Monthly Archives: May 2012

Billy Dodds – “Witness for the Prosecution” and a “Smoking Gun”?

In which I comment on Mr Dodds and his piece in Sunday’s Herald. Mr Dodds, in one sentence, destroys the element which is, as described by Mike McGill, Murray Group Finance Director, as “key” to the defence of the HMRC case. Bizarrely his piece seems intended to be a defence of himself and of Rangers. In fact it proves quite the reverse.

Mr Dodds and the Sunday Herald had a scoop on their hands, and failed to notice it!

I was also unaware of Mr Dodds’ apparent keen interest in the movie industry, reflected in the headline to this piece.

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Billy Dodds was quoted at length in the Sunday Herald yesterday looking to clear his name and that of Rangers in connection with the EBT saga.

He is described by Wikipedia as follows:-

WilliamBillyDodds (born 5 February 1969) is a former Scottish professional footballer. He was predominantly a striker and during a career spanning almost 20 years he played for, amongst others, Rangers, Aberdeen and Dundee United. He also won 26 caps for Scotland scoring 7 goals in those appearances. Along with his friend and colleague Gordon Chisholm, he has been involved with coaching and management at a number of clubs including Dundee United, Dundee and Queen of the South. He is currently working in the media, both as a commentator/summariser for BBC Scotland and as a columnist for the Sunday Herald newspaper.”

I think there are a few things worth saying about his comments so, in the words of Richard Gordon, “Billy?”

My observations are in bold beneath Mr Dodds’ comments.

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26 Comments

Filed under Football, HMRC v Rangers, Rangers

Newco Entry to the SPL – A Guest Post by Den

I was thinking that the meeting to decide the SPL’s future is only a few days away.

I tried to look at the issue as dispassionately as I could, not sure I succeeded but it was interesting to try.

Is this meeting to decide the criteria for allowing a common or garden Newco into the SPL or for allowing Newco Rangers into the SPL? Naturally all of the debate is regarding Rangers but will any decisions apply equally to clubs which find themselves in the same position.

The SPL do not seem to have adequate rules or guidance for such a situation. Given the number of Football clubs going into administration and coming back as a Newco in the UK you would have expected that they would.

Doncaster and Johnson would seem to be in the pro Newco camp. They are playing the Public Relations game to get their argument across.

Both men have shifted the debate to the sanctions for joining the SPL as a Newco.  An important question but not the first I would consider. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Administration, Football Governance, Guest Posts, Rangers, SPL

Some Questions For David Grier and the Administrators of Rangers

In which I explore the nature of conflict of interest, wonder why Duff and Phelps accepted appointment, wonder why Andrew Ellis was not appointed a director on takeover, as was intended, and ask some questions of Mr Grier of Duff and Phelps.

Some of those questions are below.

What were D&P told by Craig Whyte about sources of funding in the period from January 2011 to April 2011 when D&P was negotiating with the Bank re clearing Rangers debt?

If it was D&P’s primary role to provide assistance to Liberty Capital in negotiating a settlement and assignment of the debt due to Lloyds Bank, what was its secondary role?

When did Mr Grier’s concerns re Ticketus crystallise?

Why did he speak to HMRC about these concerns?

Why did he speak to the “controlling directors”, who one assumes were the people involved in what concerned him? After speaking to them and HMRC, why did D&P continue to act? Presumably his concerns were allayed?

Did Mr Grier have indirect contact with Ticketus, or did anyone at D&P have direct contact pre-takeover? What about post-takeover? Did discussions to which D&P were party regarding Ticketus involve Ticketus?

Did D&P provide written advice re HMRC pre-takeover?

Why does the Report to Creditors make no mention of D&P being engaged pre-takeover to give advice re HMRC and regarding the effect on insolvency of a funder of season tickets?

Was the alleged Collyer Bristow letter the only information seen by D&P showing that Mr Whyte had access to £33 million?

Did D&P give any advice to Mr Whyte regarding the wisdom of his purchase, bearing in mind he was asking about insolvency prior to spending £33 million on the purchase?

Did Mr Grier read the 19th April email referred to by the BBC? If he did, was his curiosity not piqued by reference to “Ticketus agreements” (plural)?

How could financial projections show that money was coming from Wavetower, which had no money?

What did HMRC do about Mr Grier’s concerns?

Mr Grier refers to discovering the FULL extent of the funding relationship with Ticketus. Did D&P know part of the funding relationship previously, or the nature but not the full extent?

