Not Long To Go


On Tuesday this coming week, this blog will celebrate its first birthday. Thanks to the assistance of so many informed and intelligent posters, this blog has played an outsized role in awakening a sleeping public to the crisis that would soon envelope Rangers Football Club. The arrival of the cavalry in the form of BBC Scotland and, latterly- the English media, means that this blog has achieved its central goal.

It was with particular satisfaction that I read the thoughts of Alex Thomson of Channel 4 on the Scottish media. In many ways, the actual implosion of Rangers has become a sideshow in this story. The enemy here is not Rangers FC or its fans, but the corruption of our national media. A free press is essential for the healthy functioning of any society and, to paint with a broad brush, Scotland does not have a healthy, functioning free press that can be trusted to challenge vested interests or investigate corruption.

Not all are tainted by this embarrassment. Mark Daly and BBC Scotland should be singled out for praise. While so many others copied & pasted our work on this blog (with only the editorial tone being changed), the BBC Scotland team conducted a real investigation of their own. I would like to think that the work done on this blog helped convince them that this story was worth some time, but they picked up where we left off and got to the bottom of issues where we amateurs only found strong suspicion. (Graham Spiers’ refreshingly honest admissions to Alex Thomson are also worthy of note, but he has not been as willing to discuss this subject as openly with his colleagues on Radio Clyde).

What is really startling is how few others did any work. The Daily Record is still being fed through the umbilical chord by former Rangers directors in the form of The Blue Knights consortium. They are bound to be a font of truth. Even now, the Daily “off-the-radar wealth, billionaire” Record acts as an agent for those wishing to blame Craig Whyte for all of Rangers’ troubles. These are the same people who presided over a decade plus of maladministration. The Scottish editions of The Sun and The Daily Mail have produced some good stories, but have failed to follow them up or shown much interest getting to the heart of it all.

It struck me as surreal that last Monday afternoon alone I spent more time talking with various English journalists than I have with all Scottish media outlets combined in the last year. Without the story of the corruption of the Scottish media, this would have been a parochial sports story of no more interest in London or Manchester than today’s Kilmarnock vs. Motherwell game.

The year long history of this blog should tell any objective reader that we have information on this story and know how to interpret it. Yet only one Scottish journalist has contacted me to discuss this case. Over a dozen journalists from outside Scotland were able to get in touch. That tells its own tale. The Scottish media- tabloid and broadsheet & sport and business- do not want to cover the biggest story in the history of Scottish football or the biggest Scottish business story since the Darien Disaster.

The recent attention garnered by Rangers’ long-predicted descent into crisis presents this blog with an existential crisis. When no one would publish the story, blogs were the best way to get the story out. As our first birthday beckons, there remains just two tasks before we wrap up this project:

– Stitch the whole story together in the form of a book
– Create a lasting online memorial to the failure of the Scottish sports media

The die is cast in the rest of this story. The First Tier Tribunal outcome will determine the size of Rangers’ debt to HMRC. HMRC will decide whether a pennies on the pound is better than nothing or whether they see dangers in Rangers being seen to have “gotten away with it”. The people who will decide these matters will know the facts and will likely have already decided how they will proceed. We have little to do here.

With contempt for the Scottish media beginning to spread far and wide, our work is nearly done.

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.

2,177 Responses to Not Long To Go

  1. Kev says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2123067/New-claims-Ibrox-tax-case.html

    The Rangers ‘double-contracts’ saga took another twist on Friday night when details emerged purporting to back the view that payments made into offshore accounts were simply disguised wages.

    Channel 4 News alleged that former Ibrox chief executive Martin Bain asked for a contractual pay rise to be paid to him through the Employee Benefit Trust scheme, rather than through the standard PAYE system.

    The programme claimed to have seen documents from the club and quoted a letter Bain wrote to former Ibrox chairman John McClelland in 2003.

    In it, the broadcaster alleged, Bain admitted the practice of paying players and employees through the scheme was widespread.

