Nimmo Smith Commission noted unlawful tax affairs beyond their remit


Lord Nimmo Smith’s Scottish Premier League’s commission made clear their remit and the bounds on their decision:

“The Tax Tribunal has held (subject to appeal) that Oldco was acting within the law in setting up and operating the EBT scheme.

“The SPL presented no argument to challenge the decision of the majority of the Tax Tribunal

and Mr McKenzie (solicitor acting on behalf of the SPL) stated expressly that for all purposes of this Commission’s Inquiry and Determination the SPL accepted that decision as it stood, without regard to any possible appeal by HMRC.

“Accordingly we proceed on the basis that the EBT arrangements were lawful. What we are concerned with is the fact that the side letters issued to the Specified Players, in the course of the operation of the EBT scheme, were not disclosed to the SPL and the SFA as required by

their respective Rules.”

On this basis, Lord Nimmo Smith’s commission found that a legal tax loophole, inappropriately administered and which broke SFA and SPL rules, did not amount to a sporting advantage.

The Commission was clear their determination was bound by the Tax Tribunal and not influenced by the possibility of a successful HMRC appeal.  We have no ruling on today’s question – whether a decade-long illegal tax regime conferred sporting advantage.

In noting their thoughts so clearly, the law lords opened the door to a subsequent determination based on a successful HMRC appeal.

The SFA and SPFL (previously known as SPL) must now address this question.

It is worth noting; SFA and SPFL officials have been trying to steer media away from looking into their affairs.  These executives have no power on this matter.  The clubs will determine what happens, not those watching their own hide.

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  1. Also I might be talking nonsense here, but is it not the case that clubs have to register their players contracts with the SFA and if so did this include the side letters?



    published 00:45 Thursday 05 November 2015


    Have your say




    A FEW myths were exploded, a few matters set straight and a few more made altogether more complicated by the Court of Session’s decision yesterday to uphold the appeal of HMRC that Rangers ought to have paid tax on their Employee Benefits Trusts.



    For too long, too many followers of the Ibrox club have attempted to paint the “oldco” Rangers’ demise as being the sole responsibility of Craig Whyte. They have sought to promote the narrative that, had he never appeared on the scene, Rangers would not have suffered liquidation and been forced to reform in the Third Division.



    “ Murray found the club unsellable to all but Whyte because of the so-called ‘big tax case’ that hung over it. It would have continued to cast a shadow until today



    Yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh lays bare that Rangers were heading for the rocks long before anyone in the Scottish game had ever heard of Whyte. It also makes plain that, had David Murray remained in charge and not sold the club to Whyte for £1 in 2011, the old Ibrox club was still well and truly finished. All that would have been different would have been the timing of its immolation.



    Murray found the club unsellable to all but Whyte because of the so-called “big tax case” that hung over it. It would have continued to cast a shadow until today… when a £40 million tax bill would have been renewed. Murray, and his bankers, would not/could not have stumped up for that, administration would have followed and no CVA could have been forthcoming because HMRC, the main creditor, votes against these in football as a matter of course.





    It was a case of persistence paying off for HMRC. Murray had earlier won a First Tier Tribunal in 2012, on a 2-1 majority, before HMRC largely lost its first appeal in July 2014, but a change of legal tactics saw it succeed. A counter-appeal remains possible but it is hard to escape the sense that Murray is responisble for Rangers’ demise. Tax and national insurance should have been paid on the sums players at the club received as EBTs between 2001/02 and 2009/10.



    There could be a whole heap of fall-out from yesterday’s “common sense” judgment, bearing in mind that current chairman Dave King and Paul Murray both sat on the board that sanctioned the EBT scheme.



    The independent commission chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith two years ago into the use of EBTs by Rangers – and the failure of the club to disclose side-letters and payments – arrived as something of a fudge because the first tier tax tribunal into Rangers’ EBT use that delivered a verdict in 2012 had stopped short of declaring the “loans” as sham.



    Lord Nimmo Smith found Rangers guilty of a “deliberate” breaking of the, then, SPL, and SFA rules through failing to disclose to these bodies all payments made to players. A fine of £250,000 was imposed. Yet, Lord Nimmo danced on the head of a pin to avoid stating that Rangers had cheated between 2001 and 2010, even though that would be the “common sense” understanding of deliberately breaking the rules.



