Craig Whyte – “Wholly Unreliable” – Tixway UK Loses One Stop Case

The BBC has reported the outcome of the One Stop Roofing v Tixway UK Ltd case.

Mr Whyte has been unsuccessful and his company Tixway UK Ltd has been ordered to pay One Stop Roofing the full sums claimed. A later hearing will assess who pays the costs of the case, but these will probably be awarded in their entirety against Tixway UK Ltd.

In a case where credibility of witnesses was to be the deciding factor, it appears that Sheriff Ross has been left in no doubt as to the position.

“I accept the evidence led by the pursuer (One Stop Roofing) as credible and reliable, and supported by the available documentation.

“I reject the evidence of Mr Whyte as wholly unreliable.

“It is not possible to ascertain whether he is not telling the truth or is simply unable to recollect the true position, and has convinced himself that this arrangement is something that he would not have entered into.

“Either way, his evidence is contradicted by virtually every other piece of evidence.”

The Sheriff went on to say that Mr Whyte’s firm Tixway had “offered its own credit rating to allow cover for the supply of large volumes of materials to Snowcast”.

He said this was “subject to a high degree of control by the defender over Snowcast and an understanding between the defender (Tixway) and Snowcast that Snowcast would make payment for those materials”.

Sheriff Ross concluded: “As a matter of legal liability, however, the defender remains the principal obligant.

“There is no dispute as to the sum outstanding, nor that it was properly incurred, and I accept the total brought out by the pursuer’s figures.”

The problem of course for Tixway UK is that Snowcast is in liquidation.

The Sheriff’s judgment could not really be more damning and must be of concern both to Rangers supporters and to the wider Scottish football community.

The SFA investigation into whether or not Mr Whyte is a “fit and proper person” to be involved in running a football club is continuing.

The only silver lining for him is that, if you squint hard enough at the decision, he will not, despite what the BBC suggested, be investigated for any alleged perjury.

However, that is on the basis that either (a) he was telling lies or (b) he had convinced himself that a version of events found not to be true was in fact true.

Sich a finding is probably even more damaging for his overall credibility than one which condemned him as an out and out liar.

As far as judgments go, this is akin to condemning Mr Whyte as a fantasist or Walter Mitty character.

Many wondered why a hugely successful businessman, with such a high profile, would risk his reputation in court like this over the comparatively small matter of £90,000.

If he had convinced himself that his alternate reality was true then that might explain it, but bearing in mind the comments from his spokesman whan the action was raised, namely that all the bills had been paid, this suggests that Mr Whyte’s alternative reality changed as the case continued.

His company can still appeal. However, Tixway UK would need to show that Sheriff Ross made a decision no reasonable Sheriff would have as regards credibility. Sheriff Ross is an excellent judge, and I have no doubt that his decision will be legally watertight.

There is not going to be a successful appeal in this case.

Will Mr Whyte come out all guns blazing looking to rally his dwindling band of supporters round him?

Or will this decision rip from him the final shreds of credibility he might have retained.

 

Advertisements

43 Comments

Filed under BBC, Civil Law, Courts, Craig Whyte's Companies, Football, One Stop Roofing Supplies Ltd v Tixway UK Ltd, Rangers

43 responses to “Craig Whyte – “Wholly Unreliable” – Tixway UK Loses One Stop Case

  1. jim62

    You really can’t get a more scathing comment from a sherif other than him saying you are an actual liarf. Has this judgment been posted on the court website?

    • Jim,

      It is hard to imagine a worse finding. Why he defended it I really don’t know.

      The judgment is not up on Scotcourts yet, nor bailii, but I will keep looking!

      You know me – if there was a full copy of the judgment, I wouldn’t have kept my post to 700 words, would I? 🙂

      I will be very interested to see how Mr Whyte’s PR people try to spin this.

  2. JockHigh

    That would be a noteworthy judgment no matter which businessman was on the receiving end.

    But wait a minute – which shreds were those, Paul?

  3. Michael

    A question Paul. You state:
    “….he will not, despite what the BBC suggested, be investigated for any alleged perjury.

    However, that is on the basis that either (a) he was telling lies or (b) he had convinced himself that a version of events found not to be true was in fact true.”

    I don’t understand your conclusion. In your premise did you mean to say: (a) he was NOT telling lies?