    In a further development, Channel 4 News received confirmation from Murray International Holdings finance chief Mike McGill that not a penny of any ‘loans’ made to employees through the EBT scheme had ever been repaid.

    Asked when or if any of the loans would ever be repaid, McGill said: ‘We do not consider it appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.’

    The most damning allegation centred around Bain, however, and appeared to back the view of former director Hugh Adam that payments into offshore trusts was simply a way of avoiding paying tax on wages.

    The Channel 4 News report claimed it had been suggested to Bain that any pay rise he got would be paid through an EBT.

    He allegedly wrote to McClelland on December 18, 2003, saying: ‘Any pay rise I get should be paid through the trust obviously as a discretionary bonus, as it cannot be contractual.
    ‘My increase was to be non-contractual put through as a discretionary bonus as I do with players, coaches and, more recently, John Greig.’

    The programme further alleged that Bain was offered £100,000 in a bonus from the trust in 2005, then later that year requested a further loan of £100,000 ‘as soon as possible for purposes of investment’. The allegations concurred with Adam’s belief, reported in Sportsmail last month, that monies paid into offshore trusts were part and parcel of players’ packages and, as such, should have been included in contracts lodged with the SFA and the SPL.

    In the wake of Adam’s allegations, both bodies announced inquiries into alleged breaches of registration rules.

    However, the SFA have put their probe on ice as they would be the appeal body for any SPL decision.

    Sir David Murray has insisted the club had done nothing wrong as payments into EBTs were ‘discretionary’.

    The issue of whether EBTs were discretionary or not is the basis of the so-called ‘big-tax case’ – the outcome of which is expected soon.

    If the Tier-One Tribunal finds in favour of HMRC, Rangers could face a bill of around £49million.

  2. steve says:

    .Is ranchero the son of sam the ac man .

  3. duggie73 says:

    Max B Gold says:
    31/03/2012 at 1:44 am

    Honest communication.

    It’s the only thing that makes humans human.

  4. duggie73 says:

    Max
    You’re not hard of hearing, you’re just daft.

  5. PTD says:

    Can someone explain who Bain was writing to when making these requests?
    My understanding was that payments FROM an EBT were at the discretion of the trustee and not RFC.

  6. Ray Charles says:

    1. Preservation of Company Records for Investigation Purposes

    Practitioners are reminded of the provisions of sections 221 and 222 of the Companies Act 1985 requiring a company to keep adequate accounting records. Company officers may be prosecuted, after a company has gone into liquidation, for having failed to keep or preserve accounting records.

    The preservation of documents by practitioners can be critical when the company or its directors are under investigation for a “records” offence, or for some other offence such as fraudulent trading (section 458 of the Companies Act 1985). In this context, documents include the accounting records and all other papers relating to the affairs of the company or the conduct of the directors, which the liquidator obtains (whether from the company or other sources) during the course of the liquidation.

    The preservation of documents by trustees in bankruptcy is equally important where the bankrupt had been in business as a sole trader or in partnership prior to the bankruptcy.

    (First published in Dear IP no. 18, July 1991)

    Given the police are investigating financial transactions at Ibrox, I would have thought Duff and Duffer (© acknowledged) would be unable to have a mass shredding upon liquidation.

    But was there anything to stop them shredding documents or deleting computer records before they called in the cops to probe Whyte?

  7. resinlabdog says:

    yojimbo56 says:
    31/03/2012 at 12:40 am

    Reading your posts, you come across as (a) a Rangers fan of the (b) decent and (c) well informed sort. (Apologies if I am wide of the mark!)

    Not sure about a ‘British’ deal (or stitch up) coming off, but I personally could see some type of ‘probation’ forming part of the rehabilitation program, by which the penalties suffered by whatever embodiment of Rangers emerged from the wreck were reduced to some extent on the understanding that model citizenry from fans, clubs officials and players was guaranteed subsequently – on pain of disproportionately punitive sanctions (withdrawal of licence) at the merest hind of recidivism.

    e.g. a sentence of expulsion from the league for brining the game into disrepute- suspended for 5 years, immediately enforceable in the event of any non trivial misconduct card or non compliance with certain other conditions.

