09/02/2012 1,897 Comments
Just in case some of you do not follow my Twitter account (imaginatively named: @rangerstaxcase), I realised yesterday that I had made a mistake. A few days ago, I tweeted, and posted, that two (2) additional directors of Rangers FC had benefited from the Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) scam that so gravely imperils one of Scotland’s great institutions. This statement followed Craig Whyte’s interview with The Sun newspaper where he named ex-Chairman John McClelland and ex-Chief Executive Martin Bain as having participated in the scheme.
My statement was issued in error. A more accurate statement would be to say: “At least two (2) additional directors of Rangers FC used the EBT scam that makes insolvency virtually inevitable“. (I hope that my statement did not cause any inconvenience to anyone).
This is important because as company directors they had a responsibility to check that the correct amount of tax, VAT, and National Insurance contributions were paid- and on time. Company directors are required to act in good faith– in the interests of the company as a whole. This includes not having (or declaring) conflicts of interest. Rangers’ accounts for the periods covering EBT use do not mention any directors declaring a conflict of interest. (It is possible that they have declared this in non-public board meeting minutes, but shareholders would not have been aware of this). Their obligation to avoid, where possible, conflicts of interest would have been best served by simply not having any personal benefit from Rangers’ tax strategy. Sticking their own snouts in the trough rendered them “conflicted”. How can you assess the suitability of a high risk tax strategy for a company, when you have a personal incentive (and believed at the time, no personal liability)? Not a single Rangers director is known to have resigned over the issue of tax strategy.
Sir David Murray is beloved by many former employees and associates. He is renowned for his personal generosity to those who do right by him. The question that must be asked: Did David Murray effectively buy off Rangers’ directors opposition by allowing them to participate in the scam?
On other matters, I have been deluged for weeks with questions about “the wee tax case”- has the bill for £2.8m been cleared?, the status of Rangers’ failure to keep up with PAYE & NIC remittances, and the nature of my claim that the club had fallen behind on VAT payments. All that I can safely say just now is that all of these matters are intertwined. To explain more on the complexities of the situation just now would be to get too deeply involved in some delicate issues. It is best that I just leave this subject alone for now. However, rest assured that these topics have not been forgotten by any of the interested parties.