Psychopathic denial of responsibility


This whole blogging business has been a bit dull since those heady days when David Murray’s bombast cast a shadow across the land.  When most of the population believed he was the smartest person in the country, when he went as far as to assure us that it was his duty to minimise tax liability!

This place has been all about the football for a while now, which is how I wanted it in the first place.  But here we are, Back to the Future, all because of a sloppy piece in The Times, who today used unattributed quotes to suggest that Rangers were victims of HMRC, without a shred of reality behind the claim.

Let’s deal with the simple facts first.  The highest court in the land ruled that money Rangers paid footballers and executives through an Employee Benefit Trust scheme was disguised remuneration.  They accepted HMRC’s claim that tax was due on this remuneration.

One aspect often lost in time, is that Rangers went into liquidation without ANY court in the land finding against their use of EBTs.  It was not the judgement that went against them, it was that they made no provision to trade through the period these claims would be examined.

The club and their investors were either unable or unwilling to put the £18m or so on the table that would have paid Lloyds Group overdraft.  This would have prevented the sale to Craig Whyte and the club could have continued to trade until (and perhaps beyond) the conclusion of the Tax Case.

What happened subsequently is just window dressing.  They went down for the want of £18m that was used to compete for the Scottish Premier League.

By the time the Supreme Court ruled against them, Rangers were in the hands of liquidators, BDO.  Administrators Duff and Phelps agreed to change their name so that the Intellectual Property could be sold to a Newco, along with other assets.

Several matters were not examined by the court, specifically, penalty clauses and whether payments made to players should be considered gross or net of tax.  HMRC did not pursue the liquidated company on either question, but – and you really need to suspend disbelief here for a moment, The Times today are under the impression that IF Rangers continued to trade, HMRC would simply walk away, that no penalty clause would be asked for!

Honestly, I have never read anything as purile.  When you fail to pay tax due and it is economically worth their while, HMRC always ask for interest and penalty clauses.  Always.  Even from the Mighty Rangers!

Why, though, is someone peddling this line now?  Why blame HMRC when the facts are so patently clear and readily available?  When I asked someone who has experience of these matters, I was told, “This is a psychopathic denial of responsibility.  Part of a parasitic lifestyle”.  When you look at it like that, the whole thing makes sense.

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  1. Why now?



    Either something is in the offing or the Scottish media is at such a low ebb that this non story is genuinely regarded as newsworthy.

  2. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    RTC is back – hooray !!!!!



    He’s what led me on to CQN years ago.






  3. ulysses mcghee - a demographic of one on

    From last blog




    ulysses mcghee – a demographic of one on 14th November 2019 12:18 pm






    My thoughts exactly – but I’d add that this is a concerted effort to loosen fans’ purse strings one more time. Moral outrage – writ large in neon.




    They’re circling the wagons big time. Everyone can see they’ve went ‘all in’ – there’s barbarians at the gates waving IOUs… But they just need a few months. Debt to share dilution. The ‘Let’s Go!’ vibe is extant. They’re in the chase. They’re in a final. These are all tangible feel goods.




    They just have to stop folk looking under the bonnet for a few months. Just a few months.




    What narrative would facilitate that?




    What about… Ermmmmm…




    What about – We didn’t DUPE! We were DUPED! By a faceless, nefarious, agenda driven government body, hellbent on destroying a quintessential British institution. By the way!




    The lead up to both derbies will see new levels of Squirrel placement. A new King shall sit on the ‘victim’ throne – A narrative that re-writes all the previous dirty laundry the could never offload, and curiously will have the press pushing for our titles to get asterisked.




    Mark Guidi my words




    Tick Tock




  4. P67



    Managed to hear the ahem….gossip columnist (GC) this morning on RS.To paraphrase the host said something like…when the club were liquidated….and the GC quickly jumped in and said…..the club werent liquidated.




    Told me all I needed to know about the clown & the content.

  5. ADI_DASSLER on 14TH NOVEMBER 2019 1:19 PM





    Managed to hear the ahem….gossip columnist (GC) this morning on RS.To paraphrase the host said something like…when the club were liquidated….and the GC quickly jumped in and said…..the club werent liquidated.


    Told me all I needed to know about the clown & the content.




    I heard that also and totally agree with you.

  6. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Talking to myself again on the old thread…..




    Ma big sister had an etch-a-sketch ah used to play with. Quickly tired of it, got sick of drawing square things.



  7. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    From previous article re Sentinel Celts and Big Jimmy and his comments I think he will find that all are welcomed so no problema mi amigo join in and you can have another opportunity for opprobrium to those you don’t agree with( or should that be with whom you disagree).