    This is the type of probation thing that e.g. US regulatory authorities like the FDA have used when serious wrongdoing has been perpetrated. There are some similarities, in that the FDA have the absolute right to withdraw any pharma licence in the US as a sanction, and can effectively therefore put such companies out of business if they choose, but allow them to operate effectively if they comply and improve.

    Its not up to me, but I think the kind of conditions would be:
    (a) Full public disclosure of all wrongdoing (mea culpe).
    (b) full co operation with any investigations arising from events leading up to the admin process (Police/ footballing bodies/ judicial/ governmental , into individuals or institutions). Preservation of documents etc.
    (b) Statement of apology
    (c) Changes to branding identity to limit potentially contentious or inflammatory imagery.
    (d) Club must break even and publish 3 monthly accounts. Special measures on tax compliance.
    (e) No crowd trouble – 1 ‘Manchester’ and you are toast
    (f) Zero tolerance on sectarainism – you may not ‘FTP’ or SFA will FU. Immediate expulsion from the ground for all instances of racist/sectarian/violent abuse.
    (g) Social development program to be sponsored in reparation for societal damage caused by tax avoidance. Given financial constraints this could be ‘Community service’ e.g. player time, community use of Ibrox for good causes etc. not just financial in nature
    (h) Reguar compliance reports to be submitted showing progress on improvement measures.
    (i) Proportionate Restitution measures to other affected parties.

    The idea is that you’d get a licence, a buyer and the decent fans would get their club back and a club they could be proud to support, but no one would be left in any doubt that an appropriate and proportionate punishment had been levied, and that a ‘cheats must not be allowed to prosper’ ethos had been maintained, with real swingeing harshness to follow if angelic behavior was not forthcoming and persistent… no negotiation.

    See its not that we’re all hell bent on the destruction of Rangers. But the biggest worry I have with a scenario where RFC survive is that – not only would cheats prosper,- but in a triumphalist and small minded element of the RFC support – basic and important lessons would simply not be learnt. A let off would be hailed as a victory with more strife to follow inevitably. In which case, the nuclear option is all that is left. I suppose it kinda feels like Japan in 1946 – and that didn’t end well either!

    Any ideas how to get this message home to those less enlightened elements of the Govan faithful? Because I really think this could be the best way forward for RFC post BTC.

    Or am I dreaming?

  8. stunney says:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/rangers-takeover-final-offers-must-be-submitted-by-wednesday-1-2207231

  9. Mark Dickson says:

    Well done RTC in bringing this sordid tale into the full light of day and this blog has been a tremendous success and an example of new media successfully challenging the failures of old media so chapeu all round.
    BUT
    It strikes me the only reason that you/us have been able to successfully pursue this agenda and call out the lies or diversions of others is because from the get-go RTC had the goods on rangers and this whole sorry affair thanks to original sources and whistleblowers.
    Had we not had that ‘truth’ as back up then how much harder would our collective task have been and we could easily have been stonewalled at every juncture.
    I have long held the view there was a rotten cronyist core within scottish football and that rangers fc AND the glasgow/west of scotland affiliates to the SFA held undue influence and control over events but the burden of proof always fell on the ‘paranoid’ accusers and before now we had little or no means on shining the light on the cesspit of vested interests.
    My fear is that once this tax case plays out and your/our hand is played and all the sordid shenanigans at RFC becomes public knowledge then whilst those involved will be rightfully slaughtered thereafter we risk going back to the dark ages as without any damning evidence what leverage do we have to ensure those running scottish fitba, our clubs and media play straight or just slip back into old ways?

  10. Ray Charles says:

    resinlabdog,

    Sorry, dreaming.

    Their “traditions” will soon be all the fans have left.

