Dave King racked up another “favourable settlement” yesterday, this time with The Takeover Panel, Hearings Committee, which confirmed an earlier rejection of King’s request for a review of the Panel’s decision to grant additional time for him to make his offer for shares in Newco not already owned by his concert party.
The ruling, presented by Michael Crane QC, Chairman of the Hearings Committee, revealed that UK authorities served Contempt of Court papers on King in South Africa on 8 June, noting, “This seems to have prompted Mr King’s request of 11 June 2018 to have the Committee convened for a review”.
Although it was not stated by Mr Crane, I expect the Contempt proceedings were initiated in England, where the maximum sentence for criminal contempt is 2 years imprisonment.
Where’s the club statement? You may ask. The football club which likes a statement more than a European tie in Luxemburg, fell silent on this news. Not a peep. Instead, a club insider told the Daily Record, “Dave King is bewildered” and that “because Mr King is a South African resident, there are exchange laws which must be observed.”
That is opposed to the UK’s Companies’ laws, which, perhaps are merely advisory.
How do you get out of this situation? Well, you don’t get into it in the first place. King and his concert party paid scant regard to Takeover Panel rules. Appropriate legal advice was either not sought or disregarded.
There was not viable contingency plan in the event their email trails would reach the Takeover Panel and a subsequent enforcement made on King.
Exchange controls in South Africa are not new, nor is King a new resident to South African. But exchange controls are not necessarily the problem here, as Michael Crane QC revealed in his report:
“it was not until 23 April 2018, after chasing by the Executive, that he raised the problem of exchange control approval. Even then, he appears not to have instructed Investec to obtain the necessary approval with a view to giving cash confirmation”.
Suggesting King was not denied by exchange controls, he simply did not ask for permission to transfer money out of the country!
There are few people you can call a “glib and shameless liar” without fear of contradiction, but this title has accompanied Dave King since he was called such by a South African judge.
He said whatever was necessary to get control Ibrox three years ago. He promised redemption, an end to the pain, £50m overinvestment, if that’s what it took. The SFA looked the other way when his dozens of criminal convictions were not enough to prevent him being regarded as a ‘Fit and Proper” person.
This debacle is a consequence of allowing a fox into the hen house. He will not irreparably damage Scottish football, indeed, he has made the task at other clubs straightforward, but the damage to his own club is incalculable. It beggars belief they campaigned to chase one of Europe’s richest man out and bring this character in.
I hope he holds on until the bitter end.