More key information from FTT report for Nimmo Smith Commission


The enormity of the forthcoming SPL Commission report could easily be lost in the ocean of headlines which has engulfed this matter in recent years.  I’ve noted below more information from the recent First Tier Tribunal report on Rangers tax case, in an attempt to clarify some of the key issues.

From The Evidence:

“The Appellants’ first witness was Mr Red, a senior member of the group’s tax function.  He is a Chartered Tax Advisor and qualified as a tax inspector previously to joining the Appellants.”

“Mr Red insisted in his evidence that the Trust was not a means of “tax avoidance””.

“It was noted in an internal memo prepared by Mr Red dated 8 September 2005 to the Board of MIH that he had described the Trust as a form of “tax avoidance scheme””.

Dissenting opinion from Ms Poon:

The Nature of the Side-letters
“Another strand of evidence being tested was the nature and purpose of the side-letters.  Asked about the secrecy surrounding the side-letters, referring to the fact that they were not lodged with the SFA, nor disclosed in the long period of HMRC’s enquiry, Mr Red’s reply was: ‘I still say there is nothing secret about them. We have nothing to hide in these side letters’.

“It is not accepted that there had been no deliberate concealment of the side-letters, in view of how the first side-letter only came to light through the seizure of Mr Berwick’s file nearly four years into the enquiry.

“It is not accepted that the nondisclosure of the side-letters arose from a ‘credible’ view that Mr Red considered the side-letters irrelevant to HMRC’s enquiry. As a former Inspector of Taxes, Mr Red knew, or should have known, that the side-letters were highly relevant to the enquiry.”

“The side-letters showed a form of contractual arrangement, and they proved linkage between the sums contributed into the sub-trusts at the appointed dates and their withdrawal as loans from the sub-trusts as contemporaneous transactions. The contractual aspect and the linkage between the amounts of contributions to the main Trust and the sums loaned had been repeatedly raised in the enquiry correspondence.

“A fair conclusion to be drawn from the circumstantial evidence on the one hand, and Mr Red’s oral evidence on the other, is that the side-letters had been actively concealed. The reason for the concealment might have been, in Mr Red’s view, the side-letters could be incriminating evidence against the impression of the trust operation that he had been trying to give.”

“While not denying the proposition put to him by the Respondents that ‘there’s an overarching contract with each of the footballers, consisting of the written contract and the side letters’, Mr Red maintained that ‘it’s our view that the side-letter or the letters of undertaking do not need to be registered or lodged with the SFA’ (Day 3/31-32).”

So, in evidence, Rangers witness Mr Red, did not deny the proposition that there was an overarching contract with footballers consisting of the declared contract and side-letters, but “it’s our view” that side-letters did not need to be lodged with the lodge SFA.  Ms Poon suggests a fair conclusion is the side-letters were “actively concealed” as they could be “incriminating evidence”.

The SFA has issued disciplinary action against many clubs for erroneous registration but no club has ever faced a charge of actively concealing information necessary for proper registration.

The SFA president was a working director of Rangers when “our view” was established and was legally responsible for the club’s actions.  As I noted yesterday, but, frankly, can still not comprehend, on publication of this report the president announced himself “somewhat vindicated” by its contents.

Majority opinion:

John McClelland became a board member of Rangers in 2000 (legally responsible for conduct and oversight) and according to Wikipedia held senior board level positions in the electronics industry.  He was also a director of the SPL (legally responsible for conduct and oversight) between the company being formed 1997 and 2008.

The majority opinion, which favoured Rangers position in regards to income tax, noted the following about Mr Indigo, who was “a board member of Rangers since 2000. His previous career was in industry, latterly serving in senior executive roles.”

Mr Indigo “acknowledged that he was, however, aware of the overall content of arrangements made with players and did not consider these to be “secret”. He believed that the Trust had been used to pay appearance money and bonuses.”

According to rules established by SPL directors, including Mr McClelland, money paid in connection with football, including appearance money, has to be registered with the league.  It also has to be registered with the SFA.

When the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission reports, we will discover if this is what passes as vindication in Scottish football, or if a senior officeholder of the SFA, and others, will be dismissed in disgrace and banned, sine die, from the game.

We are busy pulling the next issue of CQN Magazine together.  If you would like to write an article, or take out some advertising , get in touch, article@cqnmagazine.co.uk.
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  1. The austin A35 had the pop out indicators, and both doors could swing open right to the front wings.

  2. Afternoon bhoys from a sunny hun free mountain valley.



    Aye, it’s scotland, a country where you can plead guilty to assaulting someone going about their work, in full view of many thousands, and in full view of hundreds of thousands on live television, and they let you off with a slap on the wrist.