    Their club will no longer exist.

    They will simply transpose their traditions on to a new entity and claim they are the
    “Continuity RFC” (©someone on Kerrydale Street, I think).

    Continuity RFC will try to claim a place in the SPL.

    Failing that, Cowdenbeath or another team will be targeted.

    Failing that, they will start at the bottom.

    Continuity RFC will ensure the traditions survive and that the People will return.

    Of that I am certain.

    It is only a question of what division Continuity RFC will be in and whether they secure a place before the start of next season or, at the worst, the one after that.

  11. patbhoy2004 says:

    Being a longtime coming but worth the wait lets get on with the rest of it.

    Thanks RTC

    please keep it coming.

  12. resinlabdog says:

    Ray Charles says:
    31/03/2012 at 3:36 am

    Firstly, I know that newco isn’t rangers in any legal sense.

    But this is in the same way that the National Front isnt the BNP which isn’t – in any legal sense – the EDL.
    However, if you were a young Asian walking certain streets at the wrong time, you wouldn’t necessarily stress yourself overly with the legal distinction of who was smashing your face in with a baseball bat. Nor do I see these vile organisations overly exercised by any particularly debilitating existential crisis over which three letter acronym they relate their history to… The Monty Python excerpt from the Life of Brian (people front of Judea etc.) springs to mind.

    Now without wishing to compare the vast majority of Rangers fans to the BNP – I suspect their ‘movement’ will survive whatever rebranding or legally enforced titular readjustment they face in a similar manner to that in which far right political groupings.in the UK have lurched on through the decades in various guises, ‘re-inventing’ themselves from time to time as a means of casting off unwanted baggage.
    Oh, the Celtic fans will wind them up, but if the only thing to emerge from witnessing this whole sorry and sordid exercise is a few more chants by which Celtic can bate ‘used-to-be-rangers’ ones during old firm derbies, then I think we have probably all been wasting our time!

    Now I half suspect that what you say above is what will come to pass.
    But I don’t see that this is a positive move for anyone. So I put it to you all – we could have a responsibility to at least try and engineer a better outcome?

    See… there are very many decent rangers fans out there. And I think it maybe behoves us -as outsiders to that club- to try and make sure that in whatever emerges from the wreckage, they are the ones with the whip hand, at the expense of those elements who have no part to play in the modern game. Or the 21st Century for that matter.

    There are warnings of what happens when you do not do not manage the aftermath!
    The Iraq War was a success as long as Saddam was there to be toppled. It became a monumental feck up subsequently because no one planned the ‘what next’ bit, and the wrong elements were allowed to prosper after the event. I think the same danger could apply equally to the rangers situation.

    If intelligent people don’t make cool headed decisions because they are too busy celebrating victories and rubbing the noses of the vanquished, those victories – such as they are – might end up being somewhat pyrrhic.

    Probably dreaming again!

  13. StevieBC says:

    Re: ‘the Bain email’.
    ================

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall when McLelland opened that email from Bain.

    I would speculate that McLelland may have gone extremely red in the face, with steam pouring out of his ears – and he might have wanted to get his hands around Bain’s neck to give it a good squeeze.

    Bain may not be the brightest for putting those words in an email – but as a highly experienced professional, McLelland would have immediately realised that this was a powerful piece of evidence implicating him, Bain and Rangers in their ‘little scam’.

    McLelland must also have immediately realised that this email could come back to bite him – now over 8 years later.

    Oh dear, what a pity, never mind… 🙂

  14. Long Time Lurker says:

    Looking again at the answer from McGill [MIH] to the question from C4 as to whether the loans made available via the EBT would be paid back: ‘We do not consider it appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.’

    Given the refusal to answer – perhaps (my asumption) McGil could not confirm that the loans will not be paid back as that would signal that those who had access to an EBT were informed (in writing) that repayment would never be required (aka an agent seeking a side letter).

