Why It’s Nonsense to Say “Rangers Won the Tax Case So the SPL Should Drop Its “Witch-Hunt”!”

The First Tier Tax Tribunal decision which was issued during the week, and which can be found here, was a surprise to many. The decision was a majority one and the dissenting opinion was based on an entirely different interpretation of the law. In light of the National Audit Office report published coincidentally this week, and about which I wrote a couple of days ago, criticising HMRC for its failure to deal properly with avoidance cases, I would now expect there to be an appeal, despite my original view being different.

This piece though is about the relationship between the FTT and the SPL Independent Commission under Lord Nimmo Smith.

Surely, comes the cry from many in the media, and from supporters of Rangers, the SPL Commission must be abandoned? After all, goes the argument, the FTT decided that Rangers were not guilty of anything. How can the SPL Independent Commission arrive at a conclusion which is different?

The short answer is that it can, but as my regular reader knows, I don’t generally do short answers.

To consider the question properly, we need to look at the questions each panel is looking at.

What Was the FTT Considering?

This is answered at Paragraph 3 of the FTT decision.

“It is the tax implications as affecting the benefits to the employees which fall to be considered. In effect the issue is whether the payments into trust or the benefits taken by the employee fall to be taxed as emoluments of their employment, with PAYE and NIC liabilities arising for the employer.”

So the question was not whether these sums were received by the employee – there is no doubt that they were – but whether, under the labyrinthine Income Tax rules, the sums paid counted as emoluments or earnings and thus were liable to Income Tax under Schedule E.

The majority opinion was that they were not, whilst the dissenting opinion was that they were.

At Paragraph 220, the majority said:-

Thus we cannot accede to Mr Thomson’s proposition that payment of monies into the trust represents payment of emoluments or earnings. We do not consider that the trust structure and loans can be disregarded or their legal effects elided and we elaborate on this in the context of Ramsay in the succeeding paragraphs. There was not an absolute transfer of funds from employer to employee on that view, and hence PAYE and NIC liabilities do not result.

At Paragraph 231 the majority continued:-

The trust/loan scheme is essentially straightforward. It does not include a complicated sequence of stages. The extent of the employer’s obligation is to make a payment into trust. The trust structure and loans bear to be of legal effect. Loans were discretionary although in fact they were (almost) invariably granted. But that was the extent of the employee’s benefit. Whether the arrangement is viewed commercially or legalistically, the inexorable conclusion, in our view, is that the payments into trust became a loan and no more. They were not paid over absolutely and so do not become earnings or emoluments.

Therefore, the question was whether these “payments”, which they undoubtedly were, were “emoluments or earnings” for tax purposes. The majority decision was that they were not.

What Is The SPL Independent Commission Considering?

Rule 4.5 of the SFA’s Registration Procedure Rules provides inter alia:-

“All payments to be made to a player relating to his playing activities must be clearly recorded upon the relevant contract and/or agreement. No payments for his playing activities may be made to a player via a third party”.

The Commission described the EBTs as follows:-

“Payments made by or for [Oldco] into an employee benefit trust or trusts for the benefit of Players, including the Specified Players, employed by [Oldco] as Professional Players, Registered and/or to be Registered as Professional Players with the Scottish Premier League  and Playing and/or to Play for Rangers FC in the Scottish Premier League and payments made by or for [Oldco] into a sub-trust or sub-trusts of such trust or trusts of which such Players were beneficiaries, payments by such trust or trusts and/or sub-trust or sub-trusts to such Players and/or for the benefit of such Players and any and all arrangements, agreements and/or undertakings and the like or similar relating to or concerning any of such Players and payments.”

The charges allege that Oldco and Rangers FC breached the relevant Rules of the SPL, and those of the SFA, by failing to record EBT payments and arrangements in the contracts of service of the Specified Players and/or other Players and by failing to notify them to the SPL and the SFA.   There is one Issue directed only against Rangers FC, alleging that the club was in breach of the Rules by playing ineligible players.  The fourth chapter alleges that during the period from 15 March 2012 Oldco and Rangers FC failed to co-operate and to respond to requests for documents.

You will notice that the words “emoluments” or “earnings” do not appear in the definitions as regards football’s rules.

Instead the crux of the matter has two elements:-

  • were payments “to a player relating to his playing activities” recorded in the contract notified to the SFA/SPL; and
  • were payments to a player for “playing activities” made by a third party?

A finding that payments were NOT recorded, or that payments were made by a third party would constitute a “guilty” verdict.

Is the Independent Commission Bound To Accept the FTT Evidence?

No. There will be some duplication of evidence, particularly of documentation, but Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues will not, I suspect, be panning on spending almost a full month hearing the case (although they will sit for that long if needed).

There are likely to be witnesses, but nowhere near the multi-coloured numbers seen at the FTT.

The SPL Commission could reject evidence of a witness which had been accepted by the FTT. Partly this is because the FTT was not in agreement regarding all of the witnesses, and indeed the majority opinion makes surprisingly little reference to the witnesses.

The cases are looking at different issues. It is like a driver who faces a criminal charge of careless driving. He and other witnesses give evidence in the trial, and he is found not guilty. However, he has been sued by the other party in the accident, and the civil case continues with the same witnesses giving evidence of required, because the two hearings are deciding different issues, although based on the same factual matrix.

The Commission could reject evidence accepted by the majority, and indeed by all, of the Tax Tribunal.

Did The FTT Hear Any Evidence Which Bears on the Issues?

What are we looking for?

We are seeking evidence of:-

PAYMENTS for FOOTBALLING ACTIVITIES made to players, and whether or not these were declared to the football authorities; and

PAYMENTS for FOOTBALLING ACTIVITIES made to players by THIRD PARTIES.

I have copied the relevant extracts from the judgement, both from the majority and dissenting opinions, and they can be found, at length at the foot of this piece. I take the evidence as referred to by the FTT in order of the witnesses referred to. The reader will be aware that the judgement was anonymised.

Remember, the SPL Independent Commission is NOT concerned with the intricacies of the tax legislation. Instead, as Lord Hoffman said, and as was quoted by Dr Poon, the meaning of the word “payment” is dependent on the context within which it is found.

It is not disputed that many Rangers players over a ten-year period received loans, all but one of which has never had a penny repaid.

There is no doubt that Rangers and MIH entered into these schemes to reduce their tax bill, and to be able to sign players they would otherwise have been unable to afford. There is no suggestion that these EBTs were established for any purpose other than avoiding tax. This is in the same way as many of the celebrities who bought forests in Scotland in the 1980’s and who have invested in film companies over the last few years were not enthused by a love for arboriculture or cinematography, but were looking to gain tax advantages.

If it is accepted that these players have received payments, as I submit it must, then are these for footballing activities?

I suggest that the presumption has to be that footballers are paid for footballing activities, unless the contrary can be shown. It was not, for example, a charitable decision by Rangers to lend money to indigent and itinerant footballers from all over Europe!

As the evidence detailed below makes very clear, there was a deliberate decision by Rangers not to notify the SFA/SPL of these arrangements. Nor, as pointed out by Dr Poon, was there any effort to ask the football authorities what should be done.

A sceptic might ask what is wrong with a team lending its player money. There are a number of issues.

One is that a loan which has never to be re-paid is not, in the real world, a loan but a gift.

Secondly, the law already has, in the context of taxation of income, strict rules to regulate the tax advantages given to an employee by receiving a “soft loan”. In fact, it was the existence of that regime which persuaded the majority not to take the Ramsay approach and to look behind the formalities. The clear implication of their decision is that, without the “soft loan” regime being enshrined in legislation they could have treated the “loans” as emoluments or earnings. (Which is not to say that they would have, but that they could have.)

Thirdly, if loans by football clubs to players did not have to be declared, then this would allow unscrupulous owners to lower their wage bill, on paper, and this too could assist their players if fined, as their weekly salary would be far less.

Therefore, it seems very clear to me that numerous Rangers players were paid millions of pounds as part of a scheme to reduce the tax bill of their employers, and that these payments, which were not in the contracts disclosed to the SFA/SPL, amount to a breach of the rule.

Let’s look for a minute at the situation where Rangers say ”Lord Nimmo Smith, with the greatest of respect, we did not pay our players anything over and above their contracts. Instead, we funded a Trust which in turn set up various sub-trusts and it was the independent Trustees of those sub-trusts who paid the money to the players. Effectively they were borrowing from their families”.

Does that not suggest that these are payments for footballing activities coming from a third party?

As Mr Thornhill, Rangers/MIH’s eminent and excellent QC submitted, referred to by the majority:-

“What was the legal reality created in each case? In the case of footballer’s side-letters, these were contractual. They were part of the remuneration package. The Tribunal, Mr Thornhill submitted, had to decide what legal relationships had been created especially under the Remuneration Trust.”

I have added the emphasis. The case is open and shut, surely? If the Tribunal only had regard to the extracts I have posted below, then I find it hard, without twisting the meaning of words in a way of which Lewis Carroll’s characters would have been proud, for it to reach anything other than a “guilty” verdict.

What Will Happen?

On the face of it, with Mr Green and Duff & Phelps having refused to participate in the process, the Commission would gather in January and the Commission members would have to act as “contradictors”.

Might Mr Green change his mind and send his lawyers into battle?

The problem is that that would be seen by some as surrender by him to the “corrupt” SPL. As I have said repeatedly, it makes it very difficult to argue with the result where you have refused to take the field of play.

The tactics are clear. The spin-meisters are out in force with the line that a win in the Big Tax Case = vindication by this Commission.

The question is whether the SPL decides to back down by withdrawing the charges, or if it keeps going into a hurricane of negative press coverage. After all, the SFA was meant to reconvene the Carloway Appellate Tribunal to sign off on the disciplinary processes resolved earlier this year. That never happened.

There is every chance, I suggest, that the resolve of the SPL gets worn away by the unremitting waves of ill-informed and inaccurate invective which will continue up to the Commission sits. However, having declared that a prima facie case had been made out, and with Rangers refusing to participate, it is hard to see how it could back down with any credibility intact.

At a point when there are baying hordes (metaphorically) of Rangers supporters chasing after RTC and demanding that he be identified and gaoled; that all of the poress who reported the case be forced to apologise and be sued; and that the justified awards won by RTC and Mark Daly be stripped, one remembers one of the prime motives for RTC starting his/her/their blog – that the media coverage in Scotland of issues surrounding Rangers was generally of a very poor standard, as summed up in the phrase “succulent lamb”.

There is no doubt that it is back on the menu, and with all of the trimmings!

Posted by Paul McConville

Please note – nothing I say above implies nor should be taken as suggesting that the former Rangers directors and management engaged in cheating or deceit. However, the SPL Commission case is simply about whether or not they followed the rules. For ten years, it appears to me that they did not.

Extracts from the FTT Judgement

 

Mr Red, A Senior Member Of The MIH Group’s Tax Function

Para 9 – “He accepted that it (the Trust) had the attraction of providing a larger sum for the employee and his family given the savings in PAYE and NIC liabilities. It served to incentivise the employees.”

Para 11 – “Football players had tended to be recruited on the basis of a “net of tax” package. Part was a wage/payroll payment subject to PAYE and NIC, and the balance a payment tax-free into trust which (ordinarily) could be accessed by means of a loan agreement with the Trustee, which was recorded in a separate “side-letter” entered into at the same time as the player’s contract. … (The side-letter) did not in his view have to be disclosed as part of the player’s remuneration package to the football authorities. It was not a financial entitlement, he insisted, nor did it represent, in his view, a payment to a player.”

Para 15 – “Crucially the mechanism of the Trust and sub-trusts provided a cheaper way to produce a certain net amount. Mr Red strove to argue that the employee (including the footballers) did not elect between a payroll payment, made net of tax, and a trust “benefit”.”

Mr Yellow, A Member Of The Senior Management Team Of MIH

Para 17 – “He conceded the description of (the Trust) as “tax avoidance” and agreed that it offered tax advantages.”

Mr Violet, A Former Rangers Manager

Para 27 – “Mr Violet explained that he had received from Rangers in addition to his contract of employment, a separate document in respect of “his” sub-trust. His concern was in securing a satisfactory overall financial “package”. He understood in general terms that he could access monies in the sub-trust by way of loan and that ordinarily the Trustee would be agreeable to this. He had used the loan facility and had not expected to have to make repayment during his lifetime. He did in fact make a repayment of £82,000 on one occasion. This had enabled the Trustees to purchase a holiday flat in Scotland.”

Para 28 – “Mr Grey had advised Mr Violet to seek a tax indemnity from Rangers in respect of trust benefits, which was granted.”

Para 29 – “His annual salary there was disclosed as £560,000. He was asked whether that sum coincidentally represented his basic pay plus the grossed up (or “pre-tax”) value of the Trust benefits. Mr Violet seemed to think that it was his salary exclusive of loan benefits. (The terms of his contract included potentially substantial bonuses).”

Mr Grey, A Solicitor Specialising In Football Agency Work And Sports Law

Para 31 – “Mr Grey confirmed that the SFA requires disclosure of the terms of a footballer’s contract but that does not extend, as he understands, to payments from a remuneration trust. While payments from the player’s Club must be disclosed, including benefits in kind such as cars and accommodation, benefits from Third Parties, such as a sports company, need not. However, there is no formal SFA ruling in respect of remuneration trust benefits.”

Para 32 – “He acknowledged that the use of the remuneration trust enabled the Club to negotiate a more beneficial deal in as much as PAYE and NIC liabilities were mitigated.”

Para 33 – “Mr Grey spoke also to his negotiation of a contract for Mr Purple with Rangers. The aspects of basic wage, bonus and appearance money were discussed. … The concluding offer by Rangers was of two elements, half in salary and half in benefit form from the Remuneration Trust. The contract providing for the salary and a separate document, referred to as a “side-letter”, bore the same date. His client was interested in the total global figure. Mr Grey did not consider that the terms of the “side-letter” required to be disclosed to the SFA. It did not represent a benefit from the Club.”

Para 35 – “… in response to questions from the Tribunal Mr Grey indicated that when dealing with Rangers, he had never experienced having to advise his clients on an option between a trust benefit and an alternative “net of tax” payment. The opportunity to play for Rangers represented an important career development for his clients, and the financial “package” in totality was usually irresistible.” (Emphasis added)

Mr Black, Who Provided Strategic Guidance To The Individual Companies In MIH

Para 36 – “(The Trust) was valuable in incentivising employees in providing larger sums for their and their families’ benefit in view of the tax savings. Mr Black did not consider the Trust as a means of tax avoidance, but rather as a means of retaining and rewarding loyal employees. So far as Rangers was concerned it enabled the Club to attract players who would not otherwise have been obtainable.” (Emphasis added)

Para 38 – “At the start of each football season he would meet with his manager to decide on which players might be possible recruits. The manager would have an approved budget for this purpose. The selected player would be offered a contract incorporating standard SFA terms and in favoured cases also a “side-letter” in respect of possible Trust benefits.”

