Eleven Lords a Leaping

In the song recorded by Perry Como in 1953, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the lyric eleven lords a leaping is included in the chorus. In the current Rangers narrative  some rudimentary arithmetic can lead to six Lords in the appeal by Charles Green to the Inner House of The Court of Session and the appeal by BDO in the same court on 8th March. The ruling of the three Appeal court Lords have decided that the EBT were an illegal means of paying executives and players. Lord Philip Hope Brodie has deemed the same club argument as a philosophical construct in metaphysics with what’s become known as the Fraudco trial being presided over by Lord Bannantyne.

To those who despise Rangers, and Rangers in its reconstituted form, they might consider another Perry Como hit, It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as more apposite.However proceedings at Edinburgh High Court are not progressing as many who are opposed to the existence of any Rangers club had anticipated. A bauble seems to have dropped from their Xmas tree when The Daily Record released the following statement:

“This afternoon, the Crown released a statement saying they intend to bring a fresh indictment against Whitehouse, Clark and Green and that the charges against them may have been dismissed from the current indictment, but not dropped entirely.”

Due to some proceedings that I’m not at liberty to disclose, the Crown revised its position to one where it would be giving consideration to new indictments.

The preliminary hearings resume on April 29th and as things currently stand, should we prefer the Daily Record narrative to that of  STV ,who were actually present in court, who stated that Charles Green continued to be indicted on a number of charges, only Messrs Whyte, Withey & Grier would have more than a passing interest in proceedings.

How the Daily Record arrived at what can best be described as a lie is a matter that should be subject to debate. All charges against David Whitehouse and Mr Clark may have been deserted, but it does not follow that Mr Green’s  indictments, on the Sevco 5088/Sevco Scotland ‘Switcheroo’ and in gaining a pecuniary advantage via deception apropos the IPO and its prospectus, have been dropped.

The question as to whether Charles Green and Imran Ahmad paid a fair price for the assets they procured from Duff & Phelps for £5.5m, which were then transformed by some feat of inordinate business acumen to be worth north of £60m in the prospectus, might well be reverted to in April.

Mr Green’s appeal, if upheld, will have serious ramifications for Rangers. The Daily Record would prefer its readers to look forward to the day when Dave King’s money-laundered Rangers are confirmed as champions of the second tier of Scottish football and duly accord them all the fanfare one would expect if Mr Warburton’s team had just won The Europa Cup. The Daily Record don’t want court proceedings to rain on their copy parade. The four year journey will be commemorated for weeks on end, with the SPL champions reduced to a sideshow. The problem of appealing to a CDE demographic is that the editors will omit facts for a hyped fiction.

We can but hope that the preliminary hearings proceed to trial as soon as possible. By April 19, Rangers will almost certainly have been promoted. In the commensurate copy gold rush, it would be convenient if everyone engaged in a hog roast and hung out union jack bunting to mark the occasion. However the truth will emerge in court and the STV coverage will continue to be bastardised by The Daily Record.

A Leap Year Lap of Honour

On February 29 2012, the Scottish football landscape changed irrevocably. Sir David Murray’s former vanity project had been sold to a ‘fuyant’ and the consequences were inevitable. Duff & Phelps were running Rangers  and no exit from administration could be envisaged or realized. Rangers were careering towards liquidation. This journey ended on October 31st 2012 when Lord Hodge consigned the company that was the club to liquidation proceedings.

As we fast forward to February 29 2016, the events of 2012 seem to have been revised. Everyone in Scottish football governance and the media have all contracted some form of selective amnesia. Rangers Football Club PLC had done something that was to all intents and purposes unprecedented. Neil Doncaster, the Chief Executive of the SPFL, decided to draw on all his legal training to effectively ‘sist’  a UK plc from liquidation proceedings. He did not petition a Lord Ordinary to do so as one might expect. He just woke up one morning  and decided, in his capacity as Chief Executive of the SPFL, that the UK plc had exited liquidation and would continue with its corporate history intact. Despite the fact that this corporation had debts of £168.6m, with £72m of this sum being contested, Mr Doncaster had commissioned a former Lord Ordinary and that was good enough for him and Scottish football.