    I may be looking into this too much, hovever, it may be the case that the refusal to answer whether the loans would be repaid is highly damming – given what this would reveal should somone look behind the reasons as to why repayment would not be sought.

  15. martybhoy says:

    Can’t help myself here,,,,,but was (Baldy) Bain a modern day Lo(a)ne Ranger?…..

    Hi ho Silver….I’ll get my coat then.

  16. David Cecil says:

    “Stripping Rangers of any silverware would be ridiculous” Ronanld de Beor. Yeah Ronald, just as ridiculous as stripping Ben Johnson of his gold medal.

  17. Dharma Bam says:

    Max B Gold’s posts have disappeared. All that’s still visible are parts of his posts in other people’s replies.

    How can that happen? Is it possible to delete your own posts from the blog?

  18. Ianc says:

    Making a wee edit here: in WIkipedia

    Editing Chapeau (section) Jump to: navigation, search Page notice PreviewRemember that this is only a preview; your changes have not yet been saved!

    ——————————————————————————–

    Mainland Europe”Chapeau” is a French term signifying a hat or other covering for the head. In mainland European heraldry, it is used as a mark of ecclesiastical dignity, especially that of cardinals, which is called the red chapeau. It is worn over the shield by way of crest, as mitres and coronets are.

    A chapeau is flat, very narrow atop, but with a broad brim, adorned with long silken strings interlaced; suspended from within with rows of tassels, called by the Italians focci, increasing in number as they come lower. The hat was given to them by Innocent IV in 1250, but was not used in arms till the year 1300. Until that time, the cardinals were represented with mitres.

    Archbishops and patriarchs bore a green hat, with four rows of tassels; bishops wore the same color, but with three; abbots and apostolical prothonotaries with two. The chapeau is also sometimes used as a mark of secular dignity, such as a cap, or coronet armed with ermine, worn by dukes, etc.

    The crest is borne on the chapeau; and by the chapeau the crest and coat are separated; it being a rule that no crest must touch the shield immediately.

    1813 cartoon showing the chapeau-bras (collapsible bicorne) carried under the armSome forms of bicorne were designed to be folded flat, so that they could be conveniently tucked underneath the arm when not being worn. A bicorne of this style is also known as a chapeau-bras or chapeau-de-bras.

    Chapeau! is often used as a generic expression of approval and appreciation in France and other parts of Europe And in the pages of online blog Rangerstaxcase.com (commonly known by its thousands of avid followers as RTC): as a sign of admiration or respect, one shall indeed

  19. Pat McCarthy says:

    Rangers have not paid the tax that they owe.
    Rangers have debts of many millions of dollars.
    Rangers are in administration and could be soon in liquidation.
    All of this pales into insignificance because Rangers players for 10 years received more money from the club than was lodged in their official registration documents.
    Once this is uncovered officially by the ongoing SPL investigation there are automatic sanctions imposed.
    These are the recording of every game played with any of these players in the team as 3-0 defeats.
    This the reason Mr de Boer that they will have to be stripped of trophies and titles, not because they have debts. Of course other clubs have debts. Rangers’s problem is improper registration.
    Al Capone was not sent to prison for being a mobster. He was imprisoned for not filing proper tax accounts.
    This consequence is an automatic penalty pertaining to The League and the Scottish Cup and UEFA matches.
    Furthermore there are key individuals who held office in both Rangers and the SFA/SPL who knew about this systemic failure to follow the rules. There are Scottish journalists who knew these details who choose not to disclose in the media.
    This is a far bigger scandal than not paying tax.

    I am reminded of a scene from the movie “Titanic” . Just after the ship hits the iceberg one watchman turns to his mate and says “That was close”
    The ship’s architect however rolls out the plans and declares.” From the moment the ship struck she was doomed. She WILL sink”

  20. Ianc says:

    Has Martin Bain got an entry?

    Oh yes he has.

    Have a go chaps its easy.