Mrs Crimson, A Director Of Trident, Managing Trustee Of The Remuneration Trust And Sub-Trusts Relating To The Murray Group

Para 44 – “She understood that the Murray Group had become dissatisfied with Equity’s (the previous Trustee’s) hesitation in certain cases to advance unsecured loans to the recommended “beneficiaries” out of the relative sub-trust’s funds. She explained that Trident was prepared to be more amenable to such requests.”

Para 45 – “She maintained that it was reasonable to advance a loan of an amount up to the applicant’s payroll wage.”

Mr Silver, A Spanish Football Agent

Para 49 – “Mr Silver acted on behalf of Mr Inverness in 2004 when he joined Rangers. He explained the remuneration “package” which he had concluded on his client’s behalf. It comprised a salary of £130,000 per annum, a guaranteed bonus of £100,000, and a variety of other benefits. In addition the “package” included possible inclusion in the Remuneration Trust for a “recommended” amount of £118,000. The negotiation was not lengthy: the package was proposed on a “take it or leave it” basis. …In response to the Tribunal Mr Silver insisted that any benefit from the Remuneration Trust was a distinct matter: it could not be exchanged for another benefit. While the £118,000 benefit was expected, it was not 100% certain.”

Mr Gold, A Former Rangers Player, Now Assistant Coach For A National Age-Group Football Team

Para 51 – “(He) gave evidence of the re-negotiation of his employment contract with the Club. In addition to his original salary being continued, contributions to the Trust would be made totalling £500,000. These again would be held in trust. Mr Gold was content with the offer and did not seek to re-negotiate its terms.”

Mr Purple, Works In The Media And Formerly A Professional Footballer

Para 52 – “His contract was negotiated by Mr Grey and then subsequently re-negotiated at a time when the Trust was in use. A major change then was that half of the “consideration” would be paid into the Trust but could be accessed by way of loan arrangement.”

Mr Indigo, A Board Member Of Rangers Since 2000

Para 59 – “He acknowledged that he was aware of the overall content of arrangements made with players and did not consider these to be “secret”. He believed that the Trust had been used to pay appearance money and bonuses.” (Emphasis added)

Mr Magenta, CA Who Worked On Football Administration Matters Within Rangers

Para 64 – “At that stage he was not involved in negotiations with football players and his understanding of the Trust’s purpose was that of making tax efficient payments to them. Initially the trust mechanism had been used to make bonus payments, securing (only) a NIC advantage.”

Para 65 – “From 2004, Mr Magenta had become involved in negotiating players’ contracts and explaining the Trust’s functions to them. Mr Black would negotiate a broad agreement in principle but which was not legally binding. Mr Magenta’s task was negotiating a “deal” in finalised form, usually incorporating a salary (liable to PAYE and NIC) and an additional trust provision, benefiting the player’s family and affording loan facilities to him. This had tax advantages of reducing PAYE liabilities, yet provided the same total net benefit to the player and his family.” (Emphases added)

Para 66 – “Mr Magenta spoke to documentation setting out the “benefits” payable to players. There was a distinction, he insisted in cross-examination, between contractual payments and payments into trust. He spoke to a series of documents recording these. He insisted that there was no obligation on Rangers to report trust payments to the SFA and in cross-examination maintained that notwithstanding Rule 4 of the SFA regulations a trust payment need not be disclosed to them. Only payments from the footballer’s Club qua employer needed to be registered, he insisted.”

Para 68 – “Mr Magenta was questioned closely about “side-letters” and benefits payable in terms of these. “Side-letters”, he said, were part of the “package” offered to players but were distinct from the player’s contract. The “side-letters”, Mr Magenta insisted, did not have to be disclosed to the football authorities. The SFA rules did not extend to payments from third parties, and this, in accordance with an earlier decision by the Club, would include any trust benefits as being distinct from payments in terms of the player’s contract.” (Emphases added)

Mr Scarlet, A Senior Official At Rangers

Para 72 – “In his negotiations with players for Rangers Mr Scarlet worked with Mr Magenta. He would be involved in finalising precise contractual terms after an  outline “package” had been negotiated with Mr Black. The value of a sub-trust arrangement was, he would explain, that contributions to it could be made free of charges under PAYE and NIC. These contributions in full could then be made available by loan to the player. Larger sums effectively could be released and the term of a loan extended.”

Para 73 – “According to Mr Scarlet the precise contractual terms of a player’s engagement had to take account of bonuses and other benefits such as accommodation and travel expenses. Where a trust contribution was negotiated and a sub-trust proposed, a letter of undertaking would be prepared. … Such arrangements were cheaper for Rangers in view of tax and NIC savings. If trust contributions could be staggered, Mr Scarlet explained, that had cash flow advantages for the Club and also helped to retain the player. Trust contributions, he added, would not be disclosed to the Scottish Football authorities.” (Emphasis added)

Para 79 – “Mr Scarlet was then asked about the matter of “side-letters”. When engaging a player a decision would be made about the total sum to be paid. Mr Scarlet had difficulty in remembering details of the division of this total between payroll and trust payments but acknowledged that there could be 50:50 apportionments between wage/payroll and trust payments. In response to the suggestion that a player’s remuneration was one package, Mr Scarlet explained that there were three components generally – a salary, bonuses and Remuneration Trust benefits. The Remuneration Trust benefit, as Mr Scarlet understood, did not have to be registered with the SFA or SPL. He himself had not been a party to the decision not to register these details.” (Emphasis added)

Para 83 – “In conclusion, Mr Scarlet was pressed about the apparent artificiality of paying players substantial sums via the Trust mechanism, even of amounts exceeding the payroll portion of their benefits. It was noted that players (and Mr Scarlet) had sought and obtained from Rangers indemnities against possible tax liabilities on trust payments.” (Emphasis added)

Inspector 2 For HMRC

Para 98 – “(He) noted also that in instances tax guarantees or indemnities had been granted to players. The terms of other documentation had suggested to him that trust payments were regarded by Rangers as “salary”. Inspector 2 had concluded that there was a degree of artificiality in the arrangements whereby an employee, as “protector” of his own sub-trust, would apply for a loan from the sub-trust a few days in advance of the relative trust deed being executed. Further, there was little evidence of the Trustee’s exercising discretion in relation to the grant of loans. The applicant/employee was not interviewed: his circumstances were not investigated: the loans were often substantial in relation to the employee’s salary. The process of seeking the loan had been initiated by Mr Red, of Murray Group, not, it seemed, by the individual player. In instances where disablement insurance had been negotiated for players, the amount of cover tended to include both direct wage payments and payments into trust.” (Emphasis added)

Majority Findings-in-Fact

Para 103 – (xi) In the case of the Group’s employees other than footballers, they had no contractual right to a bonus.

(xii) In the case of certain footballers the terms of engagement were commonly recorded in two documents, one being a contract of employment, the other being described as a side-letter. The latter would provide ordinarily for the constitution of a sub-trust in name of the footballer. While the SFA required players’ contracts to be registered with it, Rangers did not consider it appropriate to have side-letters registered.”

Mr Thornhill’s Submissions

Para 126 – (With reference to the Sempra case) loans were readily available, on a long-term basis, with a liability to pay interest. An Inheritance Tax advantage was available if the loan remained unpaid at the employee’s death. Each employee had his own fund or “pot” allocated to him and held by the trustees. They were largely co-operative with the company’s wishes. No loan applications were refused. Generally it was not expected that loans would be repaid. If they were, the proceeds would still be held by the trustees for the employee’s family’s benefit. The total indebtedness increased over the years: in one case it exceeded 20 times the employee’s salary.”

Para 127 – “Mr Thornhill noted specifically the principles set out in para 139 of Sempra. Payment takes its meaning from its statutory context. Placing money unreservedly at the disposal of an employee is equivalent to payment. It states in terms – “Bearing in mind the definition of emolument, the placing of a perquisite or profit unreservedly at the disposal of an employee can also be equivalent to payment. However, the concept of payment is a practical, commercial concept and, for the purposes of the PAYE system, payment ordinarily means actual payment, that is a transfer of cash or its equivalent and not merely the discharge of the employer’s obligation to the employee”. Later at para 142 the Special Commissioners refused to accede to HMRC’s invitation to find that the payments by Sempra into trust had been placed unreservedly at the disposal of the employee and that that was equivalent to payment to the employee.”

Para 127 – “The Special Commissioners concluded at para 144 that “… when the [Appellant] made payments to the trusts, no transfer of cash or its equivalent was placed unreservedly at the disposal of the employees. That means that there was no payment by the Appellant of emoluments or earnings giving rise to an obligation to deduct income tax and pay it to the Revenue”.”

Para 128 – “Nor was there a payment of earnings in the footballer cases on the basis of an obligation to make payment into trust with a recommendation to the trustee to set up a sub-trust being fulfilled.”

Para 134 – “Quite simply, the issue was whether funds were put unreservedly at the disposal of the employee. They were not, Mr Thornhill insisted. In the present case – as in Sempra – the loans might be viewed as “soft” loans: they were on attractive terms, unsecured and for substantial sums. But they were not artificial: they were the object of the transaction and the intended end result. “Payment” could not be extended to cover such a loan arrangement.”

Para 139 – “What was the legal reality created in each case? In the case of footballer’s side-letters, these were contractual. They were part of the remuneration package. The Tribunal, Mr Thornhill submitted, had to decide what legal relationships had been created especially under the Remuneration Trust.” (Emphasis added)

Mr Thomson’s Submissions

Para 161 – “Side-letters, of course, had not been registered with the football authorities, the SFA and SPL. The spirit of their rules was that the whole contract terms should be registered. Suspiciously, no evidence was led as to who decided that the benefits in terms of the side-letters should not be registered. Non-registration of side-letters was incompatible with both authorities’ policing and disciplinary powers. For example any fines imposed on players would customarily reflect the disclosed wage. Nondisclosure would thwart the authorities’ powers.”

Para 162 – “Mr Grey had indicated correctly that payments from promotional and other commercial bodies need not be registered, but the side-letter payments, Mr Thomson argued, were not from such a third party but from the Club and for playing football. The Rules required the widest declaration of benefits, he submitted. It seemed that Mr Grey was unaware of the trust being used for “appearance money”, he observed.”

Para 163 – “On any view, Mr Thomson argued, Rangers could have sought a ruling from the SFA or SPL about disclosure of side-letters but, clearly, they had chosen not to do so. There was a conscious decision to conceal their existence, and that extended even to the Club’s auditors. … Significantly, while Rangers granted numerous indemnities in respect of players’ potential tax liabilities, these documents did not refer expressly to side-letters, Mr Thomson added.”

Para 171 – “The monies paid into the trust did not reflect the various companies’ profits. Rather, they reflected obligations in the side-letters issued. A curiously high fraction of a football player’s income was paid via the Trust as compared with payroll.”

Para 178 – “The employees were specifically excluded as beneficiaries of the trust arrangements, yet “soft”, non-commercial loans were granted to them. Loans on such a basis were a breach of trust. Trident operated the Trust as a money machine. No loan requests were ever refused: information about debtors’ ability to repay was never sought, particularly important where interest was discounted and loans were likely to be extended. Mrs Crimson seemed unaware that half of players’ “remuneration” was in certain instances paid via the Trust. Also, she did not appreciate that certain substantial loans were advanced on the occasion of certain players’ employment with Rangers ending, after which their earning capacity (and ability to repay) was likely to diminish.”

Majority Opinion

Para 207 – “Firstly, the arrangements on engagement may be considered. … Characteristically the prospective players and their agents focussed on a net figure. This could be maximised via the trust mechanism, and moreover could only be afforded by the Club that way. A “deal” would be offered by the Club only on a “take it or leave it” basis, which we accept.”

Para 208 – “The format spoken to was of a contract of employment, with remuneration paid subject to PAYE and NIC and additionally a “side-letter” providing for a discretionary trust payment. We consider that the side-letter’s obligation does not amount to an emolument. Again, it falls within the description of “a discharge of an employer’s obligation to an employee”.”

Para 209 – “Finally, Mr Thornhill noted five cases where peculiarly trust payments were made in respect of guaranteed bonuses. These relate to Messrs Selby, Inverness, Doncaster, Barrow, and Furness, as confirmed by his instructing solicitor’s letter of 29 September 2011. The Appellants concede that in these cases there is a sufficient nexus with a contractual right to create a tax liability.”

Dr Poon’s Dissent

Page 62 Para 7 – “Except in the case of Mr Gold’s sub-trust contributions, there was a straight-in, straight-out correlation between the contribution into a sub-trust and the sum loaned to the protector/employee of the sub-trust. A global picture of the movements of funds is therefore: contributions into the main Trust (after payments of trustees’ fees and expenses) entered the various sub-trusts; all sums entering the 5 sub-trusts left as loans to the protector/employees of the respective sub-trusts, except in the case of the four payments into Mr Gold’s sub-trust.”

Page 71 Para 35 – “The side-letters showed a form of contractual arrangement, and they proved linkage between the sums contributed into the sub-trusts at the appointed dates and their withdrawal as loans from the sub-trusts as contemporaneous transactions. The contractual aspect and the linkage between the amounts of contributions to the main Trust and the sums loaned had been repeatedly raised in the enquiry correspondence. A fair conclusion to be drawn from the circumstantial evidence on the one hand, and Mr Red’s oral evidence on the other, is that the side-letters had been actively concealed. The reason for the concealment might have been, in Mr Red’s view, the side-letters could be incriminating evidence against the impression of the trust operation that he had been trying to give.”

Page 74 Para 45 – “The evidence indicates that the role of the trustees was essentially passive, whose principal function seemed to be that of conveying designated sums of money from the Appellants to designated employees as instructed by the loan requests. It was a ‘process’ in which the trustees’ principal function was to process the loans; they did not seem to exercise any discretion. Indeed the timing of events in most cases meant they would not have been able to exercise any discretion, such as Mr Coventry obtaining an indemnity for departing remuneration trust payments before the trustees had supposedly made a decision. Money arrived around the same time into the main Trust as the receipt of the loan requests and letters of wishes (for the first application of loan). A record in November 2006 shows funds being transferred for loans to three individuals before the trustees would have the chance to make a decision ; Appellants’ request to ‘process payments’ as soon as the funds were transmitted meant there would have been no time for the trustees to consider the matter; loans were post-dated to give an appearance of the order of events being in the correct sequence; evidence of deliberation by trustees to be recorded in the minute was not borne out.

Page 75 Para 47 – “It emerged in cross-examination that control of the Appellant companies over the application of funds was apparent. It was not the case, as Mr Red claimed that ‘the Board were not made aware of the way in which the trustees had used the funds’. The Board seemed to have directed the trustees to allocate funds to sub-trusts according to the loan requests as part of the agreement with Trident, and to make loans to the employees without any questions. The loan requests and the protectors’ letters of wishes were the only extant documents for all the sub-trusts. There was no proof of any vetting of suitability, any request for security, any examination of ability to repay loans, any check on their credit worthiness – the loans were made as a matter of course, with no consideration other than ‘processing’ the loan requests. The facts proved contrary to Mr Red’s claim that ‘the company has no control over the funds in the Trust and could not communicate wishes as to how they would like the Trustees to consider using their discretionary powers to apply the funds contributed to the Trust’.” (Emphasis added)

Page 75 Para 48 – “In most cases, the loan requests seemed to have predated the allocation of funds into the sub-trusts, and in some instances, had pre-dated the date of the deed for the set up of the sub-trust.”