Mr Doncaster’s ‘sisted’ PLC decided to engage in a leap year journey through the lower tiers of Scottish professional football, to give something back to the game. It was effectively a leap year lap of honour. Onlookers, appalled at the level of debts, expected the UK plc to adopt an understated uniform  with a corporate sackcloth and ashes motif. However with the encouragement of the SPFL chief executive, they sported five stars on their business casual attire to signify that their corporate history began in 1899 and in the ensuing period they were businessmen of the year on 53 occasions, with one accolade shared with some entrepreneurs from Dumbarton.

However in an unexpected challenge to  Mr Doncaster’s indubitably refined legal mind, counsel for Mike Ashley and Charles Green have stepped forward to challenge his ‘leap’ of faith. A Lord Ordinary, Philip Hope Brodie, who is one of the Senators of the College of Justice, and a  Judge of Scotland’s Supreme Courts, took a dim view of  Mr Doncaster’s ‘football jurisprudence.‘ There was no ‘sisting‘ of a UK plc and he dismissed William Nimmo Smith’s ethereal entity, that was seized upon by Mr Doncaster as his rationale, as an exercise in metaphysics.

Ordinarily, when a Chief Executive officer misrepresents the product that he is selling to purveyors, he would be guilty of fraud. Mr Doncaster is selling games involving a new plc as those of an old plc. A new plc with no businessmen of the year awards since its inception in 2012, is being misrepresented to broadcasters as the same plc that had engaged in commercial activities from 1899 – 2012.

Will Neil Doncaster admit his mistake, dismiss the inordinately flawed findings of the so-called LNS commission and now embrace Lord Brodie’s considered position in a court of law? Will he decide to revisit his decision to award  TRFC plc the corporate history of RFC PLC?Allow me to make a bold prediction. He will do nothing of the sort and he’ll get away with it.

The SFA’s Chief Executive Officer  appointed himself on the supervisory board of the LNS Commission. In a surprising development the recommendations of the LNS commission are being challenged by TRFC, who have held a license with the SFA since 1st August 2012. The SFA are the appellate body of a commission that they participated in and supervised. Has it not occurred to anyone that since they, the SFA, were one of the architects of the conclusions of the LNS commission, and that their Chief Executive supervised the LNS commission, their position as the appellate body is fatally compromised?  We have evidently reverted to what Lord Brodie eloquently stated was ‘some form of football jurisprudence.’

The two chief executives of Scottish football governance, the SFA and the SPFL, have engaged in a deception to ensure that their most important member club has retained the titles of a former member club. They are prepared to engage in Kangaroo commissions and two tribunals to propagate a lie.

On February 29, 2012, the onlookers (supporters) of professional football believed that their only concern was that the much vaunted ‘blue pound‘ had been spent with such profligacy that one of their member clubs would emulate Gretna and reform in the Lowland League. Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan attempted to withdraw 15 titles to sweeten the bitter pill of a new club being elevated to the SFL First Division.They then revised this objective to award all the titles earned by a former member club to a new member club. They did this by stating it was the same member club. There must be some Scottish football article of association that only applies  on February 29 in each leap year where the rules are turned upside down and where those of February 28th no longer apply.

 

The 5 year egg timer

In my previous post I highlighted the fact that Charles Green was overwhelmed by the hatred he experienced when attempting to launch his phoenix operation. One would naturally ask the question as to why the chairmen of the leading clubs were so opposed to the SFA/SPL attempted subversion of their own rules. Would it be fair to posit that they had engaged in an arms race with David Murray’s Rangers and that his £10 for every £5 spent was not subject to tax?

Mr Murray was reputed to have used a five minute ‘egg-timer’ at Rangers board meetings. If matters could not be resolved within this time frame he would move on to the next item on the agenda. Challenges to his authority, and in particular in regard to his tax avoidance strategies, have never been reported. As Hugh Adam stated, everyone knew that he was cheating but it did not benefit anyone to discuss it.

William Nimmo Smith made a decision that many found surprising. He chose to consider the Discounted Option Scheme (DOS) within the context of EBT. He should have been aware that DOS had been declared illegal by an Inner House ruling against Aberdeen Asset Management in 2010. However, when Harper Macleod approached Duff & Phelps for details on the DOS and the side letters,the administrators refused to comply. The Nimmo Smith commission had no legal standing. Therefore Harper Macleod made a request that did not have the weight of a court order. With no information on DOS being forthcoming, Mr Nimmo Smith assumed that EBT were legal, that there was no competitive advantage and that Sandy Bryson’s imperfect registrations held sway. This was the perfect result for Scottish football governance as unfair competitive advantage would have to be addressed and this would have led to scrutiny of the SFA chairman, Campbell Ogilvie, who attended the remuneration committee meetings when DOS were established. He also executed a number of share purchases  apropos to the illegal DOS scheme.

