Balance of Probabilities

As we wait (impatiently) for the First Tier Tribunal (Tax) to report its findings on the legality of how the EBT used by Rangers was operated, it might be of interest to discuss some common misunderstandings about the legal processes that will determine the outcome.

The case that will seal Rangers’ fate is governed by Scottish civil procedure.  Years of our lives wasted watching television has armed most of us with a basic understanding of criminal procedure- concepts like “innocent until proven guilty” are infused throughout popular culture. However, civil courts have very different rules.

Rangers FC have been accused by HMRC of operating an illegal tax avoidance scheme (see link for common myth about avoidance).  Following a long investigation, in early 2010 Rangers were sent a number of assessments (tax bills). Rangers appealed them.  In the several tribunal hearings that followed, evidence was presented by both sides and now it is for three judges to establish whether or not Rangers pursued an illegal scheme for more than a decade. I have heard lots of people (including Scottish journalists) make the mistake of assuming that “Rangers are innocent until proven guilty“. They are not. The standard for determining the outcome of a civil tribunal is the balance of probabilities. It is simply a question of whether it is more likely than not that Rangers’ were using the EBT as sham to pay money to players and executives on which they should have deducted income tax and national insurance.

In this case, it seems that the Rangers’ directors, and MIH staff in charge of running the scheme did not understand this distinction. Much of their behaviour appears to betray a sense that all they had to do was establish “reasonable doubt” to avoid getting in trouble. Currently, within Edinburgh’s golf club circuit, there is a widely held view that Rangers will be held accountable for some tax liability, but that the quantum will not be anything close to the huge assessments presented by HMRC. People close to Sir David Murray acknowledge that there was some sloppiness with regards record keeping in specific cases.  They seem to think that the resulting tax bill will be limited to these “one-off” errors- situations where there is no doubt that a contractual obligation was paid through the EBT.

However, the standard for determining the outcome of a tax tribunal is the balance of probabilities. If there is a significant volume of such transactions, the entire scheme can be judged to be a sham.

What determines whether there are enough illegal payments to cast the entire scheme as a sham? It will not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt or any of the other concepts burned deep in the minds of TV crime series viewers. There simply comes a point where there is so much evidence that it is clear that someone is “at it”. I expect that Rangers will be held by the judges to have been “at it”. If (or when) that happens, the real fireworks will begin.

Assuming that Rangers’ actions of the last decade are officially deemed illegal, Scottish football authorities will face the greatest moral dilemma in the history of our game. If I am correct, it is likely that the following facts will soon be firmly established:

  • Rangers provided many players with second contracts in violation of SFA rules
  • The provisions within these second contracts were in violation of the law of the land
  • Rangers fielded players whom they could not have afforded without resorting to illegality

Under these conditions, the debate about ‘helicoptering’ a newco into the SPL to replace Rangers FC would surely change. The idea of transferring the last decade of Rangers’ history to a new company would be like asking for a toxic waste dump to be moved beside your house.

I have developed a genuine empathy for the many decent (but largely silent) Rangers fans whose beloved club has been ravaged by Sir David Murray and his hand-picked lickspittles.  Much of what has been revealed on this blog in the last year serves the common good of all Scottish football fans. However, I expect that whatever common ground exists will open into a chasm over the subject of what the SFA & SPL should do about the recent history of their club.

22 May 2005- is a cherished memory for all Rangers fans. Rangers beat Hibs at Easter Road to clinch the SPL title. Neil Doncaster needs to ask: “How many members of the Rangers squad that day were, or would become, beneficiaries of the EBT scheme?” (Let me help him out- it will be a lot easier to count those who did not participate). The truth is that many of the Rangers squad would not have been anywhere near Easter Road that day without the use of the EBT scheme. If the EBT scheme is deemed to be illegal, the SFA and the SPL cannot pretend that the second contracts held by the vast majority of the Rangers’ first team players during the middle of the last decade were just a procedural transgression of no material impact. On the balance of probabilities would Rangers have been crowned Scottish Premier League champions that day without the use of the EBT scheme?

The future value of winning a championship in Scottish football is in the hands of Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster. They will face intense pressure from those close to the old regime at Ibrox- and their friends in the media- to sweep these issues under the carpet. That would be a huge mistake.

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.

1,501 Responses to Balance of Probabilities

  1. Hugh McEwan says:

    On the SPL following the decision of the FTT.

    That might be something of an issue if it is anonymised. Even if the Judges rule “We therefore find that these Letters of Intent constitute a Contractual Agreement and as such find that the EBTs fail.” Would they be able to relate that ruling to Rangers.

    Or will the ruling identify the club “Rangers -v- HMRC” but anonymise the human beings concerned.

  2. scapa says:

    tigertim says:

    16/04/2012 at 1:53 pm

    There was a discussion arond this a while back, one of the many lessons learned from this episode, is the need for the SFA & SPL to create and implement a process for compliance audits.

    Incidentally, while in many respects it beggars belief that such a process does not exist, I don’t believe that it is due to some dark conspiracy, its much more likely to be yet another example of a management culture that is still rooted in that of the “gentleman amateur”, where a chap took another chap’s word because he was a good chap and a good chap doesn’t question a chap’s word.

  3. Auldheid says:

    Dont know how Bobby got in on the act at the end there. Freudian slip?