Page 76 Para 49 – “There is no substantive evidence to support the claim of discretionary powers being exercised in granting loans to the protector/employees. There is an inextricable link between the loan requests and the allocation of funds into individual sub-trusts. The loan requests arrived around the same time as the contributions into the main Trust, and seemed to function as instructions to the trustees for 5 the two steps in this process: (1) which sub-trusts were to be allocated money from the funds arriving into the main Trust; (2) how much was to be allocated to each designated sub-trust so as to meet the amount on his loan request. … There is no evidence of any exercise of discretionary powers in the granting of loans.”

Page 79 Para 60 – “The terms and conditions related to these loans advanced to the employees as protectors of their sub-trusts characterise the reality of the funds that have been made to the employees as ‘loans’. From the documentary and oral evidence, the following features can be ascribed to the loans:

  • No security had ever been requested or required for the hundreds of thousands of pounds borrowed;
  • No scrutiny was undertaken of the purpose for which the loans were requested;
  • No vetting of borrowers or assessment of means was carried out;
  • The loans were expected to be renewed indefinitely and to remain as liabilities against the employees’ estates;
  • It was the understanding of all parties involved – Appellants companies, trustees and employees – that the loans would never be expected to be repaid against the wishes of the employees;
  • The interest rate was chosen at a percentage (1.5% or 2% because of Deepwater’s involvement); and according to Mrs Crimson, the rate did not vary with changes in the LIBOR rate, so the trustees were committing themselves to the same rate of interest over the term of 10 years;
  • No interest had ever been paid during the term of any of the loans; again it was the understanding of all participants that the interest would never be called upon to be paid during the lifetime of the employees who had borrowed the sums;
  • The interest element was designed to be rolled up indefinitely, to remain as a ‘paper’ debt and to augment the overall indebtedness of the employees’ estates, thereby conferring a bigger reduction against inheritance tax.

Page 79 Para 61 – “The certainty that the loan would be renewed and never be required to be repaid was expressed by various witnesses as follows:

  • Mr Black: ‘When my first loan is up in mid-2011, I will decide either to pay back the loan or re-negotiate. Whatever I feel is appropriate at that moment.’
  • Mr Grey: ‘I could not conceive of any situation where the loans would require to be repaid.’
  • Mr Violet: ‘I expected that the trustees would renew the loan with the result that the loan would carry on until I died, which would produce an inheritance tax benefit. Therefore, while I knew these were loans, I never thought I would pay anything back during my lifetime.’”

Page 84 Para 74 – “Before the introduction of the remuneration trust scheme, appearance money, match bonuses, championship bonuses, and contingency bonuses for qualifying in competitions for the footballing employees were detailed in a schedule that formed part of their contracts. The terms of these additional payments to their basic salary took up the equivalent of an A-4 page in this schedule. As the use of the remuneration trust became more wide spread, in the contracts for players with a sub-trust in place, the clause for the terms of bonus payments was reduced to stating that the club would pay the player ‘a bonus in accordance with the schedule agreed from time to time’. Mr Red in his evidence acknowledged the practice of appearance money being paid by the trust mechanism, particularly in the latter part of the period.” (Emphasis added)

Page 84 Para 75 – “The Appellants have declared by way of a letter dated 29 September 2011 that five players: Mr Selby, Mr Inverness, Mr Doncaster, Mr Barrow, and Mr Furness had their guaranteed bonuses paid to them via the trust mechanism. This was in respect of a guarantee that the players would receive a certain amount each year in squad bonuses under the terms of their written contracts. The Appellants have not confirmed the amounts concerned for these five players in terms of their guaranteed bonuses, and have qualified that the agreement is made without concession to any liability.”

Page 87 Para 82 – “The process in respect of how a remuneration package was structured using the trust mechanism is as follows:

  • Negotiation for the engagement of footballing employees, or re-negotiation of an existing contract, hinged on reaching an agreement of the ‘net’ figure of remuneration. The ‘net’ figure meant the annual equivalent of remuneration after deductions of income tax and national insurance contributions.
  • The net figure, once agreed, enabled a written contract of employment to be drawn up. Along with the terms of engagement would be the headline salary, stated as the grossed up equivalent of the agreed ‘net’ annual remuneration. The contract of employment is the document that was lodged with the SFA and SPL as part of the compliance procedure.
  • In cases where the Remuneration Trust arrangement was used, the agreement would have two parts: the employment contract and a letter of undertaking, usually signed on the same day. The letter of undertaking is referred internally within the group as ‘the side-letter’, and stated that the employer would undertake to contribute specified sums at specified dates into the employee’s sub-trust. The side-letter was not lodged with the SFA or SPL.
  • In a two-part agreement, the ‘net’ annual figure thus agreed would often be split half way, with 50% of the net total being grossed up as the headline salary in the contract of employment, and the other 50% making the total of the specified sums for contribution into the sub-trust stated in the side-letter. For example, if the net annual was agreed at £1m, it would mean £500,000 would be grossed up and paid through payroll, and £500,000 as annual contributions into the sub-trust, in bi-annual or quarterly instalments.
  • When the appointed dates in accordance with the relevant side-letters came up, Rangers would make contributions into the main Trust. Several sums might become due at around the same time, and they would be batched for payment into the main Trust.
  • The trustees would allocate the contributions coming into the main Trust to the designated sub-trusts. The allocation of funds into the sub-trusts was done solely with reference to the loan requests from the employees. The amount of loan requested by an employee would determine the sum to be allocated, and it would be into the sub-trust of which the employee had been made the protector. The despatch of the loan requests was coterminous with the transfer of the head sum into the main Trust. On its first application, a loan request would be accompanied by a letter of wishes; thereafter, the loan request would be the only document for the ‘transaction’.
  • The trustees would grant the loans invariably, and the sums allocated into the sub-trusts would be transferred into the personal bank accounts of the protector/employees as the final step in this process.
  • For players with a sub-trust, the scheme had also been used on some other occasions, for example, for bonuses on winning a match, or in a termination of employment situation.”

Page 88 Para 83 – “In some instances, the proportion of a player’s remuneration going through the trust mechanism was more than 50% of the ‘ballpark figure’. Some examples suffice: (a) Mr Selby (73) received £460,000 through the trust per annum and £300,000 net through payroll; (b) Mr Dundee (76) with £200,000 p.a. from trust and around £100,000 net from payroll; (c) Mr York (61), Mr Cardiff (65), Mr Birmingham (87) and Bath (88) all received substantially more through the trust arrangements than through payroll. From Inspector 2’s Witness Statement, the period from June 2002 to 31 August 2005 saw 51 new players signed for Rangers First team squad, 30 of them joined the Remuneration Trust scheme. Of the 21 who did not join the scheme, 14 came through the youth ranks, and 7 others were with the club for short spells. Since 31 August 2005, 52 players have signed for Rangers FC first team; only 7 of them have joined the trust scheme.”

Page 89 Para 86 – “I asked Mr Purple what he understood to be his package with Rangers, compared to the package he received from his next club when he was sold on by Rangers before the end of his second contract. Mr Purple’s reply was clear and direct:

‘The total package at Rangers, … was the equivalent to £16,000 plus £4,000 appearance. And when I was going to [the next club] I think it was, … £11,000 salary and £2,000 or £3,000 appearance.’

In his Witness Statement (para 12) Mr Purple stated that when he was going to the next club, he ‘was going to be on a lower salary’. In Mr Purple’s understanding, the ‘ballpark figure of £16,000’ was the benchmark of his salary entitlement comparison; it was not just the weekly basic wage of £8,000 under his second contract. As both Mr Purple and Mr Grey understood, it was the basic wage £8,000 plus the remuneration trust payments of £8,000 weekly gross equivalent that formed the ‘ballpark figure of £16,000’. In stating that he was going on a lower salary in his Witness Statement – a contractual entitlement in the sense of emolument – Mr Purple was comparing a like for like between the £16,000 from Rangers and £11,000 from the next club. In Mr Purple’s understanding, the £8,000 gross equivalent from trust payments was part of his emolument with Rangers.”

Page 90 Para 91 – “An example of the figures involved can be given by the simpler case of Mr Inverness, in Mr Scarlet’s email to Mr Magenta, and it reads as follows:

‘Please find details as requested updating you further on the conversation last week. The player I was in negotiations with overseas last week has been secured on the following terms:

  • Contractual salary, £300,000 gross pa.
  • Guaranteed bonus, £100,000 gross pa.
  • Remuneration Trust, £180,000 net pa.
  • Appearances: Remuneration Trust, £1,200 net per game, total £48,000.
  • Cost per annum, £396,000.

Within the above is the built-in percentage that [another club] would have owed to the player of the transfer fee.’”

Page 91 Para 92 – “Another example comes from the supplementary Witness Statement from Inspector 2, HMRC officer, as an addendum to paragraph 7.79 in respect of sub-trust 79 for Mr Newport. The supplementary statement relates the details of a facsimile dated 31 March 2004 from Mr Scarlet on behalf of Rangers to Mr Gloucester, Mr Newport’s agent. The content of the facsimile is as follows:

‘… Further to discussion this morning, I can confirm to offer the following terms and conditions.

  • 2 year contract 2004/05 and 2005/06
  • £10,000 gross per week
  • £5,000 gross per competitive match played
  • Relocation expenses of £8,000
  • 5% of gross salary will be paid as agent’s fee

Please sign below to confirm your acceptance.’”

Page 91 Para 93 – The facsimile was in effect an offer of terms and stipulated the amount on which the agent’s fee would be based. The offer was ‘translated’ into two documents: an employment contract with Mr Newport signed on 1 July 2004, and a side-letter dated the same. The terms of the signed contract and the side-letter gave effect to the equivalent of gross weekly total of £10,000 in the following manner:

  • Gross salary at £270,000 per annum, which equates £5,192 per week;
  • Remuneration trust payments: £300,000 over the two-year period, which equates £2,885 per week;
  • Trust weekly payments grossed up with tax at 40% equate £4,808 per week;
  • Gross weekly salary of £5,192 plus grossed up trust weekly equivalent of £4,808 to arrive at the gross weekly total of £10,000.”

Page 92 Para 95 – “In each of the examples given, the pay negotiation was trying to arrive at an agreed figure for the player’s earnings, either in net or in gross terms – ‘the ballpark figure’. In the minds of all the parties concerned: Rangers, the player, and his agent, it was a package for earnings that had been struck. The structuring of the pay deal using the trust mechanism came after the overall income entitlement had been agreed. From the oral evidence of Mr Purple and Mr Grey, the player and his agent were in perfect agreement as to how they regarded the trust payment component – as part and parcel of the ‘ballpark figure’ in the pay deal. The internal communications from Mr Scarlet, of which those quoted above are a mere fraction, also indicate that he was Rangers’ representative in these negotiations to arrive at a ‘ballpark figure’. He would appear to be either the person who made the decision, or was influential in the decision regarding the use of the trust arrangements in structuring an agreed pay deal.” (Emphasis added)

Page 102 Para 120 – “When the legislation under Part 7A of the ITEPA, as inserted by section 26 of Schedule 2 of FA 2011 (on Disguised Remuneration), took effect from April 2011, the Appellants unilaterally ended the trust arrangement on the two still current obligations under the side-letters (to Mr Guildford and to Mr Maidstone). The sums of contributions supposed to enter the sub-trusts were then grossed up through the payroll. The Respondents produced as evidence two similar letters dated 3 May 2011 from Mr Scarlet on behalf of Rangers to Mr Guildford and Mr Maidstone. The letter to Mr Maidstone, for whom sub-trust 112 was set up, referred to the side-letter of 10 November 2008 and stated that a further sum of £322,000 over and above what had already been made to his sub-trust would have been recommended in accordance with the terms of the side-letter, and continued as follows:

‘Unfortunately, the law has changed and the old arrangement carries no benefits at all. Instead, therefore, the Board propose to make additional payments of £260,000 in May 2011 and £410,000 also in May 2011 directly to you. It’s the Board’s understanding that such payments will be subject to deductions for Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions, the net result being that you [Mr Maidstone] will receive payment of the amount which would have gone into the Trust.’”

Page 102 Para 121 – “The occasion of Rangers winning the UEFA championship led to six sub-trusts being created for Mr Warwick, Mr Camden, Mr Islington, Mr Kensington, Mr Balham, Mr Brixton to pay their entitlement via the trust arrangements. An email from Mr Magenta to Mr Red of 21 June 2006 confirmed the names agreed with Mr Scarlet for the new sub-trust creation. Three players, who had sub-trust numbers already allocated to them as 95, 97 and 98, did not receive their UEFA bonuses through the trust arrangements in the end. Mr Magenta’s email gave direction to Mr Red to this end,

‘I have also agreed with Mr Scarlet to gross up the payment due to Mr Dorchester and to pay through Payroll amounts 5 due to Mr Hampstead and Mr Highbury therefore not requiring Trust to be set up for these people.’”

