Popular narrative would have you believe that Craig Whyte funded his period in charge of Rangers by using monies due to the tax authorities and other creditors as working capital, while securitising future season ticket sales to pay off bank debt and, perhaps, providing a small boost to working capital. This version of events now has to be revised.
As we know, Jerome Group plc Pension Fund, a company connected to Craig Whyte, made a claim for £2.95m on the £3.6m seized by the court from Colliyer Bristow’s client account last week. The money is currently held in the client account of Duff and Phelps solicitors pending a court decision on who is entitled to it, and is also subject to claims from HM Revenue and Customs and another company associated with Whyte, Merchant Turnaround.
Today, Worthington Group plc, who are investors in Jerome Group plc Pension Fund, issued a statement to the stock exchange confirming that they provided investment funds to Collyer Bristow’s client account “when considering the possibility of making a fully secured loan”.
It’s now clear that companies associated with Whyte had deposited some millions with a view to being loaned to Rangers, that such a loan would be secured and that Duff and Phelps claim this money to be Rangers’.
Worthington goes on to confirm Whyte owns 7.54% of their share capital through another of his companies and is not involved in the management of the business. They also confirm that Jerome Group “acted at all times in accordance with very detailed legal advice”.
This demonstrates that notions the security over Ibrox and other properties held by companies associated with Whyte can be easily dismissed are fantastic. This has all the hallmarks of a lengthy and expensive legal battle over Ibrox with several motivated protagonists.
The most interesting comment from Worthington Group today was that the Trustees of Jerome Group plc “now understand that the funds may have been the subject of an unauthorised release to the Club in breach of this undertaking prior to the Club entering Administration”.
Claims that an “unauthorised release to the Club” of £2.95m happened before it entered administration could have acute consequences for those who instructed the release and directors of the club at the time.
Never mind, all this is clear enough for Duff and Phelps to press ahead with a healthy sale of the club, even though the verdict of the First Tier Tribunal is yet to arrive and Ticketus ownership of future season tickets remains.
For a comprehensive rundown on how we got here, read Saturday’s article ‘Rangers, the biggest scandal in the History of Sport and the rest’, which includes gems like:
“Between 1997 and 2003 Rangers lost an eye watering £152.6 Million. Joe Lewis’ £40M was gobbled up in jig time, followed by £20M of Dave King’s tax efficient stash, plus a £32M investment by Murray’s business, £6M from smaller shareholders, and a further £15M of NTL’s investment in the hopeless Rangers Media venture. At its nadir in 2004, Rangers net debt was a staggering £83 Million, a monument to the ego of David Murray and his ‘dream’ for Rangers.”
Support Celtic-Hub’s drive to get the Thai Tims to Celtic Park by buying a tee shirt here.