    And some still believe that they will be punished for what they have done..

  3. Vmhan – Thank you kind sir. (thumbsup)



    markderrybhoy – I used to be an ordinary man, working as an astronaut. One day my hand was caught in the vending machine as I attempted to manually extricate a packet of salt n’ vinegar snack-a-jacks that had gotten caught on the hook. They had the technology to rebuild me, stronger, faster, better, thumbs-er… (thumbsup)



    31003 – We are far too young and clever (thumbsup)

  4. im so old indicators where called flashers and dogs poo used to be white,dad bought me candy balls from a wee shop in duke street as weleft his nsu prinz parked nearby on our way to a match ,always midweek(dad worked on saturdays)




    SFTB, winning the FTT (as opposed to the tax case, which is still underway), was a surprise, but there is the whole second half to play. The matters the Commission are looking at are quite distinct.



    time for change, yes, wait and see time.

  6. Just joined in the good old days thread then Paul has to spoil it with another bombshell.


    I remember when the young folk were seen and not heard.

  7. George Best lace up the side football boots ……………..one kick and the boot spun round 5 times on your foot……………..magic !

  8. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Reposting from previous article



    Graham Spiers, God and Dermo67’s Corner Kick









    Good Article Paul,



    The FTT was decided on a very narrow interpretation of the law — purely as it relates to tax tribunals and the application of tax law as the two assenting judges saw it.



    Nimmo Smith is an entirely different set of rules and obligations altogether with the obligation to register and disclose all documents and payments in relation to any payments made in return for playing football being absolute. If any of these documents were not registered or disclosed then there appears to be no proper registration of any player affected.



    As an aside– One possible line of attack on the FTT appeal is to argue that the assenting judges wrongly concentrated on the payments from the subtrusts to players or relatives being loans– with the revenue conceding that these loans were not shams– and loans are not subject to tax.



    Instead, it may well be argued that Rangers FC were obliged to fund the Sub trusts by way of payments of money– which payments were governed by the contracts of employment ( both main contracts and side letters ) between the club and the players.



    In that case, as soon as the payment leaves the club and is paid to anyone– it does not matter who— then that payment should be subject to tax.



    Also note that the side letters do not say that the payments between Rangers and the sub trusts are in fact loans– rather they seem to say that Rangers will be obliged to fund the subtrusts– which means that they are simply obliged to pay the money over in terms of a contract— and this makes the whole thing liable to tax.



    This is something that the Assenting Judges ignored and did not give enough weight to.



    If that argument is right– then any loan from the subtrusts to the players or their nominees are in fact irrelevant.

  9. its been a while since i have logged on and the blog suddenly has 200 extra posts , come on LNS break the blog . Only in a good way mind you

  10. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    I hope your Aunt has a good time during her visit.



    Before my Mum died in 1989 and while she was reasonably fit, I drove her around all the places she had lived.



    A flat in Thomson St just off Duke St. Then Edmiston St, then a flat in Binns Road, Garthamlock followed by a 2up 2down in Binns Road also Garthamlock.



    The first house she owned in Carmyle Avenue and then the huge flat in Alexandra Parade (my favourite)



    The laughs and tears we shared and shed that day, just me and my old dying Mum, have left me with the memories of a truly wonderful day and a wonderful lady.



    I know some of our posters have suffered family bereavements and I hope I posted my condolences to you all.



    Mum’s are soooo special.



    Just like my memories of her.



    Thanks Mum!

  11. My oldest brother had a Rudge motorcycle with a big Red Hand of Ulster on the petrol tank!



    Cremola Foam! Oh how I envied the rich folk that could afford Cremola Foam.

  12. pogmathonyahun aka laird of the smiles



    My uncle John had one of these in his front garden in Pollok.


    I was never fortunate enough to get a run in it – mainly due to the lack of wheels. Got to sit in it though.

  13. Philbhoy.


    Great post.


    I was listening to Bridie Gallacher singing A mothers loves a blessing, an hour ago.



    I miss my Old Dear to.




  14. I’m not going to win this game but…



    I’m so old the first mobile phone I ever saw was housed in its own suitcase.



    Timmy Mallett’s hit single got played at school discos.



    Mullets and flat-tops were cool.



    George Michael was seen as a ladies man.



    If you wanted a hamburger, you had to go to Wimpys.



    Having a digital calculator watch made you cool.



    Nobody batted an eyelid if you smoked on a train, bus, or aeroplane.



    Getting online meant using the only computer in your home and the only television in your home and tying up the only phone in the house to dial into Prestel.