  4. Auldheid says:

    scapa says:

    16/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

    I go along with why it is the way it is, although the way it is does not deter darker motivations playing their part.

    The SFA should see themselves as the supplier of a service to Scottish Football and the users of that service should judge the SFA on how good it is.Not be told by the SFA how good the SFA are.

    It is this attitude that comes from referees not having their authority on the field of play questionned and there is a good case for that on the field of play, but not off it.

    Too much “do as you are told thinking and be grateful you are not being sent off or disciplined” as opposed to “Am I providing you with the right level of service?”.

    The very process of setting up such a service provider/customer relationship will itself transform the culture and leave little wriggle room for dark stuff.

    Such a chnage is is now clearly required and was obvious to me years ago. In fact the absence of it has brought the SFA and the game into disrepute.

  5. Auldheid says:

    Lord Wobbly says:

    16/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

    The RST are no gonny like the answer to their question.

  6. Ryan says:

    Rangers lost the appeal, hmrc dont want to do a deal. You heard it here first

  7. Auldheid says:

    yojimbo56 says:

    16/04/2012 at 1:46 pm

    check the table I linked to above.

    By the time Walter had made his statement in Oct 2010 Rangers had already got hands on funds from somewhere to spend £10M net on players (I have the players and media reported figures ) and increase the wages on offer. I do not have the wage bill for the season 2006 to 2010 but the net reported debt, which I appreciate is only an indicator that spending rose and not necessarily on players went up 5 fold. Again if you look at the table you can see EBT contributions fall in line with debt rising. That suggests to me a switch from EBT type contracts to normal contracts.

    Walter did not seem to quite appreciate in 2010 his style of management was beyond Rangers means, but he still got the accolades.

  8. tigertim says:

    scapa says:
    16/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

    When the SPL “split” from the SFA the idea that anyone was running an amateur league should have died. This is big business handling millions of pounds each year. The nods as good as a wink should have died then. The SFA are no better and Reagans’ statement that they could not manage all clubs from all levels is wrong in so many ways.
    I have been involved in boys football for 10 years or more and the amount of condescending committees running these, at a cost is the same all the way to the upper levels.Transfer registration fees for 8 year olds, yellow & red card fines all done to punish clubs who are taking youngsters off the streets and cannot afford the outlay.
    I listened to Mark Wotte on Clyde the other week and the talk is all about the centre of excellence, has anyone looked at England for how successful this was, it wasn’t. The best young talent is usually the poorest and they cannot afford travl to these places.
    In Reagan & Doncaster it is obvious administrators do not cost nothing, so why do they expect to do nothing in return, a cursory nod to accounts and the current rules is not good enough. If we have a compliance officer for games what about the same for rules?

  9. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:


    Good Morning,

    RTC’s principal article highlights some very salient points. Similarly, Mr Graham Spiers’ article in yesterday’s Herald provides, at long last, a serious national article that points the gun at the wrongdoers in our game– both those who have played an active part in bringing about this unsavory mess, and those who have been, and who seek to be, passive perpetrators of manifest injustice and immorality.

    A few days ago, Roddy Forsyth sat in a BBC Scotland studio, and spouted forth that what he deeply regretted was that throughout the last number of years, there has been an absence of business journalists who have seriously questioned the business activities of David Murray and his MIH group of companies. It was this gap in the journalistic world, claimed Roddy, that represented the real failure on the part of the 5th estate when it came to reflecting on the Rangers disaster. Yet still there is a great deal of focus on Craig Whyte and what should have been discovered about him at the very outset, and less about the readily available info on the demise of MIH. Only last week, the press pages rolled with the great news that MIH had made a profit– only for the likes of Douglas Fraser of the BBC to come back from holiday and go public with the real facts– basically that Sir David was talking utter rubbish, that no such profit had been made in real terms, and providing a clear marker that certain sections of the press at least are no longer prepared to tolerate the Murray myths.

    I just wonder how many e-mails Roddy received from business journalists falling his claim that they have failed the Scottish Public over the years?

    However, I believe that there is an ever greater bogey man who is yet to be revealed in this sorry affair. A Bogey man and a Baddy who may well yet make every single constituent member of Scottish Football sit up and take a long good look at themselves and everyone else in the game. Yip– a real Rank Badjin, who roamed through the land with Murray and others in their posse– but who were never around to face the Sheriff, the cowboys and even the guys from the ACME and Pickering Newspapers.

    Let me introduce you to the concept of the jam in the sandwich. You know, the filler in between the two ends of the loaf, the bit in the middle trapped between the two ends!

    Let’s start with certain, seemingly unrelated, facts.

    David Murray “bought” Rangers in 1988 by effectively providing a guarantee to the Bank of Scotland in respect of the overdraft that had been run up by the previous regime under Lawrence Marloborough. Whatever way you want to look at it, Marlborough and the Lawrence family had spent money bringing in Souness and so on but were not prepared to go any further in terms of money. Nor would it appear were Bank of Scotland. Marlborough wanted out of town, but needed someone to take over the ranch– and at that time David Murray comes a wandering into town.

