The #Rangers Response to The Times on Tax Investigations, Richard Hughes and Zeus Partners

After last night’s piece in The Times suggesting that Zeus Partners, a business run by Richard Hughes of Zeus Capital, was under investigation with a view to possible prosecution of unnamed parties, there has been extensive debate, not least here on this blog, about what, if anything, this means for Rangers.

The sub-editor who prepared the headline to the article may have over-egged the pudding slightly. To be fair, the article did not suggest any wrong-doing on the part of Rangers but, with a share issue on the way, and with the highly publicised troubles the previous company had with tax issues, it was undoubtedly an embarrassment which Mr Green and his cohorts would rather have done without.

As one would expect, there was a response from within Ibrox. It is only fair to re-produce it here. My comments are in bold.

———————————————-

The Board of The Rangers Football Club has issued the following statement today:

It reads: “The Board wishes to express its dismay over articles in The Times newspaper today which implies the Club is “in fresh trouble” with HM Revenue and Customs in relation to an investor in the Club. This is categorically not the case and the Chairman of the Club has written to The Times on this matter.

“The Rangers Football Club has no outstanding issues with HMRC and indeed the current management have an open and transparent dialogue with HMRC and, in particular, through our auditors and reporting accountants, Deloitte.

One would hope that, as a brand new company with less than six months’ existence, it would not have had time to run into difficulties with the tax man yet (or indeed at all)! Open and transparent dialogue with HMRC is a good thing. Long may that continue.

 

“The historic tax issues affecting Rangers (RFC 2012 Ltd which is now in liquidation) are well documented.

Well documented, although one will not find too much about them on the archive pages of the Rangers website!

Maybe, once the FTT reports, I can frame a book round it, thus documenting the Rangers EBT issue in no more than 2,000 pages. 🙂

 

“These issues, notably surrounding the EBT scheme, will continue to receive much media coverage, but have no bearing upon the ongoing operation of the football club and its intention to list as a public company.

The tax issues will have no direct bearing on the football club and the intention of floating. However, indirectly, they will, on the basis that they form part of the debt being pursued by the liquidators, BDO. Their inquiries, investigations, and right to challenge any alleged gratuitous alienation, could impact on the newco. It might not affect the fans who buy shares, but could discourage institutional investors.

However, as Mr Green has predicted a 400% profit for investors at this stage, I am sure such concerns would be dismissed by the money managers with millions at their control. After all, a little embarrassment is worthwhile if it can be traded for a four-fold profit!

 

“We wish to reiterate that Mr Richard Hughes has no involvement in the management of the club, nor is he a director.

The Times did not suggest he had such a role. Instead, he was described as an important shareholder.

And although he may have no role in the management of the company, two of his colleagues, or former colleagues, Imran Ahmad and Brian Stockbridge, are directors of Rangers. They remain listed on the Zeus Capital website as of today.

 

“Richard Hughes or his company Zeus Capital, both FSA regulated, are a minority investor.

One would have thought that Rangers would know who the shareholder was – after all, the shares cannot be transferred in a private limited company without the Board’s agreement.

It is true to say that Mr Hughes/Zeus is a minority shareholder. However that is in the sense of not being the majority owner, rather than someone with a handful of shares for sentimental reasons.

 

“The Club does not have an existing relationship with Zeus Partners, which is also named in The Times as being part of an HMRC inquiry.

No one, including The Times, suggested that there was a current relationship with Zeus Partners. The specifics of the response lead to a simple question. If no existing relationship with Zeus Partners, has there been one which ios now concluded?

 

“It would be inappropriate for The Rangers Football Club to comment further on either the private and professional affairs of Mr Hughes, or the commercial activities of Zeus Partners or Zeus Capital.”

So the statement does not deny, as would have been very difficult, that there are dealings with Zeus Capital.