Page 102 Para 123 – “The fact that the trust mechanism and payroll were interchangeable on more than one occasion provides some circumstantial evidence regarding the underlying nature of the trust payments. The essence of the trust payments, under this interpretation, directs towards an income entitlement that is normally accorded to payments via the payroll. If the side-letters only provide the promise of a loan, why should there be a moment of ‘crisis’ when the trust mechanism was not there to process loans by the dates directed by the side-letters? If the UEFA championship bonus was the same entitlement for all the players in the squad, that entitlement should be identical to all. Why should some of these players only receive a loan through the trust arrangements while other players who did not have a sub-trust received the championship bonus through the payroll? If the loan were a genuine loan, why would these players who received their bonus through the trust mechanism be content to obtain a loan and to forego their outright entitlement of earnings through the payroll? One cannot help asking these questions, and the answers invariably lead to two suggestions: (1) that the employer and the employee demonstrated a mutual understanding of an underlying entitlement that a sum of money was to be made available by a certain time under the terms of the side-letter; (2) in the way that players were willing to ‘forego’ their UEFA bonus entitlement in exchange for a trust payment in the form of a loan suggests that in their minds, the loan was not a ‘real’ loan, and they were no worse off for receiving a trust payment addressed as a loan instead of a payroll payment.” (Emphasis added)

Page 108 Para 137 – “In 2005, Mr Evesham sustained an injury and was expected to be out of action for some months. The Board Report of February 2005 for Rangers Football Club Plc, Football Business Unit, recorded the player’s injury on page 4 and noted that after a six-week excess period the insurance policy to cover Mr Evesham’s wage costs would pay £24,365 a week. Extrapolating the weekly figure by multiplying with the fraction 365/7 gives an equivalent of annual wage costs of £1,270,460. The injury fell within the period of the third contract when the gross salary of Mr Evesham was stated at £667,000. It would appear that the insurance cover took into account the £667,000 and the £600,000 through trust payments to arrive at £1,267,000 per annum. For the season 2004/2005, Rangers did receive insurance payment for Mr Evesham of £388,722 for the period from 23 January 2005 to 30 June 2005, a total of 22 weeks, and discounting the first six weeks excess, the payment was closely matched to 16 weeks at £24,365, which should give a total of £389,840.” (Emphasis added)

Page 128 Para 187 – “That ‘unreservedly at the disposal’ is only meant to be a sufficient but not a necessary condition for a payment to constitute an emolument is an interpretation consistent with the observation Walton J makes in Garforth at [132d]: ‘that the word “payment” is a word which has no one settled meaning but which takes its colour very much from the context in which it is found.’” (Emphasis added)

Page 134 Para 198 – “One of Lord Hoffmann’s dicta is: ‘the income tax legislation was intended to operate “in the real world”, one is again referring to the commercial context which should influence the construction of concepts used by Parliament.’ The commercial context outlined above has influenced my construction of the concept of payment that should be applied to the trust arrangements. In the real world where the player and his agent try to command a price in terms of earnings, the clubs which buy and sell him have to reach an agreement about that price, and the insurer refers to that price to set the premium, the trust payments to the player are regarded in this real world as part of his earnings. A purposive construction of the income tax legislation is to give meaning to the trust payments in their commercial context, and in that commercial context, the trust payments have been regarded consistently as part of the player’s earnings.” (Emphasis added)

Page 135 Para 201 – “That the loans lack reality in the commercial context is not only borne out by examining the fact pertaining to the loans, but also independently vouched for by the opinion of third-party regulators, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (FSC). The regulators’ assessment represented a highly valid opinion from the ‘real world’ regarding the commercial reality of the loans. The original trustees Equity, on taking legal advice, asked the Appellants to introduce new measures to make the loans commercially ‘real’. Equity’s request was not complied with – it could not be complied with because the trust arrangements hinged on the fact that the loans are not meant to be commercially real. Put simply, the employees would not have entered the agreement to receive payments via the trust mechanism had the loans been commercially real. Trident replaced Equity because Trident was willing to operate the loan scheme under the terms of the Appellants to deliver funds to the employees wrapped in the legal garb of a loan with no commercial reality.” (Emphasis added)

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177 Comments

Filed under Football Governance, HMRC v Rangers, Rangers, SPL

177 responses to “Why It’s Nonsense to Say “Rangers Won the Tax Case So the SPL Should Drop Its “Witch-Hunt”!”

  1. redetin

    As others have pointed out, the appeal to the FTT(T) was of course on behalf of Murray Group Holdings, a broader business than the football company.

    • ecojon

      @ redetin

      There were actually 5 appellant companies one of which was Rangers.

      Of the 108 sub-trusts set up, 81 of them are for employees of Rangers. Over three-quarters of the sub-trusts relate to Rangers’ employees, and nearly 80% of the total assessments (£36.6m out of £46.2m) relate to Rangers. The issue of side letters as far as I am aware relate only to the 81 Rangers sub trusts.

  2. campsiejoe

    Paul

    When you get a few spare hours could you put the paragraph headed
    “The Commission described the EBTs as follows:-”
    into simple, clear to understand English, because I have no idea what they are talking about
    Leaving that aside another well thought out commentary on this fiasco

  3. jinky44

    Cam if you come on. Did you find out who at the big house trousered the £3600 that belonged to that children’s charity up in Jordonhill?

  4. Bill

    The original ruling was shorter .

    • ecojon

      @ Bill

      Yea but the Upper Tribunal appeal decision will be longer 🙂

      • Bill

        @ecojon..Doubt if it will happen.in our lifetime.

        • ecojon

          @ Bill

          You may well be right re the appealing of the Rangers BTC. But HMRC must get clarity on what the legal position is either through ‘successful’ legal action against another company or a change in legislation.

          And there is enormous pressure on them to achieve this quickly IMHO. Ordinary punters are fed-up when they see millionaires receiving millions on top, apparently for doing their day job, but no tax is apparently payable on it.

          And the mechanism of ‘loans’ which are never meant to be paid back is OK – while the poorest in society know exactly what it costs for them to repay their payday loans.

          • Adam

            They could start with all the fake film companies and LLPs that have sprung up which will be much much greater than the amount involved in the Rangers case.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              I would always believe it to be a mistake, because there is no ‘visibility’ of what HMRC is actually investigating, in assuming that nothing is happening beneath the surface.

              I also think you should look at the underlying legal precedents and lack of them rehearsed in the Rangers case to see that they are crucial for the HMRC to crack-down on certain aggressive tax avoidance schemes and that these spread much further afield than Rangers which is a fairly small cog in the grand scheme of things.

  5. Adam

    I notice you have quoted the SFA rules above whereas this is a SPL enquiry and their rules are slightly different. The rule surrounding payment can be found at section D1.13 and state:

    “A Club must, as a condition of Registration and for a Player to be eligible to Play in Official Matches, deliver the executed originals of all Contracts of Service and amendments and/or extensions to Contracts of Service and all other agreements providing for payment, other than for reimbursement of expenses actually incurred, between that Club and Player, to the Secretary, within fourteen days of such Contract of Service or other agreement being entered into, amended and/or, as the case may be, extended.”

    The SPL rules do not cover any payments by third parties which irrespective of the argument as to whether or not a loan is seen as a payment in the first place, would mean the SPL rules were not broken in any respect. In my opinion of course.

    • Adam,

      Good to see you back.

      The Commission is deciding on charges that Rangers broke both the SFA and SPL rules. I quoted the SFA rules as those were the ones that the FTT made reference to.

      And if it is accepted that the “side letters” governed “payments” to the players and were not disclosed, then the SPL rule is broken too?

      • Adam

        Hi Paul. Hope all is well. According to the SPL website it states:

        “The Commission will determine whether during that period in relation to alleged EBT payments and arrangements for players, Rangers was in breach of the relevant SPL Rules.”

        It doesnt mention the SFA rules in there.

        http://www.scotprem.com/content/default.asp?page=s2&newsid=11619

        • From SPL Rules covering relationship between SPL and SFA . Jan 2012

          96. Nothing in these (SPL) Articles shall relieve any Member of the Company from its obligations as a full member club of the SFA to comply with the applicable articles of association of the SFA for so long as it remains a member of the SFA. Each Member shall (in so far as it is lawfully able and permitted by the exercise of its voting powers to do so) procure that the Company observes and complies with all relevant articles of association of the SFA applicable to it.

          From SFA Handbook
          4. Agreement between Club and Player.

          All payments to be made to a player relating to his playing activities must be clearly recorded upon the relevant contract and/or agreement. NO PAYMENT FOR HIS PLAYING ACTIVITIES MAY BE MADE TO A PLAYER VIA A THIRD PARTY,

    • ecojon

      @ Adam

      Do you ever stop to look at yourself Adam and see what an eedjit you actually are. Personally I don’t think you’re opinion is worth that much because you are so fixated on Rangers. Remove the blue-tinted telescope and you might get a broader view.

      I would suggest that you actually look at the SPL definition of ‘EBT payments and arrangements’ in para [8] of the Commission’s Reasons for Decision dated 12/09/2012. I thought someone like you that pays £100k tax a year and obviously has a reasonablly high-powered job would actually be able to find the relevant definition.

      Or, do you know what I have just told you but it doesn’t suit your agenda? Yea, from what little I’ve seen of you so far that certainly fits the bill.

      • Adam

        You post as if its a slam dunk. No doubt if i had been reading your posts for the last 12 months prior to Tuesday the BTC would have been a slam dunk as well.

        Lets wait and see.

        I say there will be no punishment. You say their will. 1 of us will be wrong.

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          Twisting words again Adam. I have never said there will be any punishment because I quite simply don’t know and I will need to wait for the outcome. The commission might even find Rangers guilty of everything and decide not to impose a punishment.

          They might decide to dissolve the Commission. I never ever had a clue what the FTT would decide nor did I wish for any actual outcome because I have enough experience of legal matters to know that almost anything can happen and I never had enough evidence to reach any kind of informed jusdgement. On the Commission I think there is a fair chance on my understanding of the evidence that it will go against Rangers. But my understanding doesn’t matter a jot and I know that and that I believe is the difference between us as you think your words are gospel and to be obeyed by all at all times.

          I think you have really revealed your true self and you are actually verging on the pathetic when you feel this need to believe and claim there will be no punishment – If you actually know there won’t then I’d better switch the paranoia meter on because I didn’t realise the outcome of the Commission had already been determined.

          • Adam

            Sorry for offering my opinion on a blog. 🙂

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              The problem I have with that statement is it would appear IMHO that you are most interested in learning the opinion of others but in a pre-constructed way which could create the impression that you are attempting to lead the unwary into an ‘ambush’ position which you have pre-prepared.

              I see very little of your own thoughts and opinions and for someone who posts as much as you that is quite surprising. I would like to think my posts are an eclectic mix of questioning and providing my opinions – I don’t ask that anyone agrees with them I just put them out there and sometimes my opinions can be altered through debate.

              That’s why I do it because once you know you are Gawd and always right then you become insufferable and lose the ability to laugh at your own pomposity and sometimes arrogance – and I can be as guilty as that as anyone else.

              As to you comment that I post a lot about Rangers and yet say I have no interest in them – well I don’t know if you are again twisting words or don’t actually read posts on here that don’t suit your agenda or indeed have a poor memory. I would have thought my clear statement that I believe the survival of Rangers is important to Scottish football and not just in a financial sense is a good enough reason in iteself.

              I also – like yourself – have an interest in the public purse and who diverts or removes money from it in a way that is questionable. Again I have made it clear that the FTT Decision isn’t just about Rangers and I have advanced that position repeatedly on here.

              Btw I won’t wave ad hominem at you which seems to be a favourite get out of jail card for you 🙂

            • Adam

              Happy for you to ask me direct questions and i will answer them. I have given my clear opinion on Higher rate tax payers. I have given my clear opinion on Tax Avoidance schemes. I have given my clear opinion on Ally supporting Murray. I have given my clear opinion on whether or not there will be an appeal. I have given my opinion on Charles Green. I always gave a clear opinion on Craig Whyte and happy to do so again if asked. Im not sure what else i should have added, but please ask away and if i see your question (again, i state the blog is quite hard to follow) then i will answer without fear nor favour, as long as its not typical fans forum tit for tat that is.

            • Vega

              Why is it you disappear on “jobs” whenever things are looking bleak for Rangers then reappear when the outlook is brighter.

              You’ve clearly got a bit of knowledge on tax and company law but I just don’t buy the James Bond image you’ve built for yourself.

              You don’t have to tell me, just asking.

            • Adam

              @Vega. Im happy to answer. Things looked bleak for Rangers the day Craig Whyte took over and throughout his reign. When i discovered the RTC blog, i was posting on it throughout the nonsense when things were very bleak. I took an assignment that i had to concentrate on so gave up the blogging for a while other than a brief exile. When i came back, the RTC blog was closed so couldnt post on it.

              I had only posted on this blog on a few occasions back in the day and had forgotten about it truth be told.

              Suggesting or inferring im only here when things are not bleak is unfair considering the daily battering i used to get on RTC from gloating non Rangers fans (not just Celtic fans for the record)

            • Vega

              Fair enough. Thanks for answering.

              I do remember the battering you used to take.

  6. Thorough and excellent job Paul, many thanks for doing that. Having read this and Brogan, Rogan, Trevino & Hogan’s superb post elsewhere yesterday (see link below), I can’t see how anyone can seriously think that the FTT verdict clears the club, or that it should result in the SPL commission being shelved.

    As Brogan points out, in the FTT case, the majority judges made no effort whatsoever to address the dissenting view’s lengthy skewering of all those involved in the operation of the EBTs and their behaviour since 2004 – which as he points out, is almost unheard of. Even in the majority view, there seems to be enough in the judges’ description of the EBTs and their operation to be of use for the SPL commission to find against the club in its own deliberations.

    Now we have Murray calling for an investigation into the leaks, when there is ample public legal argument to show just how culpable he was in the whole shambles, as well as how he and his minions did everything to hamper HMRC and their work – in the process costing us ALL millions. Talk about a brass neck.

    As for the pressure being put on the SPL commission on the back of the verdict, by club officials and supporters, and backed by some irresponsible reporting (and in almost all cases from people who should know better, especially by now), if that does indeed have an effect on the subsequent penalties in the event of a guilty verdict, then you can say goodbye to the ‘integrity’ so well trumpeted over the summer. But it won’t, will it? They’re proper judges, right?

    In any case, I reckon this is just the start of a long winter for some people. Good.

    http://broganrogantrevinoandhogan.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-hoover-the-runaways-and-a-judicial-nod-is-as-good-as-a-wink-on-the-rangers-tax-case/

  7. Paul

    That full remuneration for playing football was not reported to the SFA seems a slam dunk (but so did the FFT case).

    There are two “laws” involved here, tax and football. The idea that one rules the other is clearly not so as demonstrated by John Terry’s acquital under civil/criminal law that did not stop the FA applying football law justice. .

    If the SPL stick to their guns and have the hearing then the argument may change from there is no case to answer to it was just an administrative oversight. However you bring out the point that this was a deliberate decision not to ask the SFA what was required.

    ” As the evidence detailed below makes very clear, there was a deliberate decision by Rangers not to notify the SFA/SPL of these arrangements. Nor, as pointed out by Dr Poon, was there any effort to ask the football authorities what should be done.”

    but that decision ITSELF constitutes a breach of SFA authority. This was a footballing matter not a tax one and the SFA should have been asked.

    The idea that it was some form of oversight is derisory.

    It is derisory because it is pretty certain that had the SFA been asked for guidance/approval full details of the scheme would have been asked for and Rangers would either have had to supply the side letter or keep quiet about it (as they did).

    Had full details been supplied chances are the SFA would themselves have consulted HMRC who would have said they were unhappy with the arrangement and in their view the side letter made it a payroll type payment subject to tax but it was ok as long as there was no side letter.

    This would have spooked players who simply would not have signed up without the assurances that the side letter gave them.

    Thus for the scheme to meet its objective – get players- the SFA HAD to be kept in the dark (or at least not officially asked to give the arrangement their approval).

    As ever Minty took a punt, he got a bit lucky with the tax law but football law intended to stop bungs (and at the end of the day that is what these payments amount to) should get him.

  8. Adam

    I understand the clamour to concentrate on the EBT’s not been disclosed to the SFA and the SPL but the fact remains that both organisations knew all along about the EBT’s. They were listed every single year in the audited accounts that were submitted to them. Did no-one think to ask about them ??