    To get a hold of Rangers in the first place, it is said that Murray approached Gavin Masterton. Masterton at the time was a senior figure at Bank of Scotland with his specific sphere of influence being corporate lending. He later went on to become both Managing Director and Treasurer of BOS as a whole. The story goes that Masterton tossed a coin, and told David Murray that if the coin came up heads, then he would accept Murray’s guarantee and he could therefore take over Rangers. Until then BOS had a security over Rangers in return for £6M– now they had that and a Murray guarantee. No need to even part with the nominal £1!

    David Murray replaces Marlborough, and starts on his spending spree that sees Rangers climb to new heights- literally. There was the redevelopment of Ibrox and the creation of the club deck with of course a massive use of steel which came from…. Murray International Metals! That company of course had to be paid for its product services and expertise– and so Bank of Scotland allowed Rangers to borrow and spend.. and borrow and spend… and borrow and spend………. and on it went.

    Now, consider this, that at that point Murrays core business was open cast mining and metals- mostly steel. He sold the metals business in 2005 for the price of £112M after profits rose from £5.5Million to £21.9Million in the course of the immediately preceding fiscal year. The company was bought by an American consortium called Jeffries Capital Partners. At the same time, Murray closed two open cast mines in Lanarkshire making dozens of people redundant. The metals business and the mines represented about a third or more of his then business empire…. according to Sir David at the time. We will come to that phenominal rise in profits later. Yet by that time MIH had increased their borrowings to over £500Million pounds!

    You do the maths!!!

    In other words, Murray put no money into Rangers to buy it, the borrowing pre Murray (1988) was at a £6m level and was not getting higher and so something somewhere must have changed to justify the kind of borrowing that was definitely off the table for both Rangers and Murray pre 1988.

    Before or After the date of acquisition of Rangers, Bank of Scotland came to fund every other club in the SPL as far as I know— including Celtic.

    Murray, would come borrow phenominal sums from HBOS— borrowing of an extent and style which were just not to the taste of Lloyds when they came to take over the HBOS reins! I am told by someone in the know that when Lloyds took over HBOS,

    Not long after the banks “merged”, I understand that Sir David Murray was told that Lloyds were taking immediate control of MIH, that no one in the Lloyds team could in any way fathom HOW Murray had ever been allowed to borrow what he had from HBOS, how certain facilities had been granted. [redacted]

    Now, less than six years after Murray took control of Rangers,with a debt of £6m, and started to markedly increase their borrowing to improve a decrepit and non compliant stadium, The very bank that funded Murray, sought to liquidate Celtic with a debt of £5m and a stadium that was also in need of renovation and improvement. By this time, the justification for increased Rangers borrowing was the improvement of the stadium, the commercial use of adjacent office facilities, the extra income that brought, and the resulting ability to seemingly “afford” an ever better football team on the park! Yet, this supposedly successful business model was not to be encouraged when it came to Celtic by the very same bank! Now that is curious!

    As was later proven by Fergus McCann, the improvement of that stadium did lead to an increase in revenue and safety in financial terms– as was supposedly proven by Murray to the same bank a few years before. Of course the first thing that Fergus did was to ditch HBOS.

    Until 1990, Aberdeen Football Club worked without an overdraft with great success, and after Souness’ arrival at Ibrox Aberdeen were the nearest challengers to Rangers.

    However, in 1990, Aberdeen had to go to the bank to upgrade Pittodrie to comply with the Taylor report. They went to HBOS who provided the funds to upgrade Pittodrie. Similarly with Dundee United as I understand it and many other clubs. The Bank of Scotland then really got its teeth into Scottish Football and would go on to have a huge influence in everything that happened within the game– that grip still exists to a certain extent to this day– although whether it is exercised in exactly the same way as it has in the past is yet to be seen.

    In October 1990, Gavin Masterton is appointed Director of Dunfermiline Football Club– he is the longest serving Director of that football club, and he has remained a Director of that club long after he retired from Bank of Scotland in 2001. When he did retire from the Bank, Peter Burt, the main man at HBOS, paid tribute to him in the annual accounts of the bank as follows:

    Finally, I must thank Gavin Masterton for his remarkable

    contribution to the Bank over the past 44 years. In my opinion,

    Gavin is the most CREATIVE and effective banker in the UK, a

    view shared by many of those who have dealt with him. I have

    learned much from Gavin and I am grateful for that knowledge

    and his help and friendship since we started working closely

    together more than twenty years ago.

    Note the word “Creative”—- within 7 years the bank which described itself as the “efficient” goes bust!!

    The Banks accounts for 2001 are here:

    When Masterton retires, he continues to be involved in both the bank and football, not only through Dunfermiline but also through Stadia, the company he formed with HBOS finance, to help clubs redevelop their tired stadia into moderm grounds complete with offices and ancilliary business opportunities—— all a la the Murray proven model– although of course by this time the idea has been underlined and proven to be a great success by wee Fergus.

    However, by then, we get other clubs in crisis– possibly because by then, the very same Bank are putting the squeeze on the facilities that they have provided to these clubs in the past. The Thompsons have to take over Dundee Utd, Romanov comes to Hearts in 2005 after that club had sought a buyer for years ( remember much of the ground round Tynecastle has been bought up by Murray and the son of Wallace Mercer ) amidst never ending rumours that they will be forced to sell Tynecastle.

    I invite others– the more Accountancy types among us- to look at the Corporate history of every other club in Scotland between 1990 and 2008– and compare the dates when they they all individually seemed to struggle for money– and how and what steps were taken to alleviate that financial pressure!