    Fill your wellies!

  8. the long wait is over on

    My tuppence worth:-



    1 At that time they couldn’t or at least didn’t pay their monthly employees Tax and NI as they fell due – the Wee Tax case IIRC – so where was the £20m , even if that was the correct figure, coming from?


    2. You might have thought that whoever was advising them on their EBT dispute with HMRC might have asked for a breakdown of the figure and noticed that the figures were out by over 70% – hardly a trifling detail that one could overlook.




    Ps – I very rarely post now because I find CQN – much as I still lurk regularly – almost impossible to read let alone post on , either on PC or mobile devices, because I’m swamped with Ads and the site freezing/ not responding.


    I know the answer often given is to switch off Java but there are many other sites I visit which require Java to load and function properly. Just an observation.





    Thanks mate…but NO Thanks.


    I already stopped Posting on CQN a while ago due to the Crap and I didnt wish to be seen as “Guilty by Association”, when some Chump(s) were on here on a daily basis.


    Likewise, ( To quote yet another CHUMP)…. as posted the other Day…” I would rather be Dead in a Ditch”, then subecct myself to even more Crap on SC…and its “Gang Members”…SC is welcome to THEMs.


    Please also NOTE….It was NOT Me who called THEMs on SC “Gang Members”…it was their Number 1 CHUMP “Leader Aff” who did that…and it would appear that some embrace that “Tag” on SC….as obviously SC also do !


    Cheers and HH.



  10. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Very enjoyable leader Pablo.



    Great morning. Long lie then sat in sun drenched room reading up on, among other things, this latest nonsense.



    An interesting cameo has been the reaction of a youngish journalist whom I used to have SOME respect for.



    He currently works for the Times.



    Small part of me thought he MIGHT play it cute and aloof.



    How wrong was I ?



    As an aside, the Herald’s death spiral picked up some speed this week.



    Hail hail

  11. David Murray is a huge egoist and after acquiring Rangers was treated as a star and was used to people breaking rules or bending them to suit him



    The real question was why was he allowed to borrow money amounting to £1 Billion without security and bust the bank



    What role did Freemasonary play in this charade?

  12. Bada Bing – couldn’t agree more – seriously deluded….form Ibrox Noise…



    “Why would Alfredo want to move to an English team that would almost certainly end up in the middle of the English premier League?



    He would not be able to strut his stuff in the Champions League, or in Europa.



    But what happens if we do suddenly get a serious offer for Alfredo from a team that Alfredo could not say no to. How much is he really worth.



    Because we are looking at the English top six, then we have to look at 80 to 120 million pounds sterling range



    If they want a proven goal-scorer, someone who has proven they can already score against the top teams in the world, then they need to start dishing out their humungous cup winnings to us”



    ‘Us’ of course being the peepil.

  13. BIG JIMMY on 14TH NOVEMBER 2019 10:51 AM



    I was very pleased with myself the other day as I completed a Jigsaw in One Day…despite it stating 3 to 4 years on the Lid.






    Excellent Big Jimmy, thats the type of post I like to se on here, as long as Celtic are winning!

  14. I hear it was PL who triggered the RTC news/rumour/tit-bits…..



    Dessy bhoy.’Yo dude, Dessy bhoy here , whit’s yer plan tae get the chattering classes to stop their interminable chuntering about Res 12?”



    Pete the dude .’Hey Dessy bhoy, got a wheeze to tickle the ‘fair affronted’s’ indignation wae a story about how the good auld gers were diddled by HMRC of billions”.



    Dessy bhoy. ‘Sounds spot on Petey …..just make sure you’ve passed it by you know who…wouldnae want to upset our pals would we….



    Pete the dude Dessy Dessy Dessy…..it wis their effin idea!!!….and let’s be honest (ish), doing each other a favour has worked well for over a hundred years ….anyway hope to see you at the AGM. ……Oh of COURSE (ha ha ha) ….that gowf tournament really does need to be yer priority…say hello …hello (ha ha ha) to Kingy fur me.”



    Could be shite mind ye…..but cabbies are usually spot on?



    Hail Hail




  15. Big Jimmy/Philbhoy



    Billy McPhail (hatrick against the Huns) was known as Glasgow’s Mr Teazy Weazie as he had a hairdressing salon. Don’t know about restaurant


    Billy Price was a decent Left Half and a lovely left foot. Really liked him but a wee bit on the heavy side.enjoyed watching him.

  16. Paul67 et al



    Glad you gave a mention to Knight of the Realm, David Murray, who also goes by the title of;


    ‘The Charlatan of Charlotte Square’ in Scotland. No re-examination of the decline and fall of RFC should happen without a full inquiry into the relationship(s) between the Bank of Scotland/MIH and Rangers FC as was, and the administration of HSB and MIH by Lloyds Bank To this day there has no full examination of such by either the FSA or the FCA. Nor is there likely to be.


