Dave King – A Tax Rebel Without Cause

When it comes to fiction, no one does it better than Dave King. The following statements were given to The Herald :

“My settlement with the authorities in South Africa provides me with a unique status of credibility.

I don’t know anyone else on the planet who has the level of clearance that I now have in terms of court-approved rulings.

I have made all my ­disclosures to AIM and they can have no basis for anything other than unequivocal support.”

As to his ‘unique status of credibility please allow me to demur. Not paying any tax whatsoever on the activities of a company where he profited by audacious share manipulation does not in any way bestow credibility. Declaring your annual income as less than £5,000 when you are picking up £82,000 per month from your British Virgin Islands/Guernsey tax havens somewhat flies in the face of any credibility. Attempting to pass yourself as a poorly paid caddie to Gary Player at The Masters, was certainly unique but scarcely credible. However, even when you think Mr King could not be more audacious, he attempts to be removed as a taxpayer from The South African Revenue Service register.

As for his ‘settlement‘  was Mr King referring to his £43.7m as payment for tax evasion, his £550,000 contribution to Criminal Assets Recovery Association or his £206,172 in fines? Was it remiss of Mr King not to mention that he was convicted of 41 criminal offences, each of which carried a consecutive sentence of two years imprisonment, to a total of 82 years.

Allow me pause when reflecting on his ‘court-approved rulings.’ Was Mr King referring, in an oblique way, to the following ruling  by Judge Brian Southwood and two assessors (both Crown Court Judges) handed down in the North Gauteng High Court in October 2010? Justice Southwood stated:

“The court has seen King testify for four days and are unanimous in finding that he is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by documents and other objective evidence. It was remarkable that King showed no sign of embarrassment or any emotion when he conceded that he had lied to the (SARS) commissioner in a number of his income tax returns. In our assessment, he is a glib and shameless liar.

When three Crown Court judges come to the conclusion that Mr King is a glib and shameless liar, nothing could be further from the implied endorsement in Mr King’s statement.

Finally let’s look at Mr King’s spurious claim in regard to the unequivocal support of AIM. Forgive me for pointing out the obvious Mr King but no NOMAD was prepared to represent you in any way and W.H. Ireland resigned when they became convinced that your underfunded hostile takeover would succeed. They chose not to in any way support your last ditch attempt to transfer the listing to ISDX via your JP Jenkins matched bargain service. AIM subsequently de-listed RIFC.plc.

In what parallel universe is this unequivocal support? Any rational individual might conclude that 41 criminal convictions might well be a barrier to entry on any exchange.

But no-one could ever accuse Mr King of being rational. Spending £50m on legal fees is not rational. When we include the £20m in Murray Sports and £44,45m in taxes and fines, we can conclude that only £5.55m was left from his £120m equity malfeasance at Specialist Outsourcing. However even this amount had gone as The Scorpions, acting for SARS, sold everything at a ‘distressed asset’ price. Mr King was also forced to take out a £17m mortgage on his properties with First Rand Bank to pay off SARS and relinquish his last £6.8m in his HSBC Guernsey Trust.

Only someone as foolish as Mr King could consider losing everything other than his properties as a favourable result.

He had £120m. He now has £17m in mortgages on his properties. A £137m reverse in Mr King’s fortunes does not bode well for Rangers. Had it not been for the intervention of First Rand Bank, Mr King would have been bankrupt and homeless.

His dividends in MMG are all that is left.

If we turned a blind eye to his criminal convictions, as many have, surely questions remain in regard to his corporate malfeasance and blatant disregard for the tax authorities in the country where he chooses to live. A reverse of £137m is hardly the actions of an honest man with business acumen.

I cannot think of someone less suitable to be the Chairman of Rangers.


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