    By 2001 Masterton,has started up the Stadia Business and is effectively repeating the exercise that Murray was allowed to complete at IIbrox re the rejuvenation of the stadia– he builds them for the clubs etc– and I just wonder where he gets the steel?????

    Remember Murray sells the metals business in 2005 already owing HBOS over £500Million on the back of profits somehow jumping from £5m to almost £22m at the very time Stadia is at its pomp.

    Wonder how that happened?

    So look at this article from 2004, after Stadia, under control of the Bank “Guru” fails miserably and is threatened with winding up by HMRC for not paying its taxes? You will see some familiar names in there who just happen to be prominent once again today.

    Then consider this article from Ian Fraser- who is the leading journalist anywhere covering bank corruption whether that be HBOS or The Royal Bank.

    Again there are some familiar names here but most importantly look at the date where the bank’s attitude hardens– June 2003.

    Celtic have just come back from Seville and of course lost the league on the last day when Rangers beat a Dunfermiline team who dropped their bags at the airport before heading on to Ibrox. Of course, a Director of the visiting team— Gavin Masterton.

    RTC raises the spectre of events re the Rangers team that took to the field in 2005 against Hibs. Of course Celtic lost the league that day by not putting Motherwell to the sword– and it is the fault of the Celtic team on the day that they were not crowned Champions, but the point is that RTC is making it plain that the “figures” for that Rangers squad were gerrymandered in so far as contracts and taxes were concerned.

    For years now, Ian Fraser has been reporting that certain figures surrounding businesses which were banked by Bank of Scotland, were also Gerrymnandered and are open to scrutiny and criticism. At the bottom of this post I link numerous articles on what has now come to be described as the policy of “Handshake” banking that was prevalent within the Bank of Scotland at the time. Just look at the major names in Scottish business who are mentioned in there — many of whom have now been contacted by the Police who are conducting a massive investigation into the activities of the Corporate Lending Sector of HBOS. This is the very section that was headed up by Gavin Masterton and later Peter Cummings, who was taught all he knows by Masterton, and who retired from the bank in his early 50’s with a lifetime pension of circa £9,000/week based on his “performance” as the Banker to Scotland’s business “names” such as David Murray.

    The police investigation has recently been widened and benefits from increased manpower. The FSA are monitoring the position– badly in the eyes of sum.

    However, most importantly, it is said that those within the bank used what would otherwise have been confidential financial information provided by their own customers, for their own benefit and to ensure that certain businesses remained either profitable for the bank, or that the business some businesses were deemed insolvent with the result that the favoured clients and executives within the banks made a profit out of the sale of assets belonging to HBOS customers whose businesses were pressured by the same bank!

    The bank stand accused of such underhand dealing in court– where there is a class action by numerous Bank customers against the policies of the bank and its officials– which policy and practices are effectively the subject of criminal investigation.

    Against this background, I pose the question when did the wheels come off the Bank of Scotland Bogie? When did the Corporate Lending section of the Bank of Scotland morph into an institution where the bank executives played fast and loose with moral and ethical business practices in order to maintian a bonus system based on their ability to be “CREATIVE” and gather an ever bigger lending book and relationship with the big businesses and players in the UK?

    To what lengths– ( allegedly criminal and fraudulent lengths ) did the bank and its officials go to ensure that success was achieved, and as far as football was concerned, did they ever get to a position where they had lent out so much money to one particular club or its owner, that it became in the banks interests that they did everything they could to ensure the success of their chief borrower?

    Remember Murray sells ( or is forced to sell ? ) MIM for £112MILLION – supposedly one third of his empire and yet his borrowing is a massive £500M at that point (2005)- but somehow within the next 3 years that borrowing is allowed to grow to over £750Million — something I repeat that Lloyds would have had no taste for!

    Dunfermiline as you can see have had massive questions asked about how they support and sustain their overdraft- which hardly maches Rangers borrowing– but at the same time their borrowing is greater than Livingstone’s who have been forced to go to the wall as a result of…well… it would appear Masterton’s mismanagement of Stadia.

    How does that work for one club, but not for another? By the way, today, Dunfermiline is effectively owned by a parent company and is financed by way of “soft” loans from The Directors and said parent company. Go on– you will never guess who owns the parent company……Did I hear you say Gavin Masterton?

    Where is the rest of Scottish Football?

    Celtic are Independent, but the rest are all, or have been, in hawk to the Bank of Scotland/Lloyds in varying, and possibly ever decreasing, levels.

    In short, the Bank of Scotland have been all over Scottish Football– every aspect of it— for two decades or more and Where you get HBOS over that period you get– Masterton or Cummings– and where you get Masterton or Cummings you get Murray.

    Ian Fraser has already highlighted the fact that the Corporate lending section of the Bank of Scotland is the subject of Britain’s biggest corporate fraud investigation. See his blog for repeated references to Operation Hornet and to his questioning the practices and integrity of the bank and its officials.

    Where am I going with all this?

    Well there comes a time when it is in the Bank of Scotland’s interest for Rangers to win and be successful. European Football is essential, as we know that not being top of the pile means lack of money and a shortfall and a reduction in the ability of Rangers/MIH/Murray to repay debt.