    Rangers wriggled off the hook over the side-
letters potentially leading to improper player registrations, which could have caused results obtained with these players to be wiped.



    In the first instance, they did so because it emerged that the SFA, possibly in order to protect itself from any delayed litigation, would not essentially “back date” voiding of players’ registrations.



    Looking at this issue of legitimacy in a broader sense, Nimmo Smith is again made to look rather unconvincing. Rangers’ title wins during their EBT years did not come into question, he said in 2013, because the club gained no sporting advantage from failing to disclose the payments and accompanying side letters as, in the main, these did not contravene tax law.



    Now, it has transpired that they did. The only conclusion to be drawn is that Rangers gained a considerable sporting advantage by withholding monies due to the Revenue on a widespread, systematic basis.



    By using EBTs they were able to recruit and retain players they would have otherwise been unable to afford.



    There is likely to be little appetite for putting right the wrongs of a morally dubious scheme that sought to spare rich individuals from meeting their tax obligations. However, there should be.



    At the very least, the titles Rangers won in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2010 should be declared void. These honours were won in the most dishonourable fashion.And, almost as if yesterday was considered a bad day to bury bad news, the current Rangers announced losses of £7.5m for the year to June


    thermals check. ticket ch train ticket york to embra ch toothbrush ch,jura malt ch yeah ch,£400 sov to buy BGX breakie on friday double ch,OK BHOYS N ‘ GHIRLS might just bump into yoos all at PARADISE ce soir.




  4. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Yesterday was great fun on the blog but in the cold light of day the big question is “what happens next?”.


    It would be good to see progress on taxes being claimed from EBT beneficiaries, knighthoods rescinded and stolen titles stripped – not sure how we advance those objectives?



    One comment I would make though is that if anyone thinks yesterday was a result of choreography then I think they are sadly mistaken.


    If this is Hun orchestration then Eric Morecambe must be playing the piano.




  5. Morning all.



    Drab and dull down here. Seems permanent just now. Reflects my feelings, as I can’t make it to Parkhead this evening.



    I gather the SMSM, by and large, are trying to put the deid team’s troubles behind it. Hope the First Minister makes an intervention, given how quickly her predecessor did when there was trouble at a match. This is a great deal worse. The people of this country have been defrauded on a massive scale of monies that should have been used for the good of all; not to line the pockets of a few rich folk.



    Who can institute proceedings at the Court of Arbitration in sport?

  6. Marrakesh Express on

    We all know how the msm, sfa and government want this to pan out. Scotland’s shame is Scotland itself, not just the dead or alive establishment clubs.


    As the Clumpany said, only the will of the cheated wee clubs will push this on and win justice. Otherwise, mob rule will prevail, and the game here is finished .

  7. 3.5 hours till I jet in to Glasgow. Can’t wait. Hotel room has no window, wonder if that will be weird.


    Does early kick off mean I will have an early night or more beer?

  8. Sevco, The SFA & SPFL have to make a choice.



    They are either the same club with it’s history intact (minus the cheating years) that now owes Hector £46 + mill.






    They are a New club with just 2 lower league titles to their name but with no massive tax liability.



    Surely “common sense” must tell them they can’t pick & choose?

  9. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    And so the big DAMAGE LIMITATION exercise begins …. They’re all pathetic sharletons…… But truth and justice has prevailed …. And there’s much more to come ….



    Can’t wait for the game tonight…

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Celtic supporters provide a ray of sunshine to today`s hurting huns by turning on their own club and blaming them for …………


    who the hell knows what.



    But any made up,fabricated ,illogical,pretend,delusional,mythical excuse will do.



    Hail Hail to those of us who wish Celtic success.


    Tonight and for the future.

  11. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    We need to keep the ole good feeling goin’- a win tonight, by 3 clear goals [ to improve the oie head-to-head in what will be a tight group], and three points on Sunday in a tough trip to the wall of Ding.



    They’ll be puttin’ out the ole plastic cutlery in Pacific Quay.