    • Michael,

      It is very hard to be prosecuted successfully for perjury. I have various posts on here re the Sheridan case detailing at great length what the law is.

      Suffice to say that, if Mr Whyte was investigated for it (and I am not saying he has done anything to justify that) then part of his defence would be that Sheriff Ross, who saw him give evidence, could not tell if he was telling lies, or telling the court what he now believed to be true. Therefore there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt of perjury.

      On that basis, short of an admission from him that he was deliberately telling lies, there would not be reasonable prospects of a conviction for perjury.

      In addition, it is rare (although not unknown) for the loser to be prosecuted – usually it is the winner!

  4. Exile

    Wonder if guy in Amarone threatening to blow himself up is Whyte after the day he’s had…

  5. Andy

    The problem of course for Tixway UK is that Snowcast is in liquidation.

    does tixway have any assets?

    if whyte was to liquidate tixway would that mean he would not be liable for the bill

    • Andy,

      Tixway’s last accounts to year end January 2010 (yes the next accounts are long overdue) disclosed net assets of over £2.5 million.

      Of course that might have been spent and Mr Whyte will not have a personal liability for any shortfall. However, I am sure he will not want another of his companies to go into liquidation.

  6. Andy

    thanks

    i do not think he really cares too much about anything by the way he acts

  7. Congratulations OneStop.

    CW may try to evade on technicalities whilst firmly believing that he is on the right side of the law. However he’s demonstrating that he is morally selfish, with little or no regards towards good honest business persons, or the impact that his actions may have on others.

    Hopefully the full amounts can be recovered.

  8. Tommy

    Should Whyte not settle this debt with One Stop, what action is open to the pursuer to recover his money and legal costs?

    • Tommy,

      Normal enforcement procedures ie inhibition of property owned by Tixway UK; arrestment of Tixway UK bank accounts; and ultimately the appointment of a liquidator.

      For a company whose last accounts disclosed over £2.5 million of assets, liquidation would not be a good thing.

      Mr Whyte won’t have to pay personally, but Tixway UK will.

  9. Tommy

    Paul,
    Thank you for the prompt reply. I was rather hoping there might just have been some route that One Stop’s agent could could use to recover the dosh from Whyte himself. Ah well, I’m sure justice will be achieved by other means.

  10. David

    The beginning of the end? The more I find out about this man the more worried I become. To have his “credibility” so roundly lambasted in open court beggars belief. Who can take anything that this man says seriously given his track record before being and whilst “under the radar”, combined with the stuff he has come out with subsequently. Honestly, I despair.

    Wonder how many company names he’s changed today?

  11. Michael

    Paul, off topic (I’ve asked this elsewhere but didn’t get a response), but I’ll ask anyway.

    If Murray is controlling the FTT(T) legal defence, does he control the right to appeal? In other words is the right to NOT appeal out of the hands of Whyte?

    So if the tribunal rules against the Gers, could Murray immediately appeal and let Whyte try to keep the club solvent for another year?

    • RonnieD

      Michael
      I belive the situation is that this is an appeal by Rangers against the tax bill, penalties and interest charged.
      So if the panel declines the appeal, Rangers are liable immediately for the payment.
      They may appeal but would have to deposit the value of the finding in escrow until a higher court judges the appeal.
      That may be imprecise but correct in spirit.

      • Michael

        OK thanks RonnieD. So even though MIH have controlled the FTT(T), once the verdict has been passed down it is for Rangers (Whyte) to decide what to do. That is fair enough really. I just wondered if Murray could deploy another tactic to delay the inevitable and try to get Whyte to blink first.

  12. The Battered Bunnet

    Paul,

    Nice wee post. More to come doubtless when the full text is released into the public domain.

    From your recollections, which legal entity owns Castle Grant?

    Just wondering ‘cos I’m looking for a Highland bolt hole at the mo’ and wondered if any historic properties on Speyside might be coming onto the market in early course.

    • ifa007

      Castle Grant is very popular…..so popular 2 purchases took place on the same day!

      Application No. Date Title Number Price
      06MOR03323 16-Nov-2006 MOR1699 £720,000
      06MOR03325 16-Nov-2006 MOR1699 £720,000

    • TBB,

      Thanks! As ifa points out, there were two transactions on the same day…It was also pointed out to me that the fixed asset value of Tixway UK Ltd seemed might close to the purchase price.

      Could it be that Castle Grant is owned by Tixway UK Ltd, in which case McRoberts who represent One Stop (IIRC) will be winging their way with an Inhibition, if they have not already got one!

      It was also suggested to me that the increase in the valkue of Tixway’s fixed assets could have been accounted for by the purchase, reportedly by Mr Whyte, of a home in Grantown on Spey for his estranged wife.

      I suspect the proprietor of an historic Speyside castle would bite the hand off anyone who made a good offer, especially if paying cash!

      (NB By paying cash I of course mean buying the property from one’s own funds without having to await approval of a mortgage.)

      • sorrynocando

        Castle Grant is owned by Whyte and the mortgage covering it is with BoS (now LBG of course). The double recording of the sale £720,000 is not quite what it seems. Apparently on the same day he bought the castle he bought a piece of land next to it that’s the reason for the double recording on the same day, although it looks like two transactions for £720,000 in fact the total cost of both transactions was one consideration of £720,000. So unfortunately no hidden dirt in this instance.

        All details publicly available from the Registrars of Scotland for a small fee (£13).

  13. ramsay smith

    One Stop.

    How big are they?

    Big enough to employ leading commercial solicitors and junior and senior counsel for a debt of £90,000?

    Or has someone offered to help them with the costs?

    Just a thought.

  14. I agree with Paul that there is no prospect of a perjury charge as the judgement gives him this:

    “It is not possible to ascertain whether he is not telling the truth or is simply unable to recollect the true position,”

    That’s why “I don’t recall” is such a useful answer in court.

    • James,

      Thanks for dropping in. I think we can agree that the issues of alleged perjury here are rather more clear cut than similar allegations in the cases of Messrs Coulson, Bird and Wright!

      “I don’t recall” is useful, as you say, to avoid perjury charges, but it might not do a lot to help the witness win the case!

    • Michael

      Agreed “I don’t recall” is useful, but the problem is Whyte answered “No” to a direct question about whether his disqualification as a director was because of how he treated creditors. However I accept Paul’s (and your) assertion that it would be difficult to prove perjury. To be 100% sure it is also worth ensuring you are on the losing side 😉

      • Michael,

        We don’t have the exact question (at least I don’t) and, for example, if the question was – were you disqualified for how youtreated creditors – an answer “No” could be (a) a deliberate lie (b) a faulty recollection, especially if no paperwork was present (c) what he had convinced himself was true (d) an answer reflecting his opinion that it was how the company treated creditors, rather than him personally (e) many other possibilities.

  15. Carntyne

    The judgement against Tixway UK may be worthless if Whyte just folds the
    company.
    Unless he is judged to be personally responsible.

  16. ifa007

    Purchase date of Castle Grant 16-Nov-2006 this was during the disqualification period and obtained a mortgage. !?

  17. Good morning Paul,
    I must admit to having had a cynical chuckle when reading of how a balance sheet net worth of £2.5m for Tixway could be transformed to a deficit on insolvency. I think I could do the Deficiency Statement right now, and thats without having seen the accounts! One of the advantages of the accounts being overdue is that sooooo much might have happened in the interim!
    Anyway, £2.5m is small beer compared to the write-downs on book values which may soon be required down Govan way.
    Regards,

    Iain

  18. ifa007

    Paul….It was NOCANDO who stated it was mortgaged by BoS. He (NOCANDO) also writes the apparent explanation for the 2 transactions on the same day is because Mr Whyte bought additional land. “Normally” the purchase of an additional piece of land would be shown separately as it this would be on a separate title at the time of purchase. This transaction would normally appear as follows: 04MOR00576 23-Mar-2004 MOR1699 £100,000

    Price £100,000
    Applicant/s H. Bailey-scudamore
    Granter/s M. Sanders, I. Bailey-scudamore
    Description Subjects two areas of ground, 2.86 acres and 32.47 acres with…

    This was an actual transaction by the previous owners who did purchase additional land.

  19. Dave

    He looks like an exaggerated version of “posh” Tim Nice-But-Dim charecter from Harry Enfield and Chums. But nice he is not.

  20. Justin

    Craig Whyte looks like the toff guy Dim Tim from Harry Enfield and friends

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s