    We also know ( without rushing to judgement ) that there are those within HBOS at this time who gained from squeezing HBOS clients, recovering assets, selling them to themselves or their favoured customers, and then sharing the uplift on resale with HBOS trusted partners. It is alleged that the benefactors of such practices included David Murray/Tom Hunter/Sir Philip Green/Rocco Forte and others. They have all been spoken to by the Police as part of Hornet apparently.

    So, at some stage, did the Bank of Scotland squeeze the other clubs in Scottish Football– partly to recover monies but also to ensure one of their biggest clients with a football team had the greatest possible chance in the sporting arena and so maximise the money and the corporate solvency?

    Did Rangers have the money to buy players from other clubs in Scotland and pay rediculous wages– Novo, Gow, Dodds ,Goram,Boyd,Webster,McCann, Whittaker, Naismith, Duncan Ferguson, Iain Ferguson,Kenny Miller whoever– strengthening the own squad– but at the same time weakening the league opposition? Didn’t matter if they ever played or not.

    At some point, did Murray’s borrowing get so mental that it reached the stage that from the HBOS perspective it was essential that Rangers must win?

    I recall being at a business meeting with some of those linked to certain recent goings on at Ibrox. Rangers were really in the ascendancy, right in the middle of 9 in a row, Celtic were poor also rans. But there was hope with Di canio, Cadete and van Hooydonk. A comment was made which I ignored at the time– which was that the corporate guys at Rangers were desperate for Celtic to win — something– even the league– but preferably the cup– because Rangers were so far ahead that the bears had stop coming, stopped spending and stopped throwing money at Ibrox. The borrowing was up and the income- despite on field success– was reducing– because there was no edge to the matches with Celtic because they were no real challenge.

    But the bankers wanted money– and for there to be money there has to be rivalry between the big two. Whereas before HBOS wanted to put Celtic out of business, it was now the case that a challenge from Celtic at least was seen as essential to getting the Ibrox revenue up, and so help reduce or service bank debt.

    We have always taken the view that there has been something not quite right about Scottish Football– many things in fact.

    Now we know about Bain, EBT’s, double contracts, and oh so many other things. We also know that there are those who speak with some authority and who allege that the bank was rotten to the core.

    In light of all this, what role has the Bank of Scotland played in Scottish Football over the period and are its hands clean?

    Review of the various clubs accounts may well reveal certain bank debt patterns. Ian Fraser may well have a whistleblower somewhere- he has in the past— but if you sit back and think about it the advance of Rangers with bank debt and the decline of other previously successful teams with the same bank must have some correlation and connection.

    See the articles linked below! Maybe these journalists are just nutters with access to a keyboard and the net like the rest of us on here. Or maybe, like the rest of us, Roddy Forsyth just doesn’t read the papers. But questions have been asked about the Murray model and its veracity etc, yet the football guys ahve just not picked it up!

    The other clubs might just want to look at their own accounts over the years and their relationship with the bank at certain key moments in time.. and maybe give that a wee bit of a review. They might just descern a pattern of behaviour.

    Then again– maybe I am just a paranoid tim?

  10. VertWolf says:

    Suppose many of the players representing RFC on 22nd May 2005 could be shown to be receiving payments much lower than the going rate for football players of similar standing in the game (using the contracts lodged with the SPL or via tax returns to HMRC)

    Would that not provide the weight required to balance the probabilty against the EBT being purely discretionary?


  11. Hugh McEwan says:

    VertWolf says:
    16/04/2012 at 2:41 pm


    I believe it would provide evidence in the absence of actual letters / contracts.

    However from what I am reading it my not actually be necessary. If the best evidence is already there then there is no need to use evidence which can only really ask people to infer something.

  12. Goosy says:

    To those who know about these things

    When the FTT report their findings must they explicity state the figure RFC are due to pay HMRC ?
    This could of course be the number being appealed or some fraction of it depnding on the judgement

    Does the FTT set out the principles by which HMRC can calculate the amount due
    I`m wondering here if the FTT ruling could have an inbuilt further delay before HMRC render the final bill which would be calculated from the principles set out in the judgement and the penalty deemed appropriate by HMRC

  13. tomtom says:


    Quite prepared to be shot down in flames but I’m pretty sure that RBS were Rangers bankers until the early part of the 90’s. IIRC around about 1994 they were desperate to get rid of the toxic debt the was RFC – they could see then that it was a basket case – and BofS took over the mantle then. A good friend of mine was a manager with RBS at the time and used to moan that he had to go to Ibrox every so often to show face even though everyone at the bank knew he was a Celtic supporter. Don’t doubt that BofS were Murray’s bankers and could well have provided the finance through his maze of companies at that time.

  14. Craig says:

    Proper tax planning improperly implemented as a result of poor documentation.
    Stating it is fielding players illegally that the club could not afford is going a step too far.

  15. Ballsbustedan'a'tha' says:

    Craig says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:02 pm
    0 1 i Rate This

    (Im)Proper tax planning improperly implemented as a result of poor documentation.
    Stating it is fielding players illegally that the club could not afford is going a step too far.


  16. Ballsbustedan'a'tha' says:

    Ballsbustedan’a’tha’ says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:05 pm
    0 0 i Rate This

    Craig says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:02 pm
    0 1 i Rate This

    Edited for accuracy….