  12. Ladies & Gents,



    Looking for a bit of info.



    The link given on here for the book Celtic- the early years 1887 to 1892 brings us to Amazon.



    There are 5 sellers with differing prices.



    Does CQN receive money from the sale regardless of seller or is it only sales from The seller Celtic Quick News that generates income for the blog ?



    Apologies for being thick. I blame the wife for asking stupid questions I cannot answer, however the Amazon account is hers.




  13. DBBIA



    Could be wrong but I think 2-0 puts us ahead on the head to head with Molde on account of the ole away goals.

  14. Looking at Rangers statement yesterday, they say that the tax judgement doesn’t affect their history. This is only true if the history runs from 2012, so maybe in that they are correct, albeit being economical with the truth. You can’t say the old club was nothing to do with us, except the bits you want.



    In the longer term, this gives the HMRC the all clear to pursue bigger fish in England. If say Chelsea were found to have run an EBT scheme, then it may be that the Premier League would be obliged to strip them of their titles won under the scheme. If the SFA has not taken any action over the Rangers titles, they are going to look very foolish indeed (Juventus were stripped of two titles – they are threatening to sue for damage to reputation in an attempt to get them back – an option Rangers cannot pursue, as they have stated that they the Big Tax Case had nothing to do with them). If the SFA do any forward planning, they would at least be aware of this…Ah, now I see the flaw in my argument.

  15. Before yesterday I was more or less reconciled to the Tax Case being fudged into eternity. It didn’t actually bother me too much – in my own head I knew they’d cheated and I suspected most of them knew that too.



    But the baldness of yesterday’s verdict – its unadorned, anglo-saxon simplicity – brought back feelings of outrage from a few years ago. All those games I went to, all that money spent, hopes invested in my team…. All the great people have have passed in the interim… all cheated.



    It was, and remains, absolutely outrageous. The biggest sporting scandal in UK history and easily on a par with the crimes of Juventus and Milan in Italy.



    Attempts to sweep it under the carpet, with the incredible phrase “there’s no appetite to do anything now” – merely confound the monumental fraud perpetrated on every single non-RFC supporter in Scotland.



    The question now is: how do we get the football world to recognise what the courts have said? How do we get the SFA and UEFA to acknowledge the scale of cheating, and its consequences?

  16. Greenpinata



    You have to buy from the Celtic Quick News page on Amazon – if you opt for any other option you will pay a bit less but as they don’t have the book you’ll wait a few weeks then will be given a refund. These co’s use the barcode to trall for buyers – if they get enough they try to buy from wholesale. When they do that we tell them to beat it.,


    Also buying from CQN helps CQN!

  17. Andrew Kerins Green and White Army on

    HT you are 110% korrrect




    Me, not you


    Enjoy the game with your daughter

  18. I think I remember Sir Minty saying something along the lines of Rangers not being able to afford players without the use of EBT’s. This may have been at a tribunal, a hearing , an interview or perhaps my memory is playing tricks.



    Does anyone else remember this & if so can you put your hands in the details!?



    As this goes to the heart of the matter.

  19. Willie Miller,ex Aberdeen legend,says the titles should be stripped.


    Martin O Neil,says the titles dont matter now.Who do the Times quote ?

  20. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    H/Tim- two nil will dae me then,



    Griffalo, Ambrose.



    Is Jozo crook again?



    That bhoy makes Shaun Maloney look like Sean Fallon.

  21. Turkeybhoy,



    My reading of MON’s comments is that he is saying stripping the titles now won’t make him feel any better. Fair enough, those moments of despair we all felt at the time can never be expunged.



    But he isn’t actually saying it shouldn’t happen.



    Interesting about Willie Miller, a well-kent face in the BBC Scotland studios. Hope he has the courage of his convictions and continues to argue the case, and that his views reflect the views of the AFC hierarchy.



    After us, they were probably the club most damaged by the whole Murray era.

  22. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Rangers and their uppity son, Sevco, were and are very fond of the word `dignity` when talking of themselves.