    Any reduction in penalties (re both tax cases) has already been addressed by the HMRC Penalty Review Consistency Panel, and my reading of this process is that the penalty element (£26 mill in total) was withdrawn reducing HMRC’s initial claim following liquidation from £94m to the marginally less eye watering £68m. As regards actual unpaid taxes, EBT etc well the Supreme Court upheld the HMRC’s position so no room for manouevre there, not on the law at least.


    With the Bank of Scotland heading for the rocks and MIH clinging to the wreckage there was never any possibility of Rangers FC survivng it’s overall indebtedness before or after Murray jumped ship.

  17. There’s going to be a show! Celtic The Musical back bigger than ever



    By: Newsroom Staff on 14 Nov, 2019 14:59






    WHILE the Bhoys shine on the European stage, Celtic The Musical is getting ready to shine on its own biggest stage yet, as they bring the much loved show to Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo next year.



    Tickets go on sale at 10am tomorrow (Friday), and could be the perfect Christmas gift for that special Celtic fan in your life!



    After two sell-out runs in Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre, and the show’s popularity growing in success year on year, the Quinn family are back to relive the magical tale of Celtic Football Club. It’s set to be bigger and better than ever, with the iconic Armadillo taking the show to dizzying new heights.



    With a bigger stage, bigger audiences and bigger laughs, make sure you get your ticket for the hottest show in town! 



    Celtic The Musical will take up residence in Glasgow’s iconic SEC Armadillo:



    7:30pm shows – Sunday, September 20 until Wednesday, September 30



    2pm matinee shows – Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27



    Tickets are priced from £20 plus booking fee and go on sale at 10am tomorrow (Friday, November 15).

  18. the long wait is over on

    Jungle VIP 2:47



    A classic – still makes me laugh.



    And done by an Aberdeen fan IIRC.


    Good Afternoon.



    Jings there is a lot of angst and hubris about very little today.



    Paul’s article sets out the position of where the RFC plc (in liquidation) tax bill is to an extent, and there was an earlier piece by RTC on his blog which is excellent.



    However, to an extent, both omit some plain common sense which might need an outing.



    So, let me explain something as clearly as I can.



    Within most successful businesses there will lurk someone who might best be described as a Gatekeeper.



    This might be a lawyer, or an accountant, or a professional manager of some kind or it might even be a team of such people, but it is the gatekeeper’s job to oversee, or set up a system which oversees, the workings of a business and to search for both risk and opportunity which might affect the business.



    The gatekeeper tries to cover everyone’s back, look into the future for what might go wrong and to have an idea about what might go right and lead to a new opportunity.



    The gatekeeper assesses risk, looks for escape plans in times of trouble and generally instructs the lawyers and accountants etc re negotiations and settlements with creditors, debtors, banks and the revenue.



    They try to spot trouble before it occurs and find potential solutions to problems that might just arise but hopefully won’t.



    So what has all this to do with the article in the Times that says there was an HMRC blunder which led to a tax bill which was far too high.



    Well, for one, where the revenue gets something dramatically wrong, the average gatekeeper will exploit that when there is a liability that is due and has to be paid. He or she will go to the revenue and face them down with an argument that what they are looking for is too much, that the pressure they are wrongly applying leaves them open to being sued, and that their incorrect actions are likely to result in them getting nothing.



    Then the gatekeeper will try and strike a deal whereby whatever is eventually agreed as being owed will be paid over 4 years, 5 years, 10 years or whatever.



    Some on here might recall an article I wrote for the very first CQN Magazine where I had a chat with a former gatekeeper for Manchester United and who had been trying to negotiate with the revenue for Portsmouth FC in relation to an HMRC debt due because of that club’s use of EBT’s.



    He was told back then that HMRC were targeting football and that they would take down a major club if the industry did not fall into line re EBT payments.



    Most others eventually negotiated with the Revenue, settled their debt and carried on.



    So, against that background let’s dispel some of the myths that arose this morning.



    Rangers at no time accepted that they were doing anything illegal and denied categorically that they were paying players by way of side letters and trusts or were involved in a tax avoidance scheme.



    They didn’t seek to negotiate or challenge interest or penalties because they simply said “we are not involved in any illegal scheme and so there is no point in even talking about interest and penalties”.



    They went all in – winner take – or lose – all.



    In Fact they had signed up to two aggressive tax avoidance schemes and in the normal course of business before signing up the gatekeeper will ask -“what if the revenue don’t like this and it all goes wrong and we lose?”