    (Im)Proper tax planning improperly implemented and as a result of damning documentation.
    Stating it is fielding players illegally that the club could not afford is going a step too far.


  17. Thornlyboy says:

    Brogan, etc.: Wow!

    We were complaining about lack of meat, now we have a dripping roast (or is it even cooked?).
    Fans of other clubs outside the OF might want to start a bit of probing.

    Surely a ‘Scottish institution’ (HBOS, that is) couldn’t be that crooked? Could it…? they are
    b(w)ankers after all. (Was that Mr McGoo?)

  18. Auldheid says:


    On the money eh?

    Earlier today I mentioned a contagion coming from the Edinburgh financial mindset. I did not expect a suggested carrier to be revealed a few hours later.

    I am a great believer that thinking creates reality and when realities are similar, the same kind of thinking is its source.

    Lots of links to read but it is no wonder Alex Thomson is interested, for this is wider than mere fitbaw.

  19. Barcabhoy says:

    Whatever happened to the recent demand from the SFA that ALL clubs notified them of any payments made to players outwith their contract. The letter was sent on March 20th and the information had to be provided by April 6th.

    Have ALL clubs responded ?

    Were there any clubs who were not in a position to provide the information requested ?

    What do the SFA intend to do to any clubs who have not responded ?

    What do the SFA intend to do to any clubs who have made payments outside of their registered contracts ?

    These would be good questions for @alextomo to ask his new pal @StewartRegan

  20. Spanishcelt says:

    I read on here that the administrators/rangers and HMRC would be notified of decision five days before it is made public.
    If as expected it goes aginst them and no CVA will the administrators go straight for liquidation even before the findings are made public?
    What would the expected timescale between being informed of decision and putting business into liquidation?

  21. TheBlackKnight TBK says:

    Slim, the same Trident listed in the maladministration document.

    Trident Trust Company, Jersey owed £40,689.90

  22. Ballsbustedan'a'tha' says:

    Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:
    16/04/2012 at 2:37 pm

    Would someone please make AT aware of this post via Twitter. I’m not on it.

    Just how big can this get?

    BRTH….brilliant man.

  23. Torrevieja Johnbhoy says:

    SSN saying they hope to have news on RFCs future within the next hour.

  24. Conan O Brien says:


    Some sound theories but a couple of spanners:

    Bank of Scotland had no faith in the owners of Celtic – Kelly, Whyte et al. Neither did we. Banks don’t lend to people they think are not credible.

    Barr built most stadia in Scotland if I am not mistaken, and they have (or maybe, had) their own steel division. Doubtful they bought from Murray but not impossible.

    You are on the money with Cummings, Masterton. Info I have is that Cummings was lending Murray £M’s on a handshake. No projections, plans etc.

    Also on Masterton – was he not running Dunfermline when they were actually paying out 130% of turnover on players wages?

    IMO The Bank of Scotland and David Murray have killed Scottish football. For the press to still go on about how much of his own money Murray invested in Rangers* makes me physically sick.
    Ask Traynor who Uberior Investments are.

  25. tigertim says:

    If the administrators were informed of the verdict 5/10 days in advance and knew at this point that liquidation was the only option would they still be able to trade?
    Lets say could they continue to purchase tickets for the very last old firm game ever, in the knowledge they would cease trading within days?
    Or have another home game, without paying Strathclyde Police?

  26. Jimbo milligan says:

    Who in the name of god is davie the dj ???

  27. Hugh McEwan says:

    Spanishcelt says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:22 pm


    The creditors have around a month to respond to the CVA offer. Presumably Duff and Phelps will have to wait until all of the responses have been received before they know whether a CVA has been accepted or not. I believe, but someone can confirm, that they can also make alternate proposals. e.g. If they sold the ground on a lease back, giving access to more funds to up the offer.

    Remember they are trying to keep a viable business going as well as get the best for the creditors. there may be more than one option open.

  28. tomtom says:

    Conan O Brien says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:26 pm


    Some sound theories but a couple of spanners:

    Barr built most stadia in Scotland if I am not mistaken, and they have (or maybe, had) their own steel division. Doubtful they bought from Murray but not impossible.


    Don’t know about any other stadia but the deal with Dundee Utd for Duncan Ferguson was £2m in cash and a credit line for a further £2m with Murray Metals to provide the steelwork for their new stand – hence the vastly mooted £4m transfer. Now whether Dundee Utd or RFC paid the bill for the steel I don’t know but it was an integral part of the transfer deal

    If nothing else this was certainly an example of Murray making money out of RFC via the back door.

  29. Torrevieja Johnbhoy says:

    Probably wishful thinking.Could RTCs sources informed him/her that FTT result is imminent?.
    That’s why this mornings hint regarding the 2005 RFC team was released.RTC always said more info would be forthcoming as the result became known. :twitch:

  30. Carntyne says:

    Slimshady says:
    16/04/2012 at 11:44 am

    It will be long, it will be anonymised, but it will be detailed. Incidentally in my reading of the rules
    relating to “in camera” and “anonymity” for tribunals, I do not see that RFC in any way meet the criteria either for the hearing being held in private or for the decision not being made unexpurgated. Maybe Alex Salmond had a soft word and firm handshake with the Clerk to the FTT(Tax)?