    Steve Fulton was the next Roberto Baggio. (thumbsup)

  15. My Da’s first car was a Consul Classic; weirdly designed retro back window. He passed his test when he was 40 years old in 1961. We ended up on an adventure holiday to Cornwall. Wuz like Waggon Train!


    Time flies etc;




  16. Can the SPL use that evidence though? Will RFC (RIP) have bothered to supply it?



    I doubt justice will be done. If it is then surely, surely Ogilvie must step down?

  17. PeterScarff batrays his low self -esteem ”


    They were called Trafficators. I had them on an Austin 7 – they were operated by a knob in the middle of the dashboard.”



    We’ll need to cheer him up bhoys.

  18. The Battered Bunnet on




    Apt timing to remind the Game at large what is at stake.



    IMO, so far as the SPL Commission is concerned, the key aspects in the FTT decision are:



    1) The concession by Thornhill QC for the Murray Group at para 120 that where benefits from the EBT framework derived from footballers’ side letters, the benefits were contractual.



    2) The disclosure by the Mr Indigo, considered to be former Director & Chairman of Rangers and Director of the SPL John McClelland, that the EBT framework was used to pay appearance money and bonuses.



    3) The opinion expressed by Mr Black, considered to be former majority shareholder, Director and Chairman of Rangers David Murray, that the EBT framework was: “…a method of us acquiring..better players in a more cost effective manner than we would be able to do”



    4) The evidence provided by Mr Scarlett, considered to be former Rangers CEO and SPL Director Martin Bain, that apportionment of contractual benefits as between PAYE payroll and the EBT framework was perhaps 50:50, and that the EBT element of the contracts was not disclosed to the football authorities.



    Taken together, we have an emerging picture of the EBT framework being a facility enabling Rangers to sign and wage players they otherwise could not afford (Mr Black) through a tax avoidance scheme (Mr Red) by paying appearance money and bonuses (Mr Indigo) via an over-arching contract (Thornhill QC) that was withheld from the SPL and SFA, contrary to the FIFA Rules of Registration, and the rules of the SFA and SPL.



    The FTT decision on when the relevant tax point was/ is/ ought to be for the benefits received by the players via this system is not germane to the football rulebook that the SPL Commission has been tasked with applying.




  19. I’m so old I can only remember Iggy pop, naw indicator pop…… sounds too posh for me anyway.



    BMCUW I received your email from BT who came through yet again, many thanks to you both, oh and your sister.





  20. Just watched a recording of the RTE Documentary on Sean Fallon, the actual interview with Sean was done just 3 days before he died. He was looking well and spoke well. Legend is a word thats often misused but its the perfect word to describe Sean.

  21. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    Tiny Tim



    My Mum was a recovering alcoholic.



    While she was drinking, I could not find alcohol anywhere in the house and this proved to be a mystery until she was close to death.



    We were talking about lots of things and I asked her where she hid her drink.



    I kid you not –



    In the summer it was in the inside pocket of my winter coat and in the winter it was the inside pocket of a light raincoat, both hanging in my bedroom wardrope!



    Nae flies.



    I miss her too!

  22. southside



    13:22 on


    26 February, 2013


    pogmathonyahun aka laird of the smiles


    My uncle John had one of these in his front garden in Pollok.


    I was never fortunate enough to get a run in it – mainly due to the lack of wheels. Got to sit in it though.




    That reminds me of a funny story, well I think it’s funny. I had a lovely wee girl come to work for me in 1989, she was 16, and when she was 17 her dad bought her a car although she could not drive. He assumed that she would learn in this car. Well that car sat on the driveway for years, and it may still be there. We are still friends and she will be 40 in April this year. She still hasn’t learned how to drive ;-)

  23. To those who said encouraging things about my posts yesterday – thank you.



    “Interesting, “Intelligent ” etc … addressed to me. I could listen to that kind of thing all day.





    Her attitude towards some aspects of the GB is ambivalent at best-for her to be taking up the cudgels on their behalf means more than had I done so.



    Bestaluck to all with it…..

  25. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    BMCUW gave you a glowing reference today.



    That is good enough for me.



    I hope it’s good enough for you.



    Sincere apologies to you.

  26. Ntassoolla


    13:37 on


    26 February, 2013


    To those who said encouraging things about my posts yesterday – thank you.



    “Interesting, “Intelligent ” etc … addressed to me. I could listen to that kind of thing all day.




    Nobody’s ever said that about my posts

  27. philbhoy , i pass your old flat everyday . my own mum died 34 years ago last week ,i was just eleven. A day never goes by when i dont think of her or miss her .

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