    • ecojon

      @ Adam

      Oh dearie me – here we go again. Have you read the FTT decision and dissenting report in it’s entirety. If not you might have to apologise again like you had to earlier in the previous post, more than once, for putting out wrong info.

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        So the auditor knew all along what was happening re the EBTs? If that’s the case so must all of the Ibrox Board.

        • Adam

          Im not sure what you are disputing here. Were the EBT’s stated in our annual accounts every year or not ?

          • ecojon

            @ Adam

            You’re just a wee boy playing games. I know what was disclosed and so do you so stop being so childish. We are discussing what the FTT produced and how it might affect the SFA/SPL case.

            I asked you a straight question about whether the auditors knew the full facts – I know that you know the answer to that so why don’t you come clean just once.

            • Adam

              “A wee boy playing games” Really ? 🙂 I asked you a straight question. Its a yes or no answer. Were the EBT’s stated in our annual accounts submitted to the SFA each year ?

            • ecojon

              @ In a way that meant anything to anyone other than a couple of people at Ibrox – NO!

              I actually don’t even think your Board knew about them in any meaningful sense – of course I could be wrong and perhaps they knew everything like you suggest because surely they would have seen the entries in the annual accounts and if they didn’t understand they should have asked just like you demand of the SFA.

              Any normal reasonable person would look at the entry and also take into account the actual SFA/SPL requirements and also look at the actions of some employees vis-a-vis the EBT documentation and the way they reacted to the HMRC enquiry and how crucial info only came out following a police raid and come to a conclusion I think that would be different from your own.

              Of course Adam, you will never accept that. I hope for the sake of your sanity that the lifeline you are clinging to holds. personally I think it’s another lead lifebelt and could take you and many others down if your cling to it.

              The big difference between us Adam is I don’t actually care what the outcome is from the Nimmo Commission because it doesn’t affect me or my club and as to any tainted trophies you can keep them and I have yet to meet or speak to a Celtic supporter that wants them.

              It may well be that all record books end up showing that in certain seasons the title was awarded to Rangers and later removed for XXX. The Rangers own records will no doubt ignore the official position – do I personally care about that – not in the slightest. In some ways it actually proves a point 🙂

            • Adam

              @ecojon – for someone that doesnt care, you sure post a lot about Rangers. The EBT’s were there for all to see. Every year. It doesnt really matter who knew what, the SFA should have picked up on it and asked the question.

              And here was me thinking that we both agreed they were completely inept.

              PS – before you try and twist anything, this isnt me shifting any blame to anyone, just pointing out they were in plain sight.

          • Hi Adam, I think the point that has been made before is that the EBTs should have been shown against each of the contracts – ie, in respect of each player that was being paid that way, not just as a single line in the accounts covering all payments, as I think you are talking about. I believe that was addressed in previous investigations and is one of the reasons why it was decided that the club had a case to answer.

            • Adam

              Perhaps Kenny, but as a ruling body whose criteria includes the submission of audited accounts, do you not think that someone somewhere should have read the following each year: “The Rangers Employee Benefit Trust and Murray Group Management Ltd. Remuneration Trust were established to provide incentives to certain
              employees and other service providers” and said “hold on a minute, what are these payments and who are they going to?”

              If there is any misdemeanour’s here then the SFA are culpable as well as they had the information all along.

            • ecojon

              @ Kenny McCaffrey

              Lot in the Rangers FTT about what was going on with the side letters and how they first came to light but too late tonight I’ll post that tomorrow. I was actually hoping Adam would reveal his blockbuster info that clears Rangers but you beat him to it 🙂 I wonder if Adam thinks that an ex-Ranger should have told the SFA what was happening re EBTs?

              However Poone in her completely unchallenged minority report states: ‘Over the use of the remuneration trust, the auditors seemed to have been treated by the Appellants with the same lack of candour as accorded to HMRC.

              ‘The auditors did not seem to be privy to any (or much) of the documentation, and had not formed a view on the scheme other than relied on what they had been told by the management’.

            • Adam

              @ecojon – Am i right in sayong Dr Poon was the only one of the 3 not qualified in actual Law.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Playing the fool again. I am quite sure you are well aware as to how the composition of the FTTs are made up. Are you suggesting that she wasn’t fit to sit on the tribunal?

              Go on, go for it say what you really mean! Be a man!

            • Adam

              I was asking a question. One which may give some context around why the 2 Legal “judges” agreed on a point of law, whereas a highly qualified and competent Tax Advisor “judge” disagreed.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Firstly let’s make this clear Poone stated her legal precedents and how they impacted on the present case as per her interpretation. If the other two tribunal members felt she was way off-beam then they would have commented on such aspects in their majority decision.

              They didn’t. Much has been said of why that was and I haven’t a clue although the majority decision is almost on tramlines over the interpretation of precedents and it seems as if it could only really end-up in the position it did.

              Now you could look at that and say well that’s the correct decision but the law isn’t as simple as that because the what the appeal court primarily will rule on is whether the original interpretation reached is correct or not and also whether Poone is right in her different precedents and interpretations.

              And even if Rangers win at the Upper Tribunal there are several appelate levels above that – it all depends how convinced Hector is of its own legal advice at each stage and how important the decision is to it. I very much doubt on something as potentially as important as this whether cost comes into it. And again rangers fans totally fail to understand that the revenue don’t care about Rangers in reality – they care aboutb getting a judgement that can be used to clubber everyone else out there.

              It might be that is why HMRC didn’t argue the ‘sham’ case because if they has won with that as part of the argument then all future scheme architects would need to do is tweak away and strengthen the trust rules and argue it was now no longer a sham. So maybe HMRC want to achieve the legal position that payments into these schemes are taxable – pure and simple. But that is guesswork on my part.

              There are actually fundamental differences in the legal interpretations going on and also as to which precedents actually apply between the two sides. I have made it clear I do not have the expertise to come to any decision as to who is right and who is wrong.

              It was because of that vast gulf between the sides that I felt from my first reading that this was a very strange judgement and could be appealed by HMRC and I still think that. Not because it is Rangers involved but because HMRC needs some legal definitions hammered out and in view of the pressure they are coming under they need them yesterday rather than tomorrow.

              If they don’t appeal and they don’t have another suitable case that could achieve their objectives ready to roll then new legislation might be required but that has its problems with parliamentary time tightening. I can’t see primary legislation being enacted before the GE but regulations might be but then they run the risk of being legally tested.

              You see the thing on a personal level and if it was Celtic I most likely would as well because my judgment would be emotionally clouded. I see the Rangers case as a really interesting conundrum as to what the HMRC will decide is the best course for them.

              The SPL will play-out its hand if they don’t bottle-out and if Celtic was in the Rangers position the Ibrox support would be baying for the SPL to go ahead but that’s just the nature of the beast.

              I think that if the Nimmo Commission goes ahead then Rangers will lose but that is only on the evidence I have seen – there’s plenty I haven’t and the actual hearing has still to take place and we don’t know what that will throw-up.

              In due course there will possibly be a result but there again it might all just drift into never never land.

            • ecojon

              @ Kenny McCaffrey

              I have just looked at the wording so kindly supplied by Adam re the alleged ‘full disclosure’ of the EBTs to the SFA/SPL in the annual audited accounts.

              Apparently the wording according to Adam is: “The Rangers Employee Benefit Trust and Murray Group Management Ltd. Remuneration Trust were established to provide incentives to certain employees and other service providers”.

              And Adam triumphantly concludes: ‘The SFA are culpable as well as they had the information all along’ and even worse it seems the SFA didn’t demand to know what the payments were and who got them. I got quote chapter and verse what was taking place with the auditors involved with Ibrox and their own limited knowledge of the EBTs but I will leave that for another time.

              But returning to Adam’s revelation – Rangers is a football club and the biggest percentage of its wage bill goes on players. I therefore question why the statement doesn’t mention the word ‘players’. Now a suspicious person might believe that was to conceal that ‘players’ were being paid something on top of the wages.

              So the term used was ‘certain employees and other service providers’ who were being provided with ‘incentives’ – not players in the ordinary meaning of the word. And looking at the wording I don’t know whether a ‘player’ is a service provider or a certain employee.

              I can only conclude there was a reason that the word ‘player’ wasn’t used in the annual accounts statement and I think any open-minded human being knows exactly what that reason is and I actually think Adam also knows full-well the reason which makes his position quite odious IMHO.

              And what were the ‘incentives’ that these ‘certain employees and other service providers’ received. Was it just a car, a bonus or almost £50 million quid? Answers on the back of a fag packet pls 🙂

              But there is another issue which I won’t dwell on here – But I thought the EBTs weren’t for the benefit of the millionaire ‘players’ but for their named family members.

              If the SFA is at fault it lies IMHO in the fact that they were living in a different era and they were well and truly stuffed – I doubt if there was any complicity when this all started although I have seen arguments to the contrary especially later in the game. But I just don’t know but it is something which might make the light of day at some stage.

              As with so many aspects of this story there would appear to be many layers of the onion still to be revealed.

          • Merciatic

            Do the SFA or SPL habitually go through each clubs audited annual accounts every year?

    • Den

      @Adam

      The EBTs were indeed mentioned in the Accounts, it is not up for dispute.

      This was the form of disclosure required by the SFA or SPL. In honesty very few people read the notes to the accounts anyway and fewer would understand the significance of the statement on EBTs. Mostly Accounts will be scanned for qualifications by the Auditor and then filed away.

      Governing bodies should expect their members to provide the information required and not be expected to be Financial investigators.

      • Den

        Sorry !

        Correction.

        “This was the form of disclosure required by the SFA or SPL.”

        Should be:

        “This was not the form of disclosure required by the SFA or SPL.”

      • ecojon

        @ Den

        Indeed without going back to check the exact wording I believe that the rules say that the info must be provided by the club and I agree with you that a note in the accounts which doesn’t specifically name individual players and the individual amounts involved in the ‘soft’ loans seems to be at least contrary to the spirit of the applicable football rules.

        However a prima facie case to answer has already been declared so we will see what the final tribunal decides if it goes ahead and doesn’t buckle under the pressure of the MSM hysteria which is being whipped-up and carefully orchestrated.

  9. ecojon

    From HMRC Inspector 2’s Witness Statement:

    The period from June 2002 to 31 August 2005 saw 51 new players signed for Rangers First team squad, 30 of them joined the Remuneration Trust scheme. Of the 21 who did not join the scheme, 14 came through the youth ranks, and 7 others were with the club for short spells.

    Since 31 August 2005, 52 players have signed for Rangers FC first team; only 7 of them have joined the trust scheme. He noted in connection with the decline in the use of the scheme, the timing of HMRC’s enquiry which opened in January 2004.

    ——————————————————————————————–

  10. florian albert

    While Paul McConville has moved on to examine the implications of the FTT verdict for Lord Nimmo Smith’s investigation into possible improper payments, I am still working my way towards fully understanding the FTT outcome.
    Have I got this right ? The FTT has concluded, by a majority verdict, that money paid via EBTs amounted to loans. The largest beneficiary was Sir David Murray and he got about £6 million. When he sold Rangers for £1, the club was about £18 million in dept. A third of this could have been cleared immediately if he repaid the £6 million he was loaned. However, nobody has got round to asking Sir David Murray why he did not pay his loan back, nor why the loan was made.
    (I promise I will try to keep up in future.)

    • Adam

      The Murray Group also paid into the EBT trust scheme.

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        Very crafty 🙂 Always trying to deflect from the role and position of Rangers.

        £36.6m out of £46.2m paid into EBT trusts refer to Rangers players and I notice that another poster has mentioned someone who got £6 million – not a Rangers employee. So that leave’s £3.7 spread over up to four other companies.

        I think we’ll keep our eye on where the main money is and I think that’s what HMRC will do in the public interest you understand.

        • Adam

          Im not trying to deflect anything. Once again you are guessing my opinion. Florian pointed out that if David Murray paid back his £6m loan to Rangers, we could have cleared a third of our debt.

          In response to that, do you not think its reasonable to point out that perhaps David Murray got his £6m from Murray Groups payments and not Rangers ?

          For once, why not try and play the ball, instead of the man.

          • ecojon

            @ Adam

            Aw ya poor wee soul? Adam it’s your club surely your thoughts on what Murray should or shouldn’t have done are much more central to the issue. And does it actually matter where David Murray got his £6 million – well it might to shareholders and creditors but that one will simmer for a bit as it isn’t succulent yet. So that’s 2 people on here who have identified Murray and with your close Ibrox connections you’re the man so it must be true 🙂

            PS: Shouting foul for ad hominem shows how weak you are Adam – you can dish it out but you can’t take it. You’re the type that always plays the sleekit heel-clicking moves like twisting words.

            • Adam

              Of course it matters. Its central to the point being made. It would be daft otherwise.

              As for this part: “So that’s 2 people on here who have identified Murray and with your close Ibrox connections you’re the man so it must be true” im afraid you will need to explain as im unsure as to what you are inferring.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Playing the daft laddie again 🙂

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Just remind me again what the £6 million was spent on – has it anything to do with the purchase and development of Bel Azur? That’s the French villa property associated with the Luxembourg company, Bel Azur Properties SARL (BAP).

              Just for the sake of clarification. since chico talks about about his wish to retire to France once he has faced the Champions League music at Ibrox, I should make it clear that he has no connection with Bel Azur that I am aware of or even suspect.

              You state: ‘Of course it matters. Its central to the point being made. It would be daft otherwise’. Now I know I haven’t had my coffee yet but could you please explain exactly what is central to the point being made and why it matters.

            • Adam

              Florian said: “The largest beneficiary was Sir David Murray and he got about £6 million. When he sold Rangers for £1, the club was about £18 million in dept. A third of this could have been cleared immediately if he repaid the £6 million he was loaned. ”

              The central point being made is that David Murray could have paid back his loan into Rangers to put them in a healthier position.

              I raised the fact that Murray Group also had an EBT scheme.

              Why is this important you ask ?

              Well surely if David Murray got a £6m loan from a trust fund that came from Murray Group then if he paid it back to the originator, then it would go back to the Murray Group.

              Im not sure whats confusing about that. Its pretty straight forward and pretty clear. And its central to the point being made unless you want to argue that he could have taken the profit from any of his businesses and pay it into Rangers, just to reduce the debt.

          • ecojon

            @ Adam

            I will grant you it is hard to determine your opinion because most of your posts seem to be to determine the opinion of others rather than give and explain your own.

            I ask you again – what is the difference where anyone got a loan of £6 million from. What I am addressing is what they chose to do with it. I mean would they spend it on buying and developing a French Villa or in saving a beloved football club?

            That is the question when the PR spin blames everything on others and states that certain principals have lily-white hands.

            But hey it was his loan he can do what he likes with it but surely questions can be raised about choices made? Do you think the loan was actually kosher in terms of the trust construction as I see certain references to that issue in the decision.

            • Adam

              That is a different question from Florian though. You can surely excuse me for not being a mind reader and answering a question that wasnt out there. Perhaps include that in your blog commission when you send me them.