  23. Coneybhoy I’m arriving at Glasgow airport about the same time as you, like you on a mission!! As for early night or more beer, that’s a no brainer!! H H Hebcelt

  24. Goooooood Morning CQN


    Well actually it’s Great, nearly Celtic time :-)



    Celtic Celtic that’s the team for me


    Celtic Celtic onto to Victoree



    Oh a new line



    Celtic Celtic, we play the game Honestleee



    Right a wee short shift then Celtic park here we come

  25. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    I received a number of e-mails yesterday — RTC site back up and running.



    More later.

  26. winning captains on 5th November 2015 9:01 am



    when’s the follow up to Ceasar and the Assassin out?

  27. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on




    Re your enquiry re the Invisibles.



    There are collection points for old jackets and other provisions.



    I will get you the details and get back to you.

  28. During the orgy of spending during the “EBT years”, we were branded the “biscuit-tin” club, by the bears and their Laptop (Typewriter) Loyals (Timbashers).



    Unfortunately some our support, mostly the ‘Trust-type” and their predecessors, have also chosen to use the derogatory term, and still do, with their boring attacks on Peter Lawwell and the board.



    We hold out head high, live up to our responsibilities, pay out way and live within our means. Our current “Crisis” (how the hell can anyone in the SMSM use that term about Celtic, when we the long-running and still-unfolding farce at Ibrox) on the playing field is down to the football management being unable to deliver the requisite “bang for our buck”



    We are either paying out current squad way over the odds, or, we have the wrong players, and by definition, the wrong management team.



    We MUST win to tonight, however, how on earth can we have any REAL confidence – HOPE is our only commodity these days in Europe.

  29. Hebcelt,



    Have a great night, I think you are right on my ‘pretend dilemma’!



    I always find it weird on EL nights when most city pubs close around 11. Usually hit babbitys for one and then hotel. Might get a few in Gallowgate celebrating a good win

  30. Gary67



    It’s on its way! It is called The Winds of Change and it has to be read while recalling what happened yesterday.



    While editing the book I surprised myself and how great our highs and also listing the players they bought at the time. Their recklessness and stop at nothing to beat Celtic approach is stunning. There are players they signed for big money that you will have long forgotten.



    Black Sunday was horrible to work on. More so when you look at their team that day. The Winds of Change will be out in two weeks from today, all going well.

  31. On days like yesterday I like to have a wee dip in to Rangers Media to gauge the reaction (whereas I used to visit relatively frequently). The (very)few more reasonable commenters are being quite quiet and that used to be a sign that they knew how bad things were/are.



    I expect some undisclosed offers that can’t be refused top players in January. At the very least.

  32. .



    Just found out about the Big Tax Case Result Re; EBT..






    I Hope Celtic FC Take this all the Way to Right the Wrongs done during that Time..



    also Hope Common (Not Kris) sense Prevails and the First Letter sent to SFA/FI is Regarding Rangers fielding a Illegal Goalkeeper in the April 2011 Old Firm Derby when EBT Receiver Allan MacGregor Illegally Saved a Penalty from Georgious Samaras..



    Once the Result is Overturned under Strict FIFA Rules Celtic would be Awarded a 0-3 Victory meaning The Greek Striker would become the First Celtic Striker to Score a Hat-Trick in a Old Firm Derby since Dixie Deans..



    Summa of Resolution9CSC

  33. rangers cheated and whether or not they gained an advantage is not a consideration. it is a red herring.


    when you cheat in sports you get disqualified.


    no individual or team have ever been asked if they gained an advantage.


    i am sure that lance armstrong could have bunged a corrupt doctor to stand up in court and claim that the drugs he took did’t help his performance. he could in fact claim that the drugs hindered his performance and that he could have won more titles if he had not taken drugs.


    this opens a can of worms and that is why disqualification is automatic when sporting rules are broken.



    martin won 5 in a row.


    gordon won 4 in a row.


    neil won 5 in a row.


    ronny has won 1.



    soon to be 16 in a row.

  34. IMATIM on 5TH NOVEMBER 2015 3:24 AM


    The sooner EBTGATE is taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport the better.







    It has to be remembered that Rangers cheated not only in Scotland but in Europe also.







    Why waste time with the SFA and their ilk who will only hide behind LNS.



    Totally agree,the protection racket will continue,with the usual suspects in charge.HH