In Mr Ogilvie’s defence I could posit that he was unaware that the scheme was illegal and that this had not been established until 2010. However there is a major flaw in this argument as HMRC were pursuing Rangers in 2005 in regard to DOS and when the raid on Rangers by the City of London Police in 2007 revealed the existence of side letters, when this had been denied by Rangers in 2005, it was fortunate that Mr Ogilvie had exited from Rangers with an EBT golden parachute.

SDM was in a difficult position as he had been caught cheating and with the denial of the existence of side letters. He instructed his senior executives to liaise with Andrew Thornhill QC of Pump Court Tax Chambers for advice. His advice was to immediately address the £2.8m overdue payable.

SDM transferred this liability to Craig Whyte on 6th May 2011, however prior to Whyte’s acquisition an application was made to the SFA for consideration for participation in UEFA tournaments. This application did not arrive prior to the 31st March deadline. It arrived on 1st April. However at this point Rangers were aware of the £2.8m tax due on the DOS scheme, which had been declared illegal in 2010 and that was due as HMRC had the power to retrospectively assess Rangers as they had lied in 2005.

The fact that Campbell Ogilvie was appointed as chairman of the SFA,  prior to the 30 June final deadline, could have led him to have had a closer look at an application where a member club had an unpaid social tax of £2.8m. He evidently had much more important things to attend to.

The application was further reviewed by the SFA in June.  Rangers participated in the Champions League qualification games, despite the social tax being unpaid. This social tax led to bailiffs arriving at Ibrox in August, so the idea that the SFA could claim that it had not ‘crystallised’  in June is frankly preposterous. Final demands had been sent to Ibrox prior to the SFA approving Rangers’ UEFA licence.

Malaga Club de Futbol found themselves in a similar position to Rangers, but unlike the Rangers-facing SFA, their federation informed UEFA of their tax liability. A Uefa statement said: “Uefa’s club financial control body has taken its first decision due to the presence of significant overdue payables. Malaga is excluded from participating in the next Uefa club competition for which it would otherwise qualify for in the next four seasons.” Malaga CF were also fined £240,000 after a full audit by UEFA.

Rangers escaped this fate due to the collusion of the SFA. Stewart Regan was so concerned about this that he wrote to Rangers and asked for their approval to issue a statement exonerating the SFA. Rangers instructed him to ‘shut up’ as he was digging a bigger hole for both parties.

So the matter was cleared with the napkins at a sumptuous dinner at Hotel Du Vin. In the ensuing white heat media noise on the 14th February 2012, the SFA had hoped their collusion with the Whyte regime would never see the light of day. Mr Regan and his corrupt cronies are hoping that the Fraudco trial collapses as Mr Whyte might reveal some inconvenient truths.

As we approach the five year anniversary of the SFA collusion I’m sure many would agree that the Mr Regan and Mr Whyte spent less than 5 minutes discussing the matter at dinner. There was no need for a five minute egg-timer. However what was discussed was almost certainly recorded by Mr Whyte using his specially equipped pen. Let’s hope Mr Regan spoke expansively and that Mr Whyte provided him with sufficient rope to hang himself.

Mr Green & The Most Reasonable Men

The preliminary hearings on what has become known as the ‘Fraudco’ trial will now resume on April 19 with only three individuals currently facing indictments. No-one is prepared to name the three, but we know that Craig White and Gary Withey are two of this trial triumvirate, with Charles Green almost certainly being the third.  As opposed to his Wikipedia entry, or what you have read in the red top rags, it will be interesting to note what he stated in private when he was in the company of friends.

Mr Green had an inner circle of four executives in his board. He appointed himself as Chief Executive Officer, with Malcolm Murray as Chairman and Brian Stockbridge as Financial Director. Mr Murray had what was best described as a fractious relationship with Mr Stockbridge, which was exacerbated when he was filmed by the former FD being helped from his car in a ‘tired and emotional’ state. It was a particularly low blow by Stockbridge, which was seized upon by the agitators and posted on YouTube (pun intended). The fourth member of his pulling strings quartet was Imran Ahmad who initially had the title of Capital Raising Executive. Mr Ahmad avoided any indictments, and an invitation to assist Police Scotland with their inquiries, by boarding a plane to Pakistan with indecent haste.