    The answer to that question is that your accountants will tell you that you will be hammered for tax interest and penalties and at that stage the gatekeeper possibly should recommend walking away from the scheme.



    Anyone signing up to such schemes are warned of the risks at the start – especially by reputable tax accountants — although as I recall RFC’ s tax adviser was a porn star but that is a mere aside!



    Either they were never given gatekeeper advice or they ignored, and so RFC/Murray accepted the risk and they will have known that discovery and declared illegality would result in HMRC looking to impose the greatest penalties and apply the toughest interest.



    So having ignored the risk and having joined the scheme in order to attract and pay players they otherwise could not afford, RFC proceeded with a series of side letters which they later denied the existence of — to the City of London Police, to HMRC and to the footballing authorities in Scotland.



    They later admitted lying and attempting to deceive these authorities when they gave evidence at the FTT.



    Prior to that, HMRC formally accused RFC of fraudulent and reckless conduct designed to mislead HMRC as to the sums due by way of PAYE and the accusation ran from 1999 to the date of the letter which was MAY 2011.



    This was in relation to the wee tax case – which I would remind you was never disputed, never challenged, and never paid. Rangers’ own legal advice was that they were liable and had to pay the revenue.



    By early 2011 they sought permission from the bank to pay that debt — around £3.5 Million — but the bank would not allow them to and eventually RFC plc went into Administration unable to pay a tax debt of less than £4Million let alone £30 Million, £40 Million £60 million or anything like it.



    The reason for this was that irrespective of the tax debt ( as that never featured in their profit and loss accounts) the club had been making continuous and serial losses for years and years.



    The owner, Sir David Murray, had ramped up his own borrowings to the tune of £1Billion and was in no shape to bail out his flagship loss making business.



    Like the club, he too was skint.



    However, let’s go back to the gatekeeper.



    If you are trying to sell a loss making business and have a great big financial cloud like a tax bill hanging over you, then the gatekeeper can come to the rescue.



    He or she can negotiate a potential settlement with the revenue, quantify that cost, and then you can go to the market saying “here are our accounts, this is what we make or loose, and the finite deal with our bankers and creditors is £x and you can pay that over four years, five years or whatever”



    Loads of businesses with revenue debts arising from Tax claims survive because they accept the liability, negotiate a payment plan and carry on making their profits.



    Even new owners come in with money and then can try and improve upon the settlement agreed because the revenue will listen and will negotiate.



    They are practical people.



    But that never happened because RFC never admitted that they did anything wrong because to do otherwise would have meant admitting that they had deceived the football authorities and their sanctions may well have damaged the brand that they sold to their customers — which in turn might make the whole club even more incapable of sale and lead to the historic reappraisal of the business in footballing and business terms.



    It is for the gatekeeper to ask “what if this domino here falls – what are the consequences — what other dominoes fall and where does that leave us?”



    If you read all of the above carefully you will see a potential line of dominoes and how they might play out and what the risk might be?



    And so RFC could never have agreed a settlement unless they had a huge amount of money to pay that settlement or they had a set of trading accounts which showed profits which gave the revenue comfort that they would pay £x over say 5 years.



    Or accounts which showed a profit sufficient to allow a buyer to budget for HMRC payments (large or small) over a number of years.



    With no profits to show, that was impossible.



    So, they didn’t negotiate the headline debt, they didn’t negotiate the level of interest charged nor the penalties applied and were stuck with the full bhoona figure.



    Going all in as I have said above — but with worse than a dead man’s hand.



    Now let’s then take the nonsense I heard this morning on the Radio that they won the case at the FTT and that questions should now be asked of HMRC.



    What a lot of tripe.



    Cast your mind back to the FTT which was presided over by Mr Ken Muir QC who is sadly now deceased but who was someone I knew pretty well as I employed him as a QC on a regular basis for many years.



    That Fist Tribunal considered and turned on only one thing and that was whether the trusts RFC/Murray had set up to receive payments was a sham. It did not stop and consider levels of penalty, interest or whatever as that was to be considered only after the legal basis of the case had been ruled upon.



    In the course of the hearing HMRC said that within the walls of the court or tribunal it was not necessary for them to prove these trusts were a sham and indeed invited the tribunal to find they were not sham.



    On that basis the tribunal ruled that there was no tax due as the trusts were to be treated as real within the tight confines of the law but HMRC appealed.



    There was a scathing dissenting judgement by Dr Heidi Poon which is accessible on line and I invite you to go find it for some much needed analysis of what had been going on in terms of the management of RFC – it is enlightening and I hope the people at the Times go and read it.