    What criteria is required to have such a hearing in private?

    And why the anonymity of the findings?

    I can just about understand if there was criminal proceedings in the offing, but surely in such a high profile case it is in the public interest to show clearly what has gone on.

    If the BTC case goes Rangers way, what would be the reason for anyone to remain anonymous, and if they lose then those responsible should not be allowed to hide behind a cloak of secrecy.

  31. jockybhoy says:

    Hugh McEwan says: 16/04/2012 at 3:32 pm
    “Remember they are trying to keep a viable business going as well as get the best for the creditors. there may be more than one option open”.


    I thought there job was to get what is best for the creditors – if that was by keeping a viable business going, we and good. Didn’t realise their remit was to keep a viable business going as well as get the best for the creditors….

  32. Auldheid says:

    yojimbo56 says:

    16/04/2012 at 11:53 am

    On the face of it, it looks like Murray’s decision was based on simply not wanting to play second fiddle to Celtic but on reading BRTH’s post on the banks perhaps it was about a lot more than football triumphalism?.

    I posed a question earlier where did the money come from in 2007/8 to strengthen Rangers squad?

    Was it hidden in MIH accounts our was there a sanctioning by HBOS to allow the debt to increase and what did HBOS stand to lose if they did not sanction the rise, because it looked like without an injection, Rangers would have been then, where they are now.

    Was it an attempt to reduce debt over time using CL money, that failed because a) HBOS got taken over and Lloyds stopped priming the player pump and b) because that pump was no longer primed ,Rangers could not afford the standard of player to qualify even if they won the SPL.

    The absolute necessity of winning access to CL money was what made many Celtic supporters, and I include myself , think this is not normal* when watching how games were being refereed. And even if it just was paranoia, the perception that Rangers depended on CL money to survive did nothing to reduce it.

    * by nornal I mean the kind of decisions I had seen over years watching Celtic and Rangers were I expected Rangers to get more than their share of 50/50s but that was just down to referees being human.

    PS. Watch out who you let control Newco if it happens.

  33. Slimshady says:

    TheBlackKnight TBK says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:22 pm
    TBK, the very same. Assuming a certain person within Ibrox was acting as settlor, trustee and beneficiary (which appears to be what RTC has been alluding to over 13 months), then Trident can’t have been doing much; in which case £40K is quite a lot of fees to be outstanding.

    Goosy, it is not the Tribunal’s job to quantify, though they can set aside an assessment if it’s manifestly wrong. It is for the inspector of taxes to assess the tax and the Tribunal to uphold or reject that.

    The interest follows on naturally, but the penalty is left for HMRC to determine, bearing in mind the usual factors (co-operation (or lack of), gravity & quantum). Penalties can be as low as 0% or as high as 110%.

    Here, the Tribunal’s findings as to culpability may also be a factor in the final penalty

    From recent statements it appears HMRC are already looking north of 100%. I have never seen higher than 50% and that was for a pretty serious offence, by an un-cooperative client who had avoided a lot of tax in relative terms.

    BRTH, if we take what you are saying to its fullest extent, you seem to be implying that Bobby Tait was in the control of Gavin Masterton and threw the league to Celtic in 1998, by letting the RFC – Kilmarnock game play on until Killie scored, so as to renew interest amongst the Ayebrokes followers and make money for SDM and BOS in the following years?

    By the way, it is not soft loans that Dunfermline has from Gavin & co – those amount to only £600K – the real quantum of loans (£16M) are owed through its new parent company to (you’ve guessed it) HBOS.

    So it really has been the “Bank of Scotland Premier League” all the way since 1998 from what you say – well they sponsored it so why shouldn’t they have had a say in who won it?

  34. Spanishcelt says:

    Hugh mcEwan @3.22
    Although the creditors have a month to respond, if hmrc make it clear no deal, then would the duphers still be able to wait a month to offer alternative options(if there is any)?
    During that period they will surely need some form of income or credit just to see the end of the season and then the close season?
    I cant see how this can go on much longer, 2 home gmes left with maybe ten thousand paying customers per game would be about (including food, programmes etc.) 500k income until next July friendlies but running costs still around 600k per week.

  35. tenerifetim says:

    Ballsbustedan’a’tha’ says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:25 pm
    E-mailed to him -hope he reads it before SSB tonight!

  36. Vinibhoy says:

    Couple of tweets saying that gers have lost appeal. I hope they are right!

  37. The Old Trench Coat says:

    In my very humble opinion, History will show that RTC and many of the wonderful and mentally dextrous contibutors to this fine site will have played no small part in precipitating the reformation of Scottish football. Two watchwords spring to mind – ‘Glasnost’ & ‘Perestroika’ the noble intentions of which can only be for the greater good. (Despite what the misguided and ill-infomed would have us believe).

    Had it not been for RTC I shudder to think what I would have been reading and for the most part believing in the MSM.

    Alex Thomson on Clyde tonight. The distinction between Journalist and Reporter will be made abundantly clear.

  38. European Bear says:

    Uberior Investments? That’s BoS’ investment vehicle. I thought that was widely known?

  39. fara says:

    Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:

    16/04/2012 at 2:37 pm

    Excellent and very interesting. But don’t mention this anywhere else you will indeed be cited as paranoid , though the facts appear to be overwhelming.