Did the cash flow projections prepared by D&P post takeover include reference to Ticketus, either in terms of short-term funding, or the £20.3 million “understood” to have been paid? If not, and as the forecasts were, inter alia, for the purposes of negotiating with HMRC, was false or incorrect information provided to HMRC?

Is the invoice referred to in Mr Grier’s email dated 24th June the same as those referred to in Rangers Financial Controller’s evidence to the SFA Judicial Panel, namely the multi-million pond invoices to Ticketus which were completely unknown to the Financial Controller, and were prepared using clip-art?

If Mr Grier was preparing invoices for Rangers to Ticketus, how is this covered in the statement in the Report to Creditors of what D&P did prior to appointment as administrators?

If Mr Grier was preparing invoices for Rangers to Ticketus in June dated May, how did it take him “over the summer” for concerns to crystallise?

Why do Mr Grier and D&P consider there is no conflict of interest?

Whilst D&P were assisting Rangers with short-term cash flow projections, £3 million was paid to Ticketus. Did Mr Grier make enquiries as to what this related to?

Could he or his colleagues prepare forecasts and projections without knowing the nature of the payment to Ticketus, and further liabilities to them?

By August 2011, D&P was monitoring cash flow and discussing capital raising. Had Mr Grier’s concerns crystallised by then?

I want to make clear that Mr Grier and Duff & Phelps have vigorously maintained that they have acted at all times with consummate professionalism and that they have at no time failed in their legal duties. I am sure Mr Grier and his colleagues would have answers to all of the questions raised above. However these seem to be reasonable queries arising from the statements made by D&P. I do not intend any negative connotations for D&P to arise from these questions. I merely pose them as a matter of interest.

(I refer to D&P throughout this piece, even where the work was done by MCR, taken over by D&P last year.) Continue reading

29 Comments

Filed under Administration, Rangers

What If Celtic Accept Wrong-doing re Juninho’s EBT? Aberdeen SPL Winners 2005?

A quick thought.

The BBC reported this tonight

Have any other Scottish football clubs been involved with EBT schemes?

BBC Scotland Investigates wrote to all of the Scottish Premier League’s member clubs and asked whether they had ever operated an EBT scheme.

Celtic confirmed that it established one EBT scheme in April 2005, which BBC Scotland understands was for the benefit of the Brazilian midfielder Juninho Paulista. The scheme was worth £765,000 but the club did not declare the trust payment to the Scottish Football Association or the Scottish Premier League.

The payments made to the trust were declared in Celtic’s annual report for 2004/2005, but in 2008 the club became aware of an event giving rise to a potential tax liability which was subsequently paid after agreement with HMRC.

The remaining 10 SPL clubs replied and confirmed they had never set up an EBT scheme for any of their employees.

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Filed under Celtic, Football

Well Done to the Orwell Prize-Winning RTC!

I am delighted to see that rangerstaxcase.com has won the Orwell Prize for blogging!

The full story can be read here.

The judges commented:-

“The 2012 Blog Prize showed that not only could blogs comment on current events, they could drive stories forward.

“Rangers Tax-Case takes what might be a dry topic – the tax affairs of a sports team – and shows how a striving for transitory success has severely distorted sporting, legal and ethical boundaries.

“Displaying focused contempt for those who evade difficult truths, and beating almost every Scottish football journalist to the real story – Rangers Tax-Case shows how expertise and incisive writing can expose the hypocrisies the powerful use to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions.

It is a worthy winner which not only proves that independent blogging is as healthy as it ever was, but also offers a mirror in which our times are reflected.’

I have added the emphases.

This shows that the story is beyond the west of Scotland bubble – national recognition is entirely deserved.

And not just RTC, but Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, Paul Brennan, Alex Thomson and Mark Daly, not to mention many wise commenters and posters on websites, including those who make their contributions here…every one of you deserves credit for showing that big news stories can still get out, even if there is a deliberate or uncoscious wish to keep them under wraps.

Tonight maybe marks a watershed, or even a Wattereus, where the recognittion given to RTC combined with the BBC programme might ensure that sporting intergrity and values triumph over mere money.

There is a lot to write about, and I will get some thoughts up soon. Other pressing matters need my attention first, but I will make sure I post some thoughts…

HERE…

SOON…

Posted by Paul McConville

6 Comments

Filed under BBC, Blogging, Rangers