              As for the answer to your question, I have made my feelings quite clear on Tax Avoidance schemes. I think they are wrong. What he did with the money is of no concern to me because simply he shouldnt have had it in the first place.

      • florian albert

        Your argument is that the widely quoted figure of £6 million, which was paid to Sir David Murray, may have been paid in part – or even in whole – from the Murray Group and thus (in part or whole) have nothing directly to do with Rangers. Sir David Murray could easily clear this up. In fact, he could have cleared it up a long time ago.

    • ecojon

      @ florian albert

      The only way to keep up with this lot is the fastest motobike on the planet and even then you would be struggling

    • The clubs debt was far greater than £18M – that amount is in reference to bank debt only.

      • Adam

        When you say “far greater” by how much do you refer to and who and when was it due?

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          When did the last audited accounts of Rangers actually run to? As a businessman who may have reason to look at accounts you will be wella ware of the various conventions which can be utilised, all legal, to achieve results desired by the Board or owner of a company.

          So if it was only £18 million why not sell 2/3 players and clear it? What do you think the club’s debt was and at what date and where is the information contained?

          • Adam

            30th June 2010. I have looked at the last audited accounts and i think i am reasonably au fait with what was due and when. I believe that at March 2011, our books were looking healthier than they had been since probably the late 80’s.

            Leaving long term investments aside that may have never been repaid, our debt wasnt much more than the £18m which is why i asked the question as to what he thought it was and why.

            As for clearing it…….there was no need to. It was a long term, sustainable mortgage that, big tax case aside, could have been managed in my opinion.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Makes you wonder why the owner of such a good investment, at least as far as audited accounts would suggest, wanted to sell it Also that they had such trouble for so long in finding a buyer.

              Perhaps possible buyers weren’t prepared just to put aside long term investments that might never have been repaid and it would be interesting to know what the investments were written-down to.

              Have you considered the shareholding capital which was injected into the company? I particulat what role did it play in providing operating capital?
              That of course is one of the issues of the current proposed Rangers AIM flotation.

              Problem is with your opinion Adam is that I look at all the people who expressed an interest in buying Rangers (IA) and I think many took a backwards step when they were actually given sight of the fiancial situation. Indeed some have since claimed it was actually worse than shown.

              So I don’t know that you had the necessary financial detail to make an informed judgement on the subject – all I know is that I certainly didn’t have.

            • Adam

              Are you being serious ?

              He wanted to sell it for one reason in April 2011 and one reason alone. Nobody would buy it for one reason and one reason alone.

              The potential circa £80m tax case.

      • WILLY WONKA

        Have you got a link to the total debt at that time ?

    • Carl 31

      FTT decision sets out how the EBT ‘works’ and that the scheme isn’t complicated. Legally, the money goes from Rangers to a remuneration trust. The money then goes via a legal loan to benefit the employee. The second bit is a two way street, but the first bit is a one way street.
      David Murray or any other employee cant, under the relevant contracts in their legal form, pay money back to Rangers or Murray Group, since they didnt enter a loan agreement with them. They could pay back to the relevant remuneration trust, but not Rangers.
      Helping out with the £18m would be some form of gift.

  11. A “bung” btw is an inducement to a player to play/sign up that does not show up in the contract registered with the football authorities.

    It is a sum of money paid to the player over and above what is registered and kept secret between player and employer.

    In days when player were not so well paid it was often delivered in a brown envelope.

    • nowoldandgrumpy

      Would it not have been prudent to look at the part of a players contract in particular at the agents fees. I am pretty sure that the agents percentage would have been the amount inclusive of the sham loan.
      That to me would be proof that the loans were not discretionary and were contractual, as surely the would not be expecting a fee from a non football related loan, would they.

      Or is that too simple.

      • Nowoldandgrumpy – I think the agents have had a huge part to play in all of this.

      • ecojon

        @ nowoldandgrumpy

        Yea it’s in the FTT the agent got his commission on the loan amount as well. Mmmmmmmmm disnae smell like a loan tae me 🙂

        • Nowoldandgrumpy

          Agree, what’s that saying again ” I smell *****”.

        • redetin

          ecojohn,
          I think, you’re correct and this is where some of the findings could unravel:
          1) agents fees related to loan size
          2) injury insurance based on wages and loan
          3) loans being used like wages eg “Mr Inverness’s loans were used to fund lifestyle spending.”
          4) other applications (eg mortgage applications) based upon wages and loans.
          5) anything else that treats the loan as part of the individual’s wealth, rather than a debt to be paid back.
          I think if I would be in this position of having received monies from such a source I’d be considering a Voluntary Disclosure to HMRC.

  12. The presiding QC one Mr Kenneth Mure made it quite clear about poon’s dissent;

    “The dissenting opinion of Dr Poon is added as an Appendix
    and should be read independently”

    I.E. poon’s ramblings are and were irrelevant.

    • I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean that, alex – have a read of Brogan Rogan, Trevino & Hogan’s post I’ve given a link for above.

      • Maybe you should check the result, that should leave you in no doubt as to the irrelevance of poon’s input.

        • I have alex, and I still stand by what I say above. Again, check the link I referred you to (written by someone with intimate knowledge of legal tax cases) – it’s an excellent read, and you’ll see there’s a helluva lot more to it than the 2-1 ‘result’. The law, as ever, is in the detail, and a lot of the detail does not amount to any exoneration or ‘win’ (and there’s still millions in tax owed, remember).

          For example, the detail – which includes the majority AND the dissenting opnion – gives HMRC ample reason to appeal, and it also gives an appeal court ample argument to overturn. I know, the law’s a bitch – but then again, maybe we’d all be at court instead of watching fitba if it was easy, or fun even.

          • You should tell the chap whose link you have supplied (which I will not be using) also to check the decision of the FTTT.

            I am sure the world and its dog will take the opinion of some no mark internet scribbler over that of the learned QC, well maybe you do.

          • Ishould have added, HMRC don’t as you appear to think have a right of appeal, they must be given leave to do so, if I were you I wouldn’t go preempting any outcomes…you know what happened the last time.

          • Maggie

            @Kenny Mc Caffrey
            …….ramblings….. inane drivel ( I refuse to use Adam’s term, inane
            “dribble” which isn’t the correct or usual form, but hey,
            it’s a free country )

            Oh the erudition they use to refute a reasoned argument.
            It can’t be often that Dr Poon’s professional opinions and
            judgements have been referred to as “ramblings” I can’t quite
            make my mind up whether it’s sexist or just downright
            ignorance and triumphalism,that elicits that sort of breathtaking
            dismissal of a highly professional,qualified member of the Tribunal.

            Oh the certainty of their exoneration that they refuse to read
            BRTH brilliant post.
            Now if it was me, or a business I had an interest in, or a
            football club I supported who was in this situation,I would most
            certainly want to know EVERY SINGLE THING possible
            about the judgement,but again Kenny,wilful blindness.
            Wasn’t that what got them into this situation in the first
            place?

            Some of Dr Poon’s dissenting judgement is excoriating to
            to witnesses on behalf of MIH and to the behaviour of the
            MIH group to say the least.
            I found it very telling that the documents that HMRC had been
            seeking from MIH were no where to be found,and the ones
            they did manage to acquire came as a result of an
            unannounced raid on the offices at Ibrox as part of a
            completely different investigation.

            Now maybe it’s me,but I would most definitely NOT be
            misplacing,some may say shredding,any documentation
            that could exonerate me from a multi million pound tax bill.
            Nor would I be dragging out an investigation for a considerable
            number of years and accumulating another multi million
            pound bill in penalties,then as a last resort selling a
            football club for £1, to get myself out from under such
            a burden of proof of innocence,but then “there’s nowt as strange
            as folk”

            As I posted to ecojon on Friday, I admire the indefatigability of
            you guys for persisting in trying to point out the many dangers
            that still await Rangers as a result of the contents of the FTTT.
            but I’m afraid no one wants to listen objectively or actually look
            at the inherent dangers,but as Alex says ……”you know
            what happened the last time”…… Oh the irony.

            FAO Adam,Alex et al please do not post any reply to me as
            I have no intention of engaging in any sort of debate with you
            as it would simply fall on deaf ears and be a repetition of
            what you’ve heard from others on here,and really why would
            I waste my time?

      • ecojon

        @ Kenny McCaffrey

        If the minority opinion was faulty in stating fact or law then the majority would have made that clear and stated exactly where the minority report had got it wrong. That’s normal procedure. They didn’t and took quite a lot of flak from Poone who interpreted things differently and on that BRTH has a reasonable postulation.

        But it all boils down to whether there is an appeal or not. At the moment the decision isn’t actually binding on anyone and I have read, although don’t know if this is correct, that other cases could adopt the minority opinion as their basis for making their decision and reject the majority decision in the Rangers FTT. I know that sounds crazy but probably crazy enough to be true.

    • Den

      Like BRTH you are reading a lot into what the Tribunal members wrote. The trouble with coded language is that it is vague and leaves a lot of room for people to interpret it through their own filters.

      I feel that your interpretation is rather harsh on Dr Poon’s contribution, I thought it was rather good as was the contribution of the majority. I am still dipping into it as it is a big document and needs a lot of close reading.

      • ecojon

        @ Den

        I think you’re on the button about coded messages which can be very confusing if you don’t have the code book to decipher them. And, of course, there might not actually be any ‘message’ there.

        And then if there isn’t an appeal a lot of people, with open minds, will be left wondering the truth of the matter. It is also worth remembering that an FTT is a very lowly forum in legal terms and the two ‘legal’ members on the Rangers case are not the be all and end all of legal decision making.

        FTTs get it wrong like any ‘court’ and that is why there is a clearly defined laid-down appeals procedure against FTT judgements and beyond.

        But the only people who will make the decision re an appeal is HMRC and I would think that few are in a position to second-guess their next step on this and, in any case, they will diligently check the legal pros and cons which have arisen from the Rangers FTT before deciding their direction.

        It is a pity in some ways that this is such an emotionally charged subject because of the involvement of a well-known football club at a very difficult time in its history and facing the uncertainties of an AIM flotation and what comes next. That makes for high passion and it’s easy to believe that there must be a conspiracy at HMRC to do the club down.

        The reality is that Rangers just happens to be the company that was in the right place at the right time for the taxman to try and get some clear legal guidance. If full information had been released to HMRC in a professional and timeous way there is every possibility that Rangers would not have ended-up in administration and subsequent liquidation.

        Looking back there’s now appears to have been an almost inexorable slide into the process which has unfolded for the club which I believe could have been avoided if there had been full co-operation with HMRC.

        Perhaps if full documentation had been provided when asked for rather than police ‘raids’ being carried out to try and seize crucial documentation the whole attitude of HMRC might have been very different and they possibly would have moved on to a more suspicious-looking target.

        It has to be borne in mind that amid all the PR spin following the FTT Decision that no one has actually addressed the failures which are clearly documented regarding some very senior employees on the Murray Group side. That is where the heart of the matter lies and to me Craig Whyte is just an opportunistic spiv who was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

        The problem of course with Whyte for many many senior players in this unfolding tragedy is no one can be sure just when he started covertly taping people and what documentation he might have copied during his Ibrox reign.

        • Den

          @Ecojon

          The emotiveness of the subject is why so much information is coming out on this case. Companies far larger and more economically significant than Rangers have been through the same processes and we don’t see it because very few journalists have the time to devote to reporting them and the public have short attention spans when it comes to business. The fact that it is Rangers has kept the appetite for information high.

          I find the business side much more interesting than football in which i have only a passing interest.

          A lot of people have a lot to answer for in bringing down Rangers.

          • ecojon

            @ Den

            I think we have a long long road to go before the full story of Rangers is fully revealed and I’m not talking about a candy-floss snowjob and I’m sure there will be a few of them tailored to a specific market and they will sell well. But there you go 🙂

    • redetin

      Read the VERY FIRST sentence of the tribunal findings: “We have been unable to reach a unanimous view.”
      This is not a side issue, or a view on one particular issue. Everything else that follows is predicated on that sentence, it wasn’t added as a footnote.

  13. Bill

    I’ve been to a party.and had a great night..had a drink ,listened to music and met nice people .

  14. Ruckcroft7

    Having read Broganrogan’s piece and now Paul’s , I just don’t know! Yes the majority said the scheme was not tax liable, and yet the minority view was , well t’opersite. But , I think it is clear on both sides of the judgment that players were paid / loaned more than the SFA were told. And as it stands that’s the next instalment….

  15. Budweiser

    ‘@Adam
    Still no answer ,other than,’ I heard something about’ or’ they didn’t mention to me over drinkies’ Mick posted the link – read it! I can understand someone wanting to defend their team in some respects ie football/financial.
    If you support this sort of mentality then you are beyond debate. All your hard worn earnings/paying’ fair share’ of taxes /I admire my brother- who is just an honest joe palaver. Lets just be honest here. would you have been happy in that dressing room?
    It makes me cringe and feel ashamed that foreigners could think and go home and talk about Scots in that way. Have you no shame?

    • ecojon

      @ Budweiser

      Yea he seems a strange guy – can’t figure out whether he has an obsession about Rangers or whether he just wants to always be right and force people to do as he instructs and believe the nonsense he spouts – I reckon he would be hell to work for.

      And the negative comments he made about his brother in law and best mate and the public – really really creepy. They’ll probably be hoping he buggers off abroad again asap as they’re probably fed-up hearing about the £100k a year he pays in taxes 🙂

      • ecojon

        @ Budweiser

        correction: where I said ‘public’ should have been ‘public purse’.

      • Adam

        I never made any negative comments about my “brother” and best mate. Again, your judgement on my opinions are well wide of the mark. You appear to be a striker thats well out of form just now.

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          You apologised and retracted damn quick – in my view the comments about their contribution to and payments from the public purse were very negative but then I am a very different person from you.

          And as I have already pointed out in a previous post to you I hold serious doubts about your moral compass.

          • Adam

            I explained what i meant. If you dont believe me, fair enough. Im never going to change your mind. That much is clear.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              The posting record is there for anyone who cares to look to do so and make up their own mind in the context of the discussion that was taking place just in case you think you’ll get away with your usual tactic of just using a wee bit that suits your own case.

    • You wouldn’t want to be reading Tommy Gemmel’s book and his recollections of the sectarian bile he received in a est end football club’s dressing room, people who live in glass houses.

