run it on a shoestring until they get to judgement day … and whatever happens after that its win win for whyte

  43. Lennon says:

    Apologies if this has been posted before

    Martin Bain court papers are now in the public domain
    They confirm they debt to Lloyds has not been paid off, the assets are overvalued and that a bill of £49million has been received from HMRC and the best bit – that CW arranged to assign it’s season ticket income for the next four years to a London based finance company

    Looks like the posters on here were closer than CW’s “99% crap” statement

  44. rover says:

    what a bloody mess scotland shames been left in, lie after lie, stroll on, : )

  45. Shug says:

    lex parsimoniae??

  46. lisbon says:

    Loving every minute


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