One must admire the speed of the Board’s rebuttal, not letting the grass grow on the story. However, the issues with Rangers over recent years, and the proximity of a share issue not unreasonably raise concerns when allegations are made, however tenuous, of financial “chicanery”.

There was no comment in the statement on the allegation in the Times piece that Mr Hughes stood to make millions from the floatation. Perhaps that was because that would be seen as the private or professional affairs of Mr Hughes!

I wonder how pleasant the next partners’ meeting of Zeus Capital will be, if Mr Ahmad and Mr Stockbridge have to raise with the boss of Zeus the effect, if any, this news might have on the share flotation.

———————-

And talking of tenuous connections, and indeed one which is undoubtedly a coincidence, as well as this Richard Hughes, there are a number of others of that name listed on the FSA Register. One of Mr Hughes’ namesakes is a financial adviser with Merchant House Financial Services – Merchant House being closely connected with the erstwhile owner, Mr Whyte!

 

Posted by Paul McConville

Advertisements

37 Comments

Filed under Charles Green, HMRC, Rangers

37 responses to “The #Rangers Response to The Times on Tax Investigations, Richard Hughes and Zeus Partners

  1. Marching on Together

    “One would have thought that Rangers would know who the shareholder was” The shares may be held by nominees, so Rangers quite possibly might not know who the beneficial owners actually are.

    • ecojon

      @ Marching on Together

      It has been made clear by Green in public that the due diligence done on the shareholding was to establish the beneficial ownership of trusts investing but that doesn’t mean for example that you would know who had actually invested the money and once you are into a web of companies, especially when off-shored, it becomes nigh impossible to follow the trail.

      Of course secrecy is the reason for many to set-up trusts and go offshore.

      The two biggest blocs of shareholding in Rangers are Blue Pitch Holdings supposedly with Middle Eastern investors and the Maragrita Holding Trust in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

      • Marching on Together

        Agreed. If I was going to be a major investor in Rangers (I am not), not sure I would want my details known to the loony hordes at Ibrox.

  2. As per usual, an absolute joy to read.

    Paul, your subtle and frankly disarming tone of curious intellect will only serve to bamboozle those who wish to remain uneducated in their finer understanding of the complexities of Sevco’s investment structure.
    However, for those who wish to envisage and to speculate over the ‘devil in the detail’, this once more is a literary masterpiece.

    I truly believe that the statements prepared by Sevco for public consumption, added to being intentionally vague, will only serve to heighten the desire of greater minds than they to dig deeper into their web of deceit.

    I do however wonder if the ever vocal Mr Green, what with his egotisical ways, will be quite so calculated in filtering the information at the heart of all this vagueness. Put under pressure and being interviewed, nae ‘cross-examined’ by an experienced campaigner, I could foresee Mr Green to struggle with such matters.

    He personally, unlike the accumlative wisdom of his investment vehicle, may very well be in danger of saying too much.

  3. JohnBhoy

    Ordinarily a company would direct its dismay towards the alleged conduct of the investor under investigation. With Rangers it’s the messenger that gets the boot.

  4. Davy

    Why has it taken so long to put all the jigsaw pieces together.It is hardly an Enigma of bletchely park proportions

  5. lordmac

    with Bomber brown out the way, the Blue Knights out the way,Johnston, Greg, McClelland, Bain, King, and JardIne, is there any team players left that had Rangers best interest at Heart.
    maybe they are the defenders of the old co, that don’t cost much to support. all those legends not having shares in the new co will not look to good in the eyes of the Rangers support. if this share issue cant extract, money out of there pockets, that should tell us all that its a sham.

  6. Davy

    The penny should have dropped when whyte fought in the court on a friday afternoon to have D&P installed as administrators when HMRC said their was a major conflict of interest.Why has it taken this long to finally admit their was a major problem and that all associated with the collapse of Rangers were linked and still are linked directly or indirectly.I have to admire this site for pursuing what was glaringly obvious to a number of observers

    great work and very professional

  7. Budweiser

    @PAUL

    Correlation doesn’t= cause and effect. When will you learn/

    • The silver fhox

      At no time has Paul said that it does!

    • JohnBhoy

      The issue of cause and effect is wholly irrelevant at this stage. A dodgy club and a geezer under investigation have a relationship. That fact has made the headlines in the national press. And that’s bad news in anybody’s book.

      Repeating statistical mumbo jumbo ad infinitum brings nothing to the table. Will you never learn?

      • Ernesider

        And dodgy geezers seem to have the same affinity for Rangers as dung beetles for cow shite. However they may differ from dung beetles who have the beneficial effect of cleaning up the aforementioned excretia.

    • Ernesider

      Budweiser

      @PAUL

      Correlation doesn’t= cause and effect

      ” Correlations are useful because they can indicate a predictive relationship that can be exploited in practice.”
      (Wikipedia)

      I hope I am not being presumptuous in suggesting that this quotation reflects Paul’s point of view

      • Budweiser

        @Ernsider. Johnbhoy, The silver fhox.

        Apologies all. Mea culpa. I was intending to be tongue in cheek and should have added a lol. Imo the sentence is mumbo jumbo .Sorry for any misunderstanding.

  8. John Burns

    The paragraph in Alexi Mostrous’s piece that should worry all the Sevconians is the following: “Mr Hughes stands to make millions of pounds when Rangers floats on the stockmarket before Christmas”

    I think I know how the vast majority of Celtic fans would react if our club was being taken over by these people, however the herd seems to be accepting of anyone who keeps the lights on and “the big hoose open”

    They deserve all that is coming to them – “what goes around…etc”

  9. portpower

    Description: The octopus is that funny looking creature with eight arms. Actually, the right word for an octopus’s arm is a tentacle. The tentacle’s are covered with suckers that help the octopus move around. The octopus is very good at moving around. They can escape water and even live in the air for a little while. The octopus can also raise its eyes above its body, kind of like a submarine periscope. If these creatures feel threatened, they squirt black ink that hides them and helps them to escape. Octopus come in many sizes and colors. There are many different kinds and that`s the bottom line.

  10. ecojon

    I found the previous topic really interesting with the emergence of posters arguing that Richard Hughes was only a minority shareholder and therefore of little account as far as Rangers was concerned and basically decrying the Times piece.

    It came as no surprise to read the Rangers official statement when it came as they had only been echoing the official line. As on other occasions when this kind of PR activity has been noticeable the TU and TD really are worth analysing with regard to certain posters and their responses.

    It’s as if the anonymous pro-Rangers posters are being paid on winning the Thumbs War. It could all be laughable but it is much too serious for that as it shows what a game of deceit is being played by the forces of Darkness and I do not include any Bears in that comment but the hired hands of those spivs who intend to rip-off the Bears in the flotation which may or may not come to pass.

    There is a lot of money at stake here as evidenced by the frenzied activity. What is worth remembering is that Richard Hughes – Mr Nobody according to the Ibrox official statement – is the co-founder of Zeus Capital which D&P contacted in February to see if they were interested in buying Rangers.

    Zeus Capital brought Chico onboard as the front man for their consortium of investors who helped raise the cash to buy the oldco assets. They put two Zeus directors on the Rangers Board to look after their interests – including the Zeus MD – and four Zeus directors invested £4.5 million in Rangers making them the biggest single shareholding bloc.

    However we don’t know how much Zeus the company and its associates invested on top of this figure – all we know from the Zeus Capital website is that the company and associates did invest but they have not been identified or the amount specified. So we cannot tell the shareholding power actually wielded through Zeus connected shareholders.

    But Rangers asks us to treat Mr Hughes as a minority shareholder just the same as an individual Bear with £500 of shares.

    Oh Really? Well this Glaswegian didnae come up the Clyde oan a watter biscuit 🙂

    • Excellent Ecojon (and Paul, as ever). Having just spent a week back in Glasgow it makes me even more of the opinion that this whole sorry saga will not be properly dealt with until it is presented properly to the ‘dark side’ by the UK-wide, London-based media – so the Times article is to be welcomed if only just for that fact. (Even if it is hilarious to think that a Times article would be discussed much at Ibrox.)

      On the other hand I am gobsmacked that the Ibrox spin doctors have replied to the article such a vague and amateurish way. Serious investors would expect to see a much more professional handling of such news – the reply given just makes them look weak. Or maybe Green, who so many people see as the ‘master salesman’, should have at least come out strongly with something that would have been seen as nipping any disadvantageous publicity in the bud.

      But then again, perhaps
      a) he really doesn’t have an answer (in which case they should have just kept their mouths shut) and/or
      b) he and his consortium really are just shysters.

      Can’t wait to see who’s listed as backers in the prospectus – anyone know when this document will be sent out to all those obviously serious people who have shown an interest to the tune of £17m? Maybe there’s a hasty reprint going on right now…

  11. portpower

    I tip my hat off to you ecojon. This is becoming an OH&S(occupational health and safety) issue. There comes a time to send in the fireman
    with all these smoke screens. From now on ecojon you shall be known as
    ECOJON the DICHOTOMOUS PERSON. Keep them honest mate. They don`t just want to own the pint of milk in your fridge they want all the cows in the field.

  12. JohnBhoy

    The Story of the Wee-Free Bears and Murray Bear, Craigie Bear and Charlie Bear…

    Wee-Free Bears: La-la-la-la.
    Internet Owls: Knock-knock. Murray Bear has eaten up all your honey!
    Wee-Free Bears: La-la-la-la. We-are-the-bears! We-are-the-bears!
    Internet Owls: Knock-knock. Craigie Bear has no honey!
    Wee-Free Bears: La-la-la-la. We-are-the-bears! We-are-the-bears!
    Internet-Owls: Knock-knock. Oh no, Charlie Bear is not a Bear! He’s a
    Big Bad Wolf! He wants to take all your cookies and sell
    your big house for honey!
    Wee-Free Bears: La-la-la-la. We-are-the-bears! We-are-the-bears!
    Legal-Eagles: You in there! This is the police! You are trespassing.

    …The Wee-Free Bears all went away to live in the forest and were never seen again.

    • Maggie

      @JohnBhoy
      Another winner! How DO you think them up?

      • JohnBhoy

        I cannot take the credit for this Maggie. Don’t get me wrong because I’m pleased with my words, absolutely, but readers expect to see words to be completely honest with you. I won’t name names, but I need to alter my expectations, absolutely, and I won’t change them to be completely honest with you, but Ali Bumbler and the Forty Thieves are such an inspiration.

  13. ecojon

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/rangers-insist-hmrc-probe-into-investor-1414246

    Not had a chance to check the papers yet but had a look at the Record – just the usual useless non-investigative pap.

    No mention of the role of Zeus in actually buying Rangers, no mention of the two Zeus directors on the Board, no mention of the other shareholding held by 3 Zeus connected directors amounting to £2.35 million which is additional to the £2.2 million held by Richard Hughes.

    It’s almost as if this guy Hughes has been teleported from Planet Zog to play a cameo role in the Rangers Panto – and the season is nigh upon us – and then beamed back-up leaving no trace of him behind at Ibrox.

    Hughes was the co-founder of Zeus and, as such, would have played a pivotal role in deciding whether to buy Rangers assets when D&P the Rangers adminstrators approached Zeus in February to see if they wanted to buy the collapsed Ibrox club.

    He and other Zeus directors invested £4.55 million; Chico was hired as their Yorkshire mouthpiece, made CEO and put on the board; two Zeus directors were added to the board which meant 3 out of 4 Board members had direct connections with Zeus.

    Obviously the Daily Record – The Muted Voice of Scotland – felt there was no need to tell a wider story rather than regurgitate a succulent lamb PR press release.

    ——————————————————————————————

    ADDENDUM

    Much has been made in the PR release of the fact that Richard Hughes is a minority shareholder in Rangers ( holding 6.8% of the shares valued at £2.2 million) which might make him appear fairly unimportant because he isn’t the majority shareholder and therefore wouldn’t be guaranteed to win a shareholding vote.

    What hasn’t being explained is that minority shareholders often form alliances for voting purposes which can give them the majority in a vote. As I mentioned above we have no idea how many shares exist with a connection to Zeus or Zeus Associates so it is difficult to know what a combined % might be. However we do know that Imran Ahmad Listed on the Zeus Capital website as MD of the company also holds £2.2 million in shareholding – so he also has 6.8% of the Rangers shares.

    Now concentrate here as things can get a little confused. Ahmad is still listed as MD of Zeus although chico said a few weeks ago that he had left his position with Zeus.

    The departure quite surprised me as Ahmad apparently was the man Zeus tasked with investigating and organising the Rangers asset purchase and was then put on the Rangers Board along with Zeus director Brian Stockbridge, presumably to keep an eye on the Zeus business interest in Rangers.

    But after the shareholders list was made public it showed that Ahmad and Hughes between them had a £4.4 million shareholding which equated to 13.6% of the total shareholding. Now 10% becomes a bit of a magic number when it comes to company shareholding and possibly a fellow bampot could explain that much more consisely than I 🙂

    But it did make me wonder whether Ahmad’s announced departure from Zeus removed any perception that Zeus Capital, in effect, held or could be inferred to exercise control over more than 10% of the Rangers shareholding.

    I infer no wrongdoing in anyone and I am sure if my thoughts happen to be anywhere near correct that again infers no wrongdoing but rather a lehitimate reason as to why certain steps were taken.

    However over to those who understand these matters much better than myself and I am happy to stand corrected if my thinking is faulty.

  14. JohnBhoy

    Imrad Ahmed, Rangers’ commercial director and managing director of Zeus Capital, on Richard Hughes: “I couldn’t have completed the Rangers deal without Richard”.

    Richard Hughes also has over 2 million shares in Rangers.

    If that level of contribution makes someone a bit player in Charlie’s kingdom, what hope for the ordinary fans?

    • COYBIG

      @JimBhoy

      To the best of my knowledge, all of The Rangers’ games this season, have been officiated by grade 1 referees, and have had 4th officials. Unlike other Division 3 games. I guess some people don’t let the facts get in the way of a ‘good’ story.

      As far as Ian Black moaning about bad tackles goes, that’s like Michelle McManus telling someone they need to lose weight. He thought he would boss Division 3, but that’s clearly not been the case. And for anyone wondering about his altercation with the fans, he told them to “Fuck off!”

      And, if likewise comments from other players/coaches are anything to go by. Then Black should be getting called up by the SFL. I wonder if it will happen tho.

      Oh, and Hugh Keevins. A man who was disgusted at a banner that depicted a zombie being shot, and a parody of Mad Men. He now thinks it’s OK to write about blood being all over the walls. What a difference a month makes, eh?

  15. JohnBhoy

    I see the Thumbs Down Mob are back in town.

  16. TheBlackKnight TBK

    seems to me “Jack” is either not doing his job, no longer engaged or hasn’t been paid. (and we know Jack always gets paid)

    I expect a few more leaks to come out if that is the case. 😉

  17. robertg

    Bit slow here, but £2.2m for 6.8% says the whole pile is worth £32m and change. Since the assets haven’t even had a coat of paint (although a load of ‘free assets’ in the form of players have been added but with a corrsponding obligation to overpay them for their services), have the Sevconians not just shot off another few toes here with the arrival of BDO just round the corner?

    And Martin C, thumbs down for posting a link to a site that needs a subscription to read it.

    Lastly, anyone else got the mental image of the bears scowling over the Evening Timestrying to find the article to rage about?

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