      • Budweiser

        alex
        As you very rarely direct your responses to anyone in particular I will assume that one is addressed to me . You’re correct,’ I would’t want to read Tommy Gemmel’s book’ or any autobiography by any football player. They are usually ‘ghost written’ and tend to exaggerate minor incidents to help sell the book.
        Having said that, I did read some reviews and it does seem that Mr Gemmel led a very colourful and interesting life and career.
        If some reviewers are correct, then he was called ” An orange b——d” on one occasion by a ‘member of the old guard’ and of course this should be condemned. He also stated that he was supported by Jock Stein, Stevie Chalmers and Billy Mc Neil. All the reviewers claim that he was loved by the fans. liked by the other players.and was sorry when he finally left celtic. Indeed, he seemingly speaks at celtic functions and dinners to this day and is said to have a love for the club.
        During his heyday, Jock Stein was manager. Also playing alongside of him were Ronnie Simpson; Willie Wallace and Bertie Auld.- all protestants!
        This was 45 years ago. How many catholics were playing for rangers?
        Gemmel quotes Jock Stein as saying ” If there were two players of equal ability from ‘each side of the divide’ , I would always pick the catholic one as there’s no chance he will be picked by rangers. Hardly in the same vein as negri and butcher’s tales from Ibrox. Thanks for the tip- I may just read the book!

    • Adam

      Someone pointed out to me on my first night on here that this is NOT A FOOTBALL FORUM. I have no wishes to debate all the religious rubbish that surrounds the West of Scotland and football on here as it only ever leads to animosity.

      Im sure if Paul is reading this, he would also prefer that the religious stuff is left off his blog and i respect him too much to fall into the trap of bringing it down, thank you..

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        Bringing what down? The comments you complain of are coming from one of your own. Perhaps if you set a better example you could lead him/her into the light.

      • Den

        For what it is worth I agree with Adam that we keep religion out of this discussion, I want to read opinion on The SPL Independent Commission and FTT.

        I have no doubt that Celtic and Rangers players suffered abuse because of their religion which is wrong.

        • ecojon

          @ Den

          I totally agree with you on the religious stance as we lose any chance of common ground in we end up in that cul-de-sac and that is not to attack religion in any way but merely to recognise reality when it comes to football involving certain clubs.

    • Maggie

      @Budweiser,
      Hi Bud,good luck trying to get an answer.What you will get,
      is the same as I got. A hostile diatribe and accusations of
      hounding him from thread to thread to discuss something
      that happened 15 years ago.
      I saw your reply to me yesterday,but was busy and didn’t have
      time to answer.I agreed with everything you said.
      Think this might run and run,should be interesting.

  16. Published on Sunday 25 November 2012 00:00

    THE rangerstaxcase blog began as a beacon of truth but ended up losing sight of its principles.

    At its peak, the rangerstaxcase blog was, by its own estimation, generating traffic of up to 100,000 hits a day, each dispatch from the front line of the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) drawing, in some cases, thousands of responses, mostly from people who saw the mystery person behind the blog – a Celtic fan – as not just as an investigator or crusader but some kind of deity delivered from on high to report on the destruction of their rivals.

    To call it a blog would have been an understatement, it was more of a phenomenon fuelled by the unwavering certainty of Rangers’ guilt as well as its condemnation of the Scottish football press in failing, as the blog saw it, to cover one of the “biggest sporting scandals in history”. It quickly built a Twitter following of nearly 23,000. It won the prestigious Orwell Prize for the material it produced on the Big Tax Case and was at the forefront of most discussions about the problems that Rangers faced with HMRC.

    If you wanted to know the latest news on their tax travails, rangerstaxcase was a place you went because, unlike newspapers or radio stations, rangerstaxcase was connected to the heart of the FTT and everybody knew it.

    It had documents and detail that were beyond dispute. When illustrating one point it was making it would summon up information that could only have come from somebody within, or very close to, the tribunal. Once, it wrote of Gavin Rae, the former Rangers player. Rae, said the blogger, signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the club on 1 January 2004, his official contract lodged with the SFA and the SPL showing an annual wage of £260,000. The blogger pointed out that on the same day, 1 January, Rangers provided Rae with a letter that said that money, totalling £336,000, would be deposited in a sub-trust of the Murray Group Remuneration Trust on his behalf. Rae would also receive £1,000 as an appearance for every first-team game he played. It reported that between February 2004 and July 2007, Rae received five payments totalling £336,000 plus appearance fees of £11,000 for season 2003-4, £8,000 for 2005-6 and £20,000 for 2006-7.

    These numbers weren’t plucked from the sky. They were taken from documents it was given by its source, or sources, close to the Tribunal. On this story, rangerstaxcase was leading the media a merry dance, revealing a steady stream of sensitive and confidential information.

    In the past few months you could tell that it was building to a crescendo, the moment of glory when the FTT report was published, confirming everything that the blog had been saying. Convinced that the endgame was going to play out exactly as it had forecasted, rangerstaxcase became ever more emboldened. It tweeted matter-of-factly about Rangers’ “reign of destruction” and the “inevitable disaster” that awaited them when they would be found guilty of a “giant scam” and “premeditated financial doping”. Anybody raising the slightest doubt about its interpretation of the tribunal’s as-yet unknown findings were rubbished. The findings, it said, would reveal the industrial-scale cheating and the lying that went on at Ibrox in the illegal implementation of the EBT scheme and anybody who thought otherwise was a gullible idiot.

    On 20 October, the blogger that led the way tweeted that the FTT will conclude that Rangers underpaid their tax to the tune of £18-20 million with another £18m-£20m on top in interests and penalties. The decision is coming, it said, and it was going to represent devastation for what it called “the deadco”. That was a word it used a lot, a derogatory word that suggested the blog had long since crossed the line between, on the one hand, reporting and analysing and, on the other, spiteful goading.

    Tuesday was the most instructive day in the short and remarkable life of rangerstaxcase. Having built a reputation on the back of analysing documents that few would ever see, the reputation was lost when failing to analyse properly a document that everybody could see. Its bombastic declaration of victory on Twitter was revealing. On judgment day, rangerstaxcase saw only what it wanted to see. It was only later that it realised that it had read the conclusions incorrectly. It hurriedly deleted some triumphant tweets, removed all the blogs from the website that won the Orwell Prize – and disappeared.

    The final message was plaintive and pitiful. “This blog brought light to a matter of public interest,” it read. “This blog has been accurate on all of the major points of the case except the one that matters most to date – the FTT outcome.”

    What is happening now is that the hunter has become the hunted. Rangers fans have an e-petition on the go to try and out the source of his information, which they believe, possibly erroneously, came from within HMRC. They want rangerstaxcase outed as well. They believe criminal activity might have taken place in the leaking of documents. Whatever the truth of that, the fact is that rangerstaxcase, seeker of truth, has run away.

    Its rise and fall is a story of our times, a story with many lessons for fans and bloggers and media alike. It surfaced first in March 2011 with a mission statement. “I have information on Rangers’ tax case, and I will use this blog to provide the details of what Rangers FC have done, why it was illegal, and what the implications are for one of the largest football clubs in Britain.”

    In the beginning, it was a fount of information. It produced – and continued to produce – fascinating detail about the workings of the EBT scheme and why there was a potential for disaster for Rangers. It attacked the football media in Scotland for what it called its historic sycophancy for all things Ibrox and there was no doubt but that it had a point. Many football writers agreed with the point. Some media in Scotland have been cheerleaders for Rangers over the years and everybody knows it, but the cheerleading is isolated, not pervasive. It was a ludicrous and ignorant assumption to bracket the “mainstream media” together and find it collectively guilty of subservience.

    But this is what happens when a movement of people all think the same way with no room for an alternative opinion. As the masses flooded on to the blog, the blog slowly metamorphosed into a nasty anti-Rangers, anti-media rally. It became extraordinarily pompous, accepting its Orwell Prize and comparing the bravery of its own work with the courage of the great author. Later, it opined: “One of the best aspects of this blog is the way in which articulate and reasonable fans from both sides (and even a few others) can have an online discussion that does not degenerate into sectarian bile-hurling.” But it was nonsense. The blog became poisonous. It was as if rangerstaxcase and all who worshipped it were the chosen ones and everybody else was either stupid or corrupt or both. There were no shades of grey, no room for doubt. Rangers were guilty of cheating and the mainstream media –mostly hesitant in categorically pre-judging Rangers’ guilt in “premeditated financial doping” – were complicit and cowardly. That was the way of it.

    When the hordes began to revere the blogger and tell him that everything he did was the one and only truth, that was the point it started to go wrong, the line in the sand when proper analysis of the detail he was being given went out of the window. Posturing soon took hold.

    We should remember something, though. Before the unsavoury side of its personality was unveiled, rangerstaxcase made many pertinent points. Rangers fans derided it as bullshit. Craig Whyte said the revelations on the blog were “99 per cent crap.” They weren’t. Far from it. If you read the FTT report and turn to the pages where Dr Heidi Poon outlines her thoughts as the one dissenting voice, you come to understand that the information rangerstaxcase revealed took us to the heart of the Tribunal, it just wasn’t the majority view. The information was straight. It was the analysis that was twisted.

    David Murray might be pursuing rangerstaxcase now, but the irony is that in one respect they have something in common. Hubris hurt them both. The difference is that Murray is visible and whatever you think of him, he has always fought his corner. The blogger, on the other hand, has fled.

    • cam

      The above should be required reading for all bloggers,posters,fantasists.It should be handed out in schools and hereby referenced as The RTC epitaph.
      Fellow ramblers,wafflers and mince producers, bow before the great Kubla Khan for he has walked amongst thee and spoken,heed not the false prophets,fear not the doomsayers and ignore those who are obviously partaking of the electric soup.

  17. How very very embarrassing.

    Tuesday was the most instructive day in the short and remarkable life of rangerstaxcase. Having built a reputation on the back of analysing documents that few would ever see, the reputation was lost when failing to analyse properly a document that everybody could see. Its bombastic declaration of victory on Twitter was revealing. On judgment day, rangerstaxcase saw only what it wanted to see. It was only later that it realised that it had read the conclusions incorrectly. It hurriedly deleted some triumphant tweets, removed all the blogs from the website that won the Orwell Prize – and disappeared.

    The final message was plaintive and pitiful. “This blog brought light to a matter of public interest,” it read. “This blog has been accurate on all of the major points of the case except the one that matters most to date – the FTT outcome.”

    • redetin

      I am waiting to see if there is an Upper Tribunal before accepting that this type of tax-free personal enrichment is really what was intended by the rules.

      • ecojon

        @redetin

        Sadly while the MSM are in thrall to fresh helpings of succulent lamb and PR spin we are left with a situation where millionaires are handed further millions tax free and our ‘betters’ would have us believe that there is nothing wrong with a society that not only allows this but aggressively pursues this goal,

        I can’t think of another company in Scotland that wouldn’t have been torn apart by the media in similar circumstances irrespective of the FTT majority decision.

        We have to wait and see what happens – but if we keep leaking Revenue the way we are as a country then we could be heading for the pan – very very fast.

  18. I have promised not to get involved in this debate but all I will say to a lot of ur readers is this: once again, and I am guilty of this also, there is not enough reading between the lines! I see a lot of quotes that prove rangers guilty and in each and every one of them I find a defence.

    As I say I won’t state my opinion because mainly- I actually don’t care enough- but as a spectator I can see a very good defence here, I never Thot that I would but I do and I think it would be anything but wise to look straight at any one given view.

    Anyway- just my opinion and all that jazz. As I say….. Really couldn’t care less tbh.

    • ecojon

      @ garryjbmacinnes

      Might be helpful if you let us know what actual quotes make you think Rangers is ‘guilty’ and what the defences are against them. If some doesn’t have a closed mind then its useful to know how they reach conclusions and you certainly appear to be prepared to at least try and weigh up the pros and cons.

      If you can see a very good defence then it might change other people’s minds as they might not have seen the defence you talk of.

  19. Adam

    “I have information on Rangers’ tax case, and I will use this blog to provide the details of what Rangers FC have done, why it was illegal, and what the implications are for one of the largest football clubs in Britain.”

    Did RTC actually say that on his blog ? I always thought he said they werent illegal so a bit confused.

    If he did say that, then Im guessing thats why he took the site down, as that is potentially libellous.

    • ecojon

      @ Adam

      You’re the one that used to post on RTC so why are you asking us – don’t you know the answer and if its potentially libellous ( or perhaps even defamatory) then you have just become equally guilty by transmitting it. If I were you I would ask Paul to remove your post because if you don’t you might end-up in the dock especially if you have ignored friendly advice to remove it.

      Of course there is always veritas so perhaps you actually do know the truth at Ibrox – are you the hunted Ibrox mole by any chance?

      OK OK a wee bit melodramatic – sitting in the well of court will do. But you really should brush-up on your Scots legal terms right enough.

      • Adam

        I should brush up on my Scots legal terms 🙂 I think you should brush up on law then because if you think quoting what someone says makes me equally guilty, then you are sadly lacking in legal skills.

        I was on RTC and i would actually say that i dont believe he did say that and im not sure where it came from so on that point, i think its is reasonable for me to challenge the post made by alex (whom i think is a Rangers fan).

        Im even getting pulled up now for challenging my own.

        As i said. Playing the man, not the ball.

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          Well if you are quoting something which is defamatory then you are. The fact that it is a quote is no defence IMHO but of course the law being the law who knows. However I have given you friendly advice and you have chosen to ignore it which is your prerogative.

          As I say it would be helpful when you are challenging someone like your friend from the Darkside to actually identify them in your post as it saves a lot of confusion and having others thinking you are replying to or challenging them.

          You also failed to address Budweiser in one of your posts earlier and again caused confusion. It really doesn’t take long to do and show a bit of manners and I’m sure your parents must have taught you about them.

          • Adam

            1. I wouldnt know how to delete even if i wanted to.
            2. I can 100% assure you that if Rangers decide the statement is defamatory, then me asking if the statement is true and puting it in speech marks to show its not my view or mine will not and cannot result in action against me.
            3. The format of this blog is difficult. I press reply against posts and somehow my reply ends up further down the page. Once again i apologise for not meeting your blog standards commission. Please send me your rules and i will try to adhere to them. 🙂

        • “I have information on Rangers’ tax case, and I will use this blog to provide the details of what Rangers FC have done, “why it was illegal”, and what the implications are for one of the largest football clubs in Britain.”

          That is exactly what rtc said in his flyer in every thread in his quest for glory, as english said he has now fled and dismantled, but not very well his blogs and tweets, they are held on many a database.

  20. [IMG]http://i47.tinypic.com/33m8lm8.png[/IMG]

    • Adam

      Thanks alex. Have to say that surprises me actually but i stand corrected that he did use it. It is most certainly defamatory in my opinion.

  21. tykebhoy

    Interesting that Adam who was frequently found to be wrong (Audited account anyone?) should criticise anything that appeared on the RTC blogs

    • Adam

      1. I wasnt frequently wrong. I got information on one ocassion which i shared with RTC and it turned out to be wrong. I am sure if RTC was here, he would testify that i emailed him a few times back at the beginning enough for him to know i was genuine. And of course, it turned out i was 100% spot on about Craig Whyte and 100% spot on about the month we would potentially go into administration.

      2. If you look carefully, i wasnt criticising, in fact i was challenging something that was criticising him.

      I really despair sometime. You really cant win when the Old Firm is concerned.

      • It wasn’t criticising, it was stating fact.

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        What has this got to do with the Old Firm which is currently no more and might never be resurrected?