Unlike the career criminal and the agitating barber’s model, Mr Green had a business plan A, B. C & D. Plan A of 13 May 2012, the Absence of liabilities, was to get the Club to a position where it had no debt. Plan B was a Balanced Book of shareholders where no single shareholder held more than 10-15% of the issued equity. Plan C, for Cenkos Securities, was to liaise with this Nomad to list the equity on the LSE Alternative Investment Market. Plan D for Departure was for his planned exit with 10% of the flotation price.

With such a thoughtful plan, what could possibly go wrong? The first thing that counted against him was that by his own admission he was not a Rangers man. The Rangers supporters don’t mind if you’re stupid, corrupt or even a criminal. All of this can be forgiven if you were brought up in the mean streets of Govan, Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Castlemilk or Ruchazie and that you can recite the names of the 1972 European Cup Winners Cup team by rote. Mr Green did not contract ‘Rangersitis.‘ He and Mr Ahmad were in it for a fast buck. I often wonder if Police Scotland would be as keen to pursue Mr Green if he had spent his short playing career at Rangers as opposed to Sheffield United?

 

Green’s initial projections were that by the middle of July, he would have built up a balance of approximately £30m. This was predicated on a CVA being successful and the Club remaining in the SPL. Neither of these projections were realised and accordingly the initial capital raised stood at circa £11m. From the £11m,
£5.5m had been paid to Duff & Phelps for the acquisition of the trading assets, all wages had been paid in full and other running costs met.
Additional investment has been promised and ‘placing letters’ received which guaranteed a further tranche of capital, with ongoing discussions with a range of other potential investors.In relation to the value of the Club, Mr Ahmad stated that he valued Rangers at £50m ‘all day long’ given the stature of the Club, potential future success and associated business opportunities. Mr Stockbridge confirmed that a series of different financial models had been prepared to take account of the various scenarios which may be played out. Each of these would allow the Club to survive and succeed, albeit there were different recovery periods depending on each scenario.

Mr Green then read out his list of existing shareholders, the bulk of these being in the form of ‘trust funds’. Mr Green stated that it was a transgression of FSA rules for the individuals involved in these trusts to be made public. However, in satisfying the SFA,  two of their representatives, which were rumoured to be Mr Ogilvie and Mr Bryson (to keep matters within the family)  had signed a confidentiality agreement and subsequently been given sight of the respective individuals.
It was noted that one such trust, Blue Pitch Holdings,  owned 23% of the shares. As the other investors increased, this percentage would be diluted in line with the overall aspiration to have no single shareholder with an excess of more than 15%. Mr Murray
also confirmed that there had been a proposed investment which had not been accepted on the basis that the offer had come with the proviso that the donor received 50% of the shares and two seats on the Board. A compromise had been offered – partly in recognition of the overall aspiration to have no single person with more than 15%, however this had not been accepted. Mr John Brown tabled this offer but he would not disclose the men behind the £11m that was offered.

At this point in proceedings, some clarity was sought in regard to what had actually occurred at the SPL meeting. Mr Green opened the response to this question by indicating that he had come into the process of rebuilding the Club without appreciating the level of hatred that was being directed at the Club from all directions. This was not however going to cause him to deviate from his course. He was informed by Mr Doncaster, in a telephone call, that not all was as it appeared to be apropos the public declarations by a number of the Chairmen and as such he should contact these Chairmen to apologise for the actions of the old board. Mr Murray issued the public apology but at the meeting this steer by Doncaster was evidently a sham as no SPL Club  wanted Rangers to survive and not one of them was prepared to publicly state they approved of Sevco Scotland’s petition for the RFC share transfer.

 

Mr Green and Mr McCoist had attended the SPL meeting and had advised those present of the hypocrisy being shown by all concerned in their assertion that as a “newco”, Sevco Scotland should not be admitted to the SPL. Yet despite being a “newco”, there was an expectation that they should still be subject to penalties and other sanctions for the actions of the “oldco”. Some might suggest that a more conciliatory approach would have been better received.

 

To gain approval to the first division of the SFL, one offer was to accept the withdrawal of 15 titles, which was of no little concern, and additionally the SFL wanted him to split the home gate receipts with the opposition. Mr Green realized that at that time the transfer bans issue had still to be resolved and if it remained  in limbo and Sevco was not registered as a member of the SFA, his new Club could not play in Scotland.

 

He was advised by the SFA that whilst the acquisition of Bury and subsequent use of their place in the English League had been a consideration, this was not now possible since a rules change following the Wimbledon/MK Dons scenario. However, should the SFA refuse to register the Club to play in the SFL in Scotland, Mr Green threatened that he would apply to join English Football Association at any level.

 

Mr McCoist, who was also present at this meeting, stated that with the ten point deduction, the loss of European football and the loss of virtually the entire first team, with no transfer income, it felt like punishment enough and a new start in in SFL3 should satisfy most reasonable men.

 

It was also noted that whilst Mr Green had originally offered to pay off footballing debts pre CVA refusal, this would now appear to be at odds with the stance taken by the SPL whereby he was the CEO of a ‘newco’ and therefore had no rights. Mr Green also stated that the actions of the first team players who left had cost the club a minimum of £10m. This had been as a direct result of a clause that they had inserted in their contracts in the administration process which Duff & Phelps had agreed to and could have been predicted to have cost the Club so much at the expense of the personal gain of these individuals. The role of the agents was such that they had been touting these players since the ‘clause’ had been included and there was nothing  that the new board could have done to preclude this eventuality.

 

In regard to the Title Deeds, Mr Green confirmed that a formal application had been made to HMRC in relation to stamp duty and an application made to have these  formally transferred into the name of Sevco Scotland Limited. Mr Stockbridge confirmed that “placing letters” had been received which confirmed additional investment was coming into the ‘newco’.

 

So how did this narrative result in proceedings at Edinburgh High Court. An inkling can be gleaned by asking  why the higher bid than the one made by Sevco was not accepted by Duff & Phelps? Did  Duff & Phelps fail in their fiduciary duties? Would the indictments that have been temporarily deserted pro loco et tempore be revisited in a new format by Her Majesty’s Advocate Depute?

One question that seems to have been answered is that £6.75m of the £11m that was initially raised had to be repaid. I posit that this was a short term loan of £5.5m with an arrangement fee of £1.25m. When added to the escrow account of Duff & Plelps (£3.25m) you can identify Green’s initial claim of having £11m at his disposal.

 

However we were led to believe that Mr Green had more investment on its way and equity was transferred to these placees. At this point there is no transparency on what was raised by Mr Ahmad, the Capital Raising Executive, by way of payment for this equity. There is also the not insignificant £10.6m black hole in the money raised at the IPO.

 

I am bound by reporting restrictions to form a conclusion on the alleged culpability of Mr Green. Suffice to say that if we follow the money, we won’t go far wrong.

The Old Firm

Rangers are now almost nailed on to earn automatic promotion. Hibs, the great pretenders, dropped five points when six were essential, which effectively condemned them to the play-offs. They now must play a minimum of four games to qualify for promotion, and should they continue to slide they will be looking at six games. The odds are not in their favour. Hibs are incapable of four good results in a row, never mind six. Should they not win the League Cup their season will end in ignominy.

The concept of the Old Firm will be revised by the media. They have dined off  The Glasgow Duopoly for generations, and are attempting to engage the managers in a spat about the benefits of artificial pitches. Peter Lawwell, who likes to think he’s important, has not been invited to the junket in Zurich. Rod Petrie will be in attendance, with Stewart Regan, to ensure that Alan McRae does not inadvertently dip his SFA tie in his soup course and let the side down. Peter Lawwell will be tucking into humble pie as he rolls out the blue carpet for Rangers in the hope that his team’s supporters will return in numbers.

Is Scottish football now in harmony? Regan, Petrie and McRae will be networking  to establish which five star hotels are being used by Germany in the Euros in the hope that they can give them at least three executive suites. They will be currying favour with their French hosts to ensure that their police escorted limousines turn up at the right time. Despite another dismal qualification song and dance by our airport squatting team, nothing will stop our three most senior executives disrupting their summer holiday plans with all their expenses paid trips with their sponsors to the George Cinq Hotel in Paris. I have known Chris Norton, their general manager, since  1999. I would be happy to put a good word in for them if they can spell sporting inte….

Rangers will be reminding CFC that they are the people, and should they wish to sing that they’re up to their knees in fenian blood, they had better just suck it up because there is nothing they can do about it. Word has arrived from Trumpton that not enough 5p carrier bags have been sold to give the SFA the £4m they required for facial recognition technology. The plan of arresting supporters after games, and of course looking for others who have evaded warrants, will not be implemented. The police would not be foolish enough to wade into the Ibrox crowd to arrest thousands, so the ‘party’ songs will continue. Maybe we will return to the ‘glory’ days of pitch battles and horseback intervention.

Celtic supporters will continue to taunt us that we are a new club, formed in 2012, that has no titles to its name other than the Petrofac Cup, which might as well be presented to us now to spare Peterhead’s blushes on Sunday 10th April. Neil Doncaster will inform them that they are incorrect and as far as he’s concerned, and only his voice counts, RIFC are Rangers continued. He has allocated RIFC all the RFC league titles and league cup successes. Two Hats Topping, dropped in at the SFA to mention that Charles Green bought the goodwill for £1, and surely that is as good an excuse as any to allocate all the Scottish Cup successes. So get in line CFC, you’re still Scotland’s second club whether you like it or not. Incidentally thanks for not one word of complaint as we racked up fifteen titles using EBT. It was good of you to look the other way. Let’s do lunch when Dave King is in town to pitch for season tickets, and since you’re Scotland’s second club, you’re buying. Let’s have a curry and refuse to pay the VAT as most Indian restaurants don’t pass all of it on to HMRC. It was mighty Whyte  of you to pay tax while we racked up those titles, and thanks also for looking the other way when we played in Europe, at your expense, in seven season’s of DOS/EBT dominance. We’re glad you know your place and we continue to welcome the chase.

So it will be business as usual with Aberdeen and Hearts  confined to less column inches than would be required to accommodate Dave King’s rap sheet. Mark Warburton will become a Regus Professor of Metaphysics at Glasgow University, after his one year tenure as rector of Stathclyde University. Chris Union Jack will receive an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his promotion of The Queen’s Eleven, with Keith Jackson claiming his awards on expenses as he racks up another Twitter Correspondent of the Year title. Ronny Delia will be sacked for not winning any trebles in Rangers absence. Did he not read the small print in his contact? Who does he think he is, Ally McCoist?

Have I missed anything? Did someone mention sporting integrity?  That was abolished by David Murray over dinner at his Jersey estate in 1998. Try to keep up!

 

 

State of Play

As I write, this site has just achieved three million hits. I thank my contributors for the success of this site which has grown exponentially since inception on September 19 last year when the RSL hung up their boots. I continue to liaise with Ninjaman, and I thank him and Bill (Merlin) for their support. This site will continue to value the intelligent and measured discourse of a diaspora of Rangers supporters and those who support other clubs. This site has a global audience.

The narrative at Rangers continues to evolve. I have never hidden my enmity to a career criminal being chairman of our once fine club. He bought his way in with money that had evaded tax, and continues to dominate the board with other money that evaded tax. For a club, any club, that was liquidated for evading and avoiding tax, we needed a career criminal chairman with forty-one convictions in our phoenix club like a hole in our heads.

David Cunningham King and Paul Murray took control of our club with a new paradigm in mendacity. Only now is the big picture beginning to emerge. There was never any intention for RIFC to be listed. No-one in the city was prepared to represent a company with a career criminal at its helm. There were no ‘nomad’ waiting in the wings to pick up where WH Ireland left off. King and Murray scuttled the listing as they knew that money laundered in Hong Kong was their bank  of last resort and that no nomad would ever agree to countenance this. Of course it’s easy to play this game if you transfer your funds to a company, Allied International in Hong Kong and they subsequently transfer them to AI London. Barry Scott is Managing Director of both companies. The name on the account is New Oasis, which is King’s account.

The last thing King wanted to do was to use any more of his funds than necessary. He created a David v Goliath narrative where he declared himself the winner of the conflict, but was forced to pay up as Sports Direct were planning to appoint receivers. Very few companies release statements on New Year’s Day. Mike Ashley was the audience. The clear message was: “your money is on its way Mike, so don’t pull the plug due to banking transfers not being at their best in the holiday season.

Naturally, as with every statement made by this mendacious board, there was a feel good message about international investors being keen to back a toxic board built on money laundering; with some clean funds thrown in for good measure. It was rather remiss of King not to point out that Mr Scott was loaning King’s money.

As I have long stated, there is a regime of austerity by stealth at Rangers. You save a million by not renewing the TUPE contracts, then spend it on five players and free transfers, with anything left on its way to Level 5 to ensure that everything Mark Warburton says is spun into a positive. If we are to believe informed speculation, and my calculations, the austerity has now axed the under 20 team. Of course rather than admit that we cannot afford to develop our talented youngsters, our future’s life blood, Mr Warburton, whose U-20 team are in eighth position, spins the lie that he no longer wishes to participate in this league.

As Mr Warburton runs a thin austere squad, or if you prefer he’s keeping them hungry on short contracts, the wheels are beginning to come off. Martyn Waghorn has been pressed into action while carrying an injury. The free flowing, high tempo, high scoring team has become one where getting the job done is all that counts. With eleven games to go we should limp over the line. Hibs are playing the best football in our division at this time. While we find ourselves in the meaningless Petrofac final, they are competing for real honours in The League Cup final. However they are so inconsistent away from home that they will continue to drop points against the seven fodder teams in The Championship. For this reason I posit that they will be playing Falkirk  home and away for the right to play against one of Kilmarnock/Dundee Utd/Motherwell. Their biggest problem of these four teams is Falkirk.Over two legs they are capable of beating Hibs and Rangers. Mr Warburton is fully aware of this. Automatic promotion must be achieved as another season in this division is untenable. Next season all players will be incentivized to avoid demotion with a £25,000 bonus. Of course with an Indian Giver like King, they had to give up one month’s holiday pay in perpetuity for this one-off bonus.

Now that King has real skin in the game, and there is no listing, his only option is to sell his equity to a private buyer. But in the short term, he desperately needs the RF CIC money and for Chris Graham to join his three ringers on the Rangers First CIC board. To smooth the path for King’s RST/Rangers First CIC marriage of convenience, all talk of loans has been proscribed until after RST have agreed to merge. Rangers First, who at one time had over fifteen thousand contributors, have lost a half of their direct debits. Those prepared to pay £500 to register, and £18.72 per month, are walking away, leaving their sizeable deposit behind. King is projecting north of £3m per annum from this source. They have delivered £1.5m to date.

King’s next trick will be preference shares, just as is the case with his company MMG:SJ whose modus operandi is one of manufactured results, market manipulation and money laundering. King’s partner in crime has had to join King for years on the ‘naughty step‘ as they fought bribery and racketeering charges. Everyone know this company is toxic, and when push came to shove King had to use his money-laundered funds in Hong Kong as there were no takers for his equity in South Africa.

The end game is simple. King will clean his money of dubious origin using the money of Rangers First CIC, sell his equity and make a profit. He would not get away with this in any other football jurisdiction. However in a country where the SFA press releases are submitted to Ibrox for approval and SDM can run rings round the SFA and get away with it, no-one will stand in his money-laundering path.

Hong Kong Phooey

 

On January 1st 2016, the board released the following statement:

 “RIFC’s board is delighted to welcome the new lenders who, as long-standing supporters of the club, fit exactly into the profile of investors that RIFC has encouraged during this ongoing rebuilding phase. The new funding has all been provided on the same basis as other recent loans to RIFC. The loans to RIFC were primarily utilised to fund repayment of the Sports Direct facility with the balance going towards the group’s working capital requirements.”

Rangers referred to Hong Kong-based Andrew  Ross and Barry Scott as long-standing supporters of Rangers and that they ‘fit exactly into the profile of investors that RIFC has encouraged during this ongoing rebuilding phase’.

This is all well and good, but word has reached me, from an impeccable source, that Mr King might well have salted away some of his ill-gotten gains in Hong Kong that have been under the stewardship of these Hong Kong Real Rangers Men. Could Mr King, via his Hong Kong based company NOSA,  have squirrelled away some funds in Hong Kong despite South African restrictions on money laundering and the terms of his agreement with The South African Crown Prosecution Authority?

I believe we can confidently predict that this is one loan that will be converted into equity. We must  commend Mr King for his consistency in never knowingly committing clean funds to Rangers.