    I just wonder how the Kellys’ where treated at their time in charge of CFC by the media was really meritted. Six million was not that much in reflection for Celtic to owe a bank. Indeed Michael Kelly gave Jabba one of the biggest roastings I have ever heard. When Jabba refers to michael as “you and your kind”. Sadly I’m of an age where I don’t have the internet savvy to post links but it’s on youtube under “traynor lets his guard slip”. But anyhoos my opinion of Michael really changed after viewing that. I just wonder what pressure the custodians of Celtic where under during this period and if it will ever be really known.

  40. ”If you don't need to know, you don't get to hear.” says:

    Ahhhh…its great to see that we have most of the “big hitters” back in the RTC game..
    …you have been sorely missed…Let the lessons & learning recommence 🙂

  41. fara says:

    I meant to add in my earlier post but forgot.
    “I just hope that Michael wasn’t threatened with any form of phsical violence after that interview”

  42. fara says:

    “physical” I mean

  43. Fritz Agrandoldteam says:

    Good to have you back RTC – and Brogan & Co.

    It’s like the teacher came back into the classroom, and stopped the unruly pupils from carrying on!


  44. Hugh McEwan says:

    jockybhoy says:
    16/04/2012 at 3:49 pm


    Their primary objective in administration is to try to keep a viable business afloat, thus saving jobs etc.

    As I understand it that has to be balanced with doing the best for the creditors. Remember, a CVA doesn’t just have to be a one off payment. It could be paying something initially with more over a longer period. Which may be a better outcome for the creditors.

    However it is fundamental to administration, as I undertand it, that they will try to keep a business afloat, if it is viable going forward having met it’s CVA commitments.

  45. “Under these conditions, the debate about ‘helicoptering’ a newco into the SPL to replace Rangers FC would surely change.”

    There is no possibility of a newco being helicoptered into the SPL anyway, because it directly contravenes SFA rules. I just rang the SFA myself this afternoon and they (in the shape of Claire in the Communications department) confirmed my interpretation of this:

    The short version is that – as laid out under Section 3, Rule 3.1.1 of the Club Licensing Manual – no club can play in the SPL without a UEFA Club Licence (issued by the SFA, not UEFA), and any club applying for a UCL must have been a member of the SFA for at least three years.

    Furthermore, under Rule 3.3.1, a Licence may NOT be transferred from any legal entity (eg Rangers FC) to any other legal entity (eg New Rangers 2012 FC).

    Therefore as it stands, it would be absolutely forbidden under SFA rules for a newco Rangers to directly enter the SPL, no matter whether the SPL invited them to or not.

  46. gerpat says:

    Ballsbustedan’a’tha’ says:

    16/04/2012 at 3:25 pm
    Would someone please make AT aware of this post via Twitter. I’m not on it.

    E-mailed AT with this and more on 29 March.

  47. scapa says:

    Craig Whyte surfaced to talk to STV

    Craig Whyte: ‘Not a chance’ I’ll face SFA judicial panel

    The Rangers owner insists the disciplinary process is “a farce” and he will not travel to Hampden to contest disciplinary charges.

    Craig Whyte will not appear at Hampden this week. Pic: © SNS Group

    Rangers owner Craig Whyte has dismissed Scottish Football Association charges against him as “farcical” and says he will not appear at the governing body’s judicial hearing.

    The disciplinary hearings, originally scheduled for late March, will take place over three days this week.

    The SFA has charged Rangers and Whyte with seven rule breaches following an independent inquiry led by Lord Nimmo into events at the administration-hit club.

    Whyte is individually charged with two disciplinary breaches and is entitled to make his case to the SFA judicial panel. However, he has insisted he will remain in the South of France rather than travelling to Hampden, saying that he would be wasting his time in attending.

    Asked if he would make his own case, he told PA: “Not a chance.

    “The SFA is a farcical organisation. The whole thing is a farce. I will absolutely play no part in it and I will have no representation at Hampden.

    “I will have more to say about it all in the next couple of days.”

    Whyte had already failed to attend a procedural hearing on April 6 which was set for him to “lodge a substantive response and for representations to be made as to state of preparation”.”

  48. ”If you don't need to know, you don't get to hear.” says:

    Fritz Agrandoldteam says:
    16/04/2012 at 4:28 pm..
    Did you bring an apple for the teacher(s)..? 🙂

  49. scapa says:

    Been stated before, but worth repeating, there are three statutory objectives in an Administration:

    “Schedule B1 of The Insolvency Act 1986 provides that an insolvency Administration of a limited company can only take place if there exists one of three possible “statutory purposes” or three possible outcomes of the Administration.

    Those three statutory purposes are set out at Paragraph 3 to schedule B1 of The Insolvency Act 1986. Those provisions came into force and apply to all Administrations after 15th September 2003.

    The three Administration statutory purposes (or required outcomes) are:

    – Rescuing the company as a going concern. (Note: this purpose is to rescue the company as opposed to rescuing the business undertaken by the company.)

    – Or, achieving a better result for the company’s creditors as a whole than would be likely if the company were wound up (without first being in administration).

    – Or, realising property to make a distribution to one or or more secured or preferential creditors.

  50. Brenda says:

    News flash craigie boy speaks the truth ‘ SFA is a farcical organisation ‘ lol 🙂

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