    Ultimately the Supreme Court ruled in favour of HMRC on appeal.



    But at no time did anyone enquire about the levels of the actual debt (net or gross) or the interest and penalties to be applied.



    That was all to come later and may have been settled by negotiation if Rangers had survived – which they didn’t.



    Negotiations on these things are absolutely standard and every day practice for a gatekeeper and their team but that never happened because RFC had already gone bust for other reasons and they didn’t have the ability to pay £3.5 Million which would have been a small fraction of any ultimate big tax case figure no matter what .



    In the interim, as Paul says, HBOS was all set to pull the plug and appoint Duff and Phelps themselves unless they got their money back there and then — irrespective of any tax case no matter how big or how small.



    So a solution was found whereby Craig Whyte was drummed up, backed by a finance package which many believe was devised, concocted and instigated within the Murray business itself — but that did not involve in any way addressing the sums due under the big tax case or making any attempt to pay it or negotiate it downwards – whether that be headline figure, interest or penalties.



    Murray had tried to find a buyer for years but couldn’t because everyone with an iota of a brain knew that he had run the business into the ground and it was riddled with debt, claims and consistent losses that could not be turned around.



    All that has happened in the last few months was that HMRC, who were always going to be the biggest creditor by far, simply advised BDO that they would not spend any more of the tax payers money on insisting on the highest level of penalty, the largest calculation of interest, and most crucially they were not prepared to contend if the debts were net or gross as there was no extra money to get either way.



    To do otherwise would have been a complete waste of time.



    Had BDO been sitting on a trading company or £200 Million of assets or with a buyer in the wings then there would have been a negotiation as per normal and an ultimate figure would have been agreed or litigated upon at another Tribunal.



    As I have said – the revenue are practical people and would have sat down to talk.



    So, no great mystery and no great cock up by HMRC as the Times kind of hints at.



    The failure of the club was purely down to the management of the directors and principal shareholder who played fast and loose with the bank’s money, shareholder’s money and his own assets for as long as he could before being rumbled by Lloyds — who are no shrinking violets by any means.



    Total negligence on the part of RFC directors was the sole cause of that company’s failure — and of course some of them are still at Ibrox.



    But, I have to say that if they, and others, genuinely believe that HMRC wrongly brought the club down then they and we, as football supporters and shareholders should be outraged if that actually happened- and steps should be taken to ensure such a thing never happens again.



    On previous occasions both Celtic and the SPFL have called for a full inquiry into everything that happened during the EBT years and if those at Ibrox, and those who support Rangers of any kind, are aggrieved and want answers from HMRC today, then they should be calling for that inquiry to start now.



    Celtic and the SPFL and all the other clubs should be demanding such an inquiry as a result of the excellent journalism in the Times.



    However, there is one more thing and one more question to be asked, especially by those who claim that the actions of HMRC prevented the sale of the once mighty Rangers.



    The current Rangers has no tax bill outstanding that I know of. It is not burdened by a threatened tax case or the calling up of a bank loan. It does not have a list of outstanding creditors as long as your arm.



    So it is miles better off than the old Rangers in financial and business terms isn’t it?



    It does have the same massive losses year on year though but is sitting second in the league and enjoying European football with some success.



    So —– presumably there is a queue of people somewhere lining up to buy it, or its assets, for many millions of pounds?



    Yes? No?



    I won’t hold my breath for an answer and will just go back to the day job.



    By the way — i earn my living as a ……… Gatekeeper.




  20. Silver City 1888 on

    Some people are saying they can’t wait for Super Scoreboard tonight. I’ll give it a miss but I am wondering how expert the presenters will be in financial matters when Rangers are the “wronged” party. They claimed ignorance when it was the other way round.

  21. SILVER CITY 1888 on 14TH NOVEMBER 2019 4:16 PM


    Some people are saying they can’t wait for Super Scoreboard tonight. I’ll give it a miss but I am wondering how expert the presenters will be in financial matters when Rangers are the “wronged” party. They claimed ignorance when it was the other way round.






    It will probably be funny just to hear the zombie callers



    “We should sue all the other SPFL clubs”



    “HMRC should pay Rangers the £50 million they owe Rangers!”



    Things I’ve seen on twitter today…

  22. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    BRTH – brilliant stuff.



    BTW, if you are the gatekeeper who is the key master? 😛



    Nice future positioning job by the Times.



    With the Scotsman terminal and the Herald’s death spiral speeding up, what better way to get a foothold up in Jockville?



    You know, sweep up some of the few thousand Sevco leaning types with IQs above 70.



    Can’t fault the tactic.



    Shame about the journalism but, hey ho, money talks.



    Hail hail

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