        • Adam

          The “Old Firm” rivalry still exists. Like it or not. There is still Rangers and Celtic. They still hate each other. People will dislike me JUST BECAUSE i support Rangers even if they try to convince themselves that the Rangers playing in Division 3 is different from the one that played in the SPL.

          I know it. You know it, Everybody knows it. It is an indisputable FACT.

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        Poor old Adam even your own side seem to think you have a tenuous grasp of what fact is.

        • Adam

          The article was criticising RTC. I challenged it as i didnt know if it was a fair criticism. Alex proved it was a Fact. The article was correct. Alex was correct.

          That isnt me having a tenuous grasp on what a fact is, that is me being consistent enough to ask for evidence no matter what side of fence the argument is on.

  22. JohnBhoy

    Adam, why do you post on this site? You either write with the conviction of certainty or summarily dismiss everyone as bigots – and please don’t offer the cowardly Charlie-esque definition of bigotry, with a pretentious nod in the direction of etymology. Or you post a chain of faux-naive questions. All designed to interpret all evidence in favour, one way or another, of Rangers past and present.

    Many others of a blue persuasion on this site have the merit of a willingness to engage in debate or, instead, fire off some amusing broadsides. There is no developmental or educational narrative to your contributions; nor are they interesting. Your technique is predictable, unprofitable and dull, resulting in your pre-determined conclusion: Rangers are guilty of nothing.

    Dullness is the most damning charge. When a bore becomes a constant presence then he is a nuisance. Adam, apologies if this comes across as rude, but you bore me to tears. And to think that you have the temerity to refer to mick’s posts as “inane dribble”. You can pretend to be clever but you cannot pretend to be interesting.

    • Adam

      Feel free to ignore my posts if i bore you. Thanks.

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        I think you bore a helluva lot of people but I won’t ignore your posts when you twist words and present ‘facts’ as truth when they ain’t or at the very least another explanation could be advanced.

        It is your closed fixed-mind approach that is really wierd in someone who presumably has a relatively high intelligence level and experience of life. But there IMHO is a deficit in life skills but hey that’s your problem not mine. Hope you get a suitable contract abroad soon 🙂 That, btw, was a joke in case you missed it.

    • ecojon

      @ JohnBhoy

      It’s funny I was just thinking of mick this morning when I saw the terrible news this morning about 100 Thai workers dying in a sweat-shop factory fire out there.

      mick is a guy that I have recognised as exceptional in his genuine global worries about how workers are exploited by advanced countries like the UK. Underneath a helluva lot of his arguments there is an enormous amount of concern and compassion. Yea sometimes it’s difficult to piece the bits together but everyone is worthy of listening to.

      Especially those with opposing viewpoints and those that so-called highly-educated people are too busy to give the time of day let alone listen to their message.

      • JohnBhoy

        Mick is an intellectual giant with a heart of gold.

        • Mick

          Your club did die you have a new company house number you choice to ignore that the uk broad sheets throw the week were calling the cloned club a pheniox club throw week in msm paper so it’s a large tax bill either way the ftt was to claw tax back via mih. Yous defaulted on tax and died any mention of this sends you of on a ranting tangent your deluding the facts of law

      • Adam

        You have opposing viewpoints to myself, though some the same as well. You dont resort to “haha yer clubs deid get over it haha puuurrr deid so it is here watch this amnoabilly video coz yer clubs deid”

        That is why i give you the time of day because despite your opposing views, you make an attempt in the main to keep it on the level.

        If i wanted to give mick the time of day, i would join one of those horrendous fans forums where there are plenty of people like mick who resort to that rubbish, good humanitarian or not.

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          You just don’t get it do you? mick is just taking the p*ss out of you and you are reacting true to form. I will need to add humour inplant to the list.

          Not sure about keeping things ‘on the level’ with the connotation the phrase holds in certain quarters 🙂

          I am also unsure about the opposing views thing – mainly because it is so difficult to know what your views are as they really never emerge.

          Sometimes I actually think you might be a fairly young teenager who is attempting to appear grown-up but actually hasn’t fully developed in terms of cognitive processes. And I don’t mean that in terms of impairment but more in terms of age or it might be you are just following a script. Who knows? Who cares?

          • Adam

            Ah, its humour. Oh ok. I will continue choose to ignore it thanks.

            As for the rest, not worthy of a response.

            • ecojon

              @ Adam

              Yes the young often don’t realise that the perception others have of them holds many keys to understanding one’s own ‘self’.

    • Maggie

      @JohnBhoy,
      Thanks JB you saved me the bother of posting the exact
      same sentiments.His monumental self regard is beyond
      tedious.I most certainly wouldn’t worry about being rude to
      him as he’s the rudest,I’ll mannered contributor on here.

      Most of us here can engage in disagreements,but with
      respect and humour,not he.
      He would do well to emulate his fellow supporter cam,
      who,as you know, we all like these for these very qualities.
      His level of condescension to others is nauseating as
      witnessed by his comments about mick.
      Talk about having no emotional intelligence whatsoever!
      He quite clearly underestimated the affection that
      mick is held in here.
      Of course you could apply that ultimate “guy” test JB.
      Who would you rather go for a pint with?
      Adam or mick ? A no brainer je pense. 🙂

      Btw For someone always crying bigotry,even equating
      the number of his TDs to it,he’s extremely reluctant
      to address any points raised about it from myself
      and Budweiser because it wasn’t “what the thread was
      about” Did Paul retire and put him in charge when I
      wasn’t looking?

  23. I have just flicked through all of these comments and besides the fact that some of you might be better going to bed a little earlier, the tone is a little disturbing. Please play nice or people will stop reading. AND Adam and Ecojon, you’re not married to each other are you?

  24. Adam

    @ ecojon
    November 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Im getting the hang of this – the reason it says employees and not players is rather simple. It was players, managers, directors and a few other roles that received the loans. What were they all ? Yes thats right. Employees.

    What is it they say about Occam’s razor ?

    • JohnBhoy

      Q.E.D.

      Signing off, defeated by ennui…

    • ecojon

      @ Adam

      I don’t know what you are getting the hand of but it isn’t in getting things correct. As usual you try and weave and dodge to create an interpretation which suits your obviously beloved Rangers.

      The truth is not what you have stated but: 107. In addition to the Definitive Deed dated 20 April 2001 by MGML creating the Remuneration Trust there were 108 sub-trusts, five of which were for MGML’s
      employees.

      Of the other 103, 22 were for employees of other companies in the
      Group, and 81 for players in Rangers.
      ———————————————————————————-

      So where did you get the information that Rangers’ managers, directors and a few other roles received the loans. Or, as per usual, did you just make it up or is it part of the PT briefing pack.

      I think you may be touching on an important revelation but don’t actually realise it but I will wait for your response.

      Just so you are clear the question is: What Rangers managers, Rangers directors, and other Rangers non-playing ‘roles’ received loans through Rangers football club. And where can I check that information as I’m afraid that your error rate is so high I can’t accept your word.

      And it would be nice to know what ‘roles’ do at Rangers. Perhaps this is worthy of an investigation by Piegate mick as maybe you mean ‘rolls’ and I suppose if it is a bakery product Ally is bound to be a prime suspect 🙂

      • ecojon

        @ Adam

        To protect anonymity I am happy to be given the anonymised FTT designations unless of course your info comes hot-foot from Ibrox or elsewhere.

      • Adam

        Well this list could be wrong of course i suppose, but it was held up as the one to trust by many a site back in the day:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-18148818

        It includes

        Players
        Head of Football administration
        Assistant managers
        Managers
        Head of Youth development
        Directors
        Club Secretaries
        Physios
        Club Doctor
        Fitness Coach

        If the BBC have it wrong then once again, apologies.

        • ecojon

          @ Adam

          It’s a bit sloppy to use a media source which is six months old when you have a bang up-to-date trusted primary source which you have ignored.

          Also a bit disingenuous to use information from a media source and declare it to be ‘The Truth’ and not at least provide a caveat by revealing ‘The Truth’ is as viewed by a media source. Again it appears to fit your pattern that the evidence is assembled to suit your position rather than actual reality.

          I believe your eagerness to prove the SFA got it all wrong and it was their fault that Rangers EBT payments went un-noticed and nothing to do with the behaviour of the club which lead you into a trap. That’s me being charitable and a less charitable view is – well I don’t really need to spell it out do I.

          I will help you out by throwing a lifeline – possibly Rangers Managers, Rangers Directors and Rangers ‘Roles’ did have EBTs but how did they get to be members of the Murray Group Remuneration Trust. Could they have come through a Group Company other than Rangers? Now let’s see if you can work that one out – it’s a bit of a test for you 🙂

          In any case the SFA have no interest in whether Rangers Managers, Rangers Directors or even the Rangers ‘Roles’ have or had EBTs. They weren’t ‘players’ and were therefore of no regulatory interest to the SFA.

          • Adam

            A bit sloppy you say. This was a Scottish BAFTA award winning revelation. I cant say for certain, but if you gave me a million pounds to bet on it being right or wrong information, i would put it on being right.

            How they obtained the information is an altogether other matter mind you.

            And once again, you are puting words in my mouth. I am not eager to say it was the SFA fault and nothing to with the club. What i said was that if it is found their is an issue then the SFA are “culpable AS WELL”

            Did you miss the words “AS WELL” on purpose?

            Or was it an error on your part ?

            Back to the point. “Employees” was used to describe the FACT it was various “employees” and not just “players” I am 99.9999% certain of that.

  25. ecojon

    @ Violet Carson

    I am definitely going to head for the hills – I always do when my marital status is questioned – I think it’s a phobia 🙂

    Last night I was sitting-up mainly to keep and eye on a pet who is poorly and the chit-chat kept me awake. I really don’t play either nice or nasty in any pre-fixed way. I take things as they come and as you know I can be challenging but also am there to be challenged.

    As to people deciding to stop reading I’m not sure I agree with you on that one – but who knows? The problem is always one of balance. What kind of indicator is the number of people who read a Blog and what does it actually indicate anyway. These are fairly deep marketing questions and I don’t have a clue what answers some research might throw-up.

    You and I have developed issues but I have none with you on the questions of putting your views forward – you do that articulately and even robustly at times. That is your right and in spite of what you may think I would support rather than challenge that.

    There are just things you have done or said that offend me – OK that’s my problem and for me to deal with. I think you are aware of my thoughts on the issue and as it seems obvious there is an impasse then I leave it as it is.

    You have your thoughts and I have mine and that’s what the rich tapestry of life is all about – not only having the right to your own thoughts but the right to express them albeit bearing in mind the ‘duty’ that an individual has to the wider community. ‘Duty’ I accept is a clumsy word to use in this concept but perhaps a whole blog would be required to resolve the issues I have touched upon and that’s me wearing my optimist hat 🙂

  26. Interestingly others are stressing the point that poon has no legal qualifications she is an abacus shaker, she was there to make up the numbers in layman’s terms, no pun intended.

    • redetin

      I suspect you and “others” would be rather out of your depth in a discussion with Dr Poon on tax law.

    • Mick

      Ho wrong you are Alex and to say the bean counter was there to make up the numbers is ludicrous they were there to give a option based on the numbers and financial corporate law expert your in the Adam camp blinded by the lies of the blinding msm the women was there on merit to the case Is it not great we have a article balanced and factual thoughts after a week of msm spin finally after great revision the bloggers are having there say a feel the judges should have listened to the bean counter annd went with there view as they are not taken in to account the busssiness aspects and consequences. it was a blatant tax scam that’s reality and and a slap in the face to directors of other clubs who struggle with tight budgets there is still time for an appeal

      • Adam

        @ Mick
        November 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        Its not really surprising that the minority view suits you better. For the record(pardon any pun) I dont read the msm.

        As for your statement, “it was a blatant tax scam” then its potentially defamatory and you should perhaps think before pressing the Post button.

        • One definition of “scam” is “a strategem for gain”.

          I think that the creation of an artificial scheme, but one backed by all relevant legal documents, as determined by the Tribunal, in an effort to save significant amounts of tax could be called by that noun.

          I am sure that that is what mick was alluding to.

        • Mick

          Skanking the tax Adam is a scam sham is other word being used bumping the tax to some were found to have done this others got of that’s the way a see it you can’t say interdict if commenter is not agreeing we live in free Scotland get real even if a say criminally stolen that’s my shared opion you can’t change that it’s a debate it’s not liable in anyway your tripping out your tree

        • cam

          A software program like the M.I.C.K is incapable of independent thought and is therefore not capable of defamation.I have now upgraded my firewall and diverted power to my main shields.As long as the di-lithium crystals hold out i should be able to complete my mission.
          Admiral Struth has me running heavy interference in this decisive game of cyber Battleships,we have taken out their Bismarck but the Tirpitz and Prince Eugen must be found and sunk.
          Set phasers to malky!
          Cam out.

  27. arb urns

    and so … we can safe in the knowledge that two out of three learned judges will ( “have to”) knock this into the back of the net for all the self employed in the land…

    set up a non split discretionary trust
    stick random variable sums into it as non absolute emoluments.
    lob out a non-status,unsecured,no regular repayments,favourable int rate, no specific purpose, wol term loan whenever its amber nectar time.

    and they can all avoid,reduce,shelter from

    1. corp tax
    2. nic
    3. income tax
    4. inheritance tax.

    what a plan man !!!!

    now if all the employed people could send gross invoices to their “employers” we can defeat this pesky paye that hector takes every month…what u think scotty …. beam me up kenny.

    • ecojon

      @ arb urns

      I think that actually what you jest about is exactly what is happening on the ground as the squeezed middle try to survive the recession especially if they are in business.

      That’s why the HMRC are being kicked in the ribs and told to get their ass in gear and get collecting. Problem is the legal precedents allow the fiddle and fudges to take place and it would take primary legislation to sort out the shambles of tax legislation. They wasted time in reducing the planning legislation supposedly – a real case of Nero fiddling while Rome burnt – when it’s the tax legislation that required gutting and being rewritten.

      One of the biggest failures of Labour in government was in not tackling and reversing the Thatcher tax giveaways to her ‘pals’. It has grown into a monster and is fast creating a banana republic attitude and reality where only idiots and ‘little people’ pay taxes.

      Cameron id terrified to legislate and lose Tory big business donors and all the time George Boy is being thwarted by falling revenues and HMRC is piggy in the middle being pressurised.

      I think it’s one of these situations that when people get into the habit and culture of avoiding tax it’s very hard to change them back and I fear we are very close to the tipping point on this one. Guys that own small and medium businesses and have some kind of loyalty to workers and suppliers must be pulling their hair out as they watch the Starbucks and the Rangers operating or having operated aggressive tax reduction strategies.

      A lot of these guys and gals I am talking about do feel a moral obligation about their tax collection obligations but many I fear are now wondering whether they have a greater morality due to keeping their employees in work.

      Something is going to give and only one thing is certain and that is those towards the bottom of the pile are the ones who will suffer most.

      • arb urns

        fