In the interests of balance, I should point out that one of my protagonists, Charles Green, has not been convicted of any crime at this time. However, if he were to be convicted on all counts, every asset that he purchased from Duff & Phelps, and those purchased subsequently in the IPO, may well revert to the liquidators at BDO.
As for Whyte, he has recently been disqualified as a director for fifteen years, which followed a previous ban for seven years. An internal investigation into alleged links between Whyte & Green was never published, but as it led to the resignation of Mr Green, it would be fair to assume that some evidence of their affiliation was established. This evidence will now be in the possession of Police Scotland. Craig Whyte was also the subject of a private investigation, commissioned by Rangers directors, by a firm called Triton. The findings of this report were damning.The investigators established that Whyte rented his apartment in Monaco and that he had no discernible wealth or assets. It is known that he forged documents to obtain the Ticketus loan. In spite of incontrovertible evidence against Whyte, David Murray proceeded with the sale.
Many Rangers supporters are persuaded that Dave King is the antidote to Green and Whyte, when nothing could be further from the truth. King is on record, during a private conversation with Graham Wallace, that he would not invest a single penny in Rangers. King stated he was an investor of last resort. It is important to highlight one more lie by King. The family trust, held in his children and mother’s name, The Caledonian Trust, has no connection with the vehicle that bought his 14.53% equity in RIFC. The Caledonian no longer exists. It’s assets were disbursed to pay King’s £50m in legal fees. The services of barristers such as Gilbert Marcus did not come cheap. The paradox of our criminal chairman attempting to cap the legal expenditure of Green, will be lost on King. He was never the sharpest tool in the box.
King knows he’s a criminal. This is why he cherishes being the self-appointed chairman of Rangers as it bestows him with an undeserved air of gravitas and respectability. Meanwhile in Johannesburg, he and Greg Morris are trying to work out ways to fleece their next victims at Micromega Holding Group. One incident in a catalogue of misrepresentation of returns and ownership double-dealing, takes share manipulation to a new paradigm.
In 2005, in Micromega’s annual report, HSBC Investment Management, which owned 22% of the company, was listed as the largest shareholder. Morris revealed that King was an ‘adviser’ in this company. In the 2006 report, the largest shareholder listed was Drenk Services, which owned 53%. This company ‘disappeared’ in the 2007 report. The fact that this mysterious firm was allowed to breach the 30% threshold and not invoke the mandatory offer to other shareholders, was quickly swept under the carpet. Everyone knew that King was behind Drenk, and later King’ daughter turns up with the 75% in her name.
As Green faces 1,000 documents from Police Scotland, they pale to insignificance when compared to King’s 200,000 page indictment in the Pretoria High Court. In King’s tax returns from 1994-2001, when asked “are you or your minor children beneficiaries of a trust?“, King ticked no. King was arrested in May 2002 and was soon facing 323 criminal charges.
A charge that merits special attention was the allegation that King bribed one of South African Revenue Services(SARS) executive committee members, Leonard Radebe. SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay stated: “We laid a criminal charge with the office of serious economic offences, and our claim is that King submitted a fraudulent document to court, and tried to corrupt one of our general managers.” King instructed his solicitors to petition the High Court in Pretoria with a document claiming that he had settled his ZAR 2.3b claim for a mere ZAR 300m, with the caveat that all criminal charges would be dropped. On this occasion King did not instruct Gilbert Marcus, as he knew Mr Marcus would never participate in such an obvious exercise in fraud. The eight-page agreement was signed by King and a firm called “Delville Whatley & Associates” – a Rosettenville tax firm that claimed it was mandated by SARS. There were three letters attached to the agreement, allegedly giving Delville Whatley the mandate to “settle the dispute” and withdraw the criminal charges. The letters were signed by a “P Erasmus” from SARS’ Germiston office. SARS stated unequivocally that P Erasmus did not exist, and that his office in room 115, referred to as the source of the letter, is actually a bathroom in SARS’ Germiston office. Radebe was suspended for engaging in this ‘deal’ and later resigned prior to being dismissed. This was not the first bribery charge that King has faced. He was also charged with bribing Greg Morris to gain access to the Umgeni pension fund, which underpinned their ‘pump and dump’ at Specialist Outsourcing. There is a consensus of opinion that some of the trials involving King collapsed due to his alleged association with underworld figure, Glenn Agliotti.
Those who believe that King heralds a new dawn of corporate governance should think again. King is cut from the same cloth as Green and Whyte. King’s toxicity has led to no NOMAD being prepared to work with the new board, which led to the de-listing of the shares. Paul Murray claimed this was due to complaints to LSE AIM and had no bearing on King. This was a multi-layered lie. First of all any complaints were filed by agitators, chief of which were Murray and King. Secondly, LSE AIM would not have removed RIFC if a NOMAD had been prepared to represent King. The £5m loan from Ashley is now in default as it was predicated on the AIM listing. As Ashley clearly stated, the corporate standards of AIM were the first line of defence against a criminal with forty-one convictions to his name.