  21. IndefiniteArticle says:

    New RTC post up

  22. Hugh McEwan says:

    I’m afraid people who claim the lack of involvement by Strathclyde Police, The Fraud Squad, The SFO or anyone else proves a lack of criminality are merely displaying their ignorance.

    The primary prosecuting body for tax fraud (direct and indirect taxes) is HMRC.

    In relation to the revelations in the CH4 programme last night, their is clear prima facie evidence of fraudulent evasion. People knew what they were doing, knew that it was wrong, sought to benefit from it and sought to cover it up. That’s guilty acts and guilty minds in my book.

    However that does not mean that HMRC would necessarily carry out a criminal investigation. They may well choose to go down the civil route if they decided that was in the best interests of the country as a whole. If for example they decided that an individual would prove much better as a witness. Someone who for example was in a position of authority, who could speak directly to what happened in a credible manner. That may be a better option.

    Conversely, they may not have had that material, in which case thy may wish to compare it to the evidence which certain people actually gave at Tribunal. There is nothing whatsoever to stop criminal proceedings in light of new evidence coming to their attention.

    It has been fun watching the rear guard actions, particularly when some wandered into the bigoted insults, whilst others tried to deflect and deny based on specious irrelevancies. It’s been kind of like the good old days. The reasonable man and the bigoted half wit. A strange reversal of “good cop, bad cop”.

  23. twopanda bears says:

    I always thought RFC would continue in some form into 2012/13. Forget the details and this D+P PR narrative reminiscent of dispatching an injured horse behind black screens. Forget these “Bidders” and the media noise around them. It `s clear to everyone there’s no big bucks benefactor coming in to bankroll the existing operation.

    It’s possible a new face might appear but not before straight liquidation before or at the end of the season. Not a voluntary or conditional liquidation but the real possibility is a fire sale of all assets down to the cutlery to maximise creditor returns. And this will take time.

    What happens then?

    Assuming the legal bonfires are elsewhere, somebody will buy Ibrox, form a “newco” and they’ll go back in the SPL / Div 3 whatever, buy some players, sort it all out with the SFA / SPL to get registrations and licenses together and carry on with no debt. All ready for August 2012?

    How are they going to do that?

    – Re-build a new club the size of RFC from scratch in less than two months?

    My money is on no RFC2012 next season because this will need too much time to sort out.

    Whatever happens the SFA / SPL should be planning to make sure the other clubs have viable leagues guaranteed ready for next season without RFC – nor risking other SPL Teams incomes.

    My pennyworth’s tip is for RFC[IA] to give the keys of Ibrox back to the Fans in a trust before liquidation if that’s possible. No matter what we think of them it is their Club.

    That’d give them a year’s penitence but also a year to reform and build up cash reserves with legends games and games with teams willing to help out. Who knows – even with CFC?

  24. robert young says:

    At last I have found a forum where I can make some sense of all the is RFC ( IA ) shambles. I have been listening to our ” fearless media ” IE radio clyde and Sportsound for up-to-date info which to my mind was not forthcoming. Last night , Graeme Speirs ( who I quite like ) was getting a bit miffed with Alex Thomson saying all he does is regurgitate what the Scottish media have already covered . How wrong he was ! I learned more about the Rangers situation in 10 minutes than from listening to them for weeks now. Hugh Keevens has the cheek to claim the scottish media are doing a great job with all the rangers stuff. I couldn’t believe my ears !
    The Scottish media have been complacent and compliant in all of this ( BBC doc not withstanding ).
    This new found forum has now comvinced me that RFC ( IA ) are doomed . All these so-called bidders are waiting to pick over the bones post-liquidation.

  25. tokentim says:

    Goosy says @ 11:16 30/3/2012

    This stuff is dynamite never mind the RTC. This should be sent to our good friend at Ch4 news for him to hopefully raise with the appropriate scammers??????

  26. Disco dave says:

    At sinking ship

  27. Disco dave says:

    Rats sinking ship start showing some dignity ( we don’t do walking away we do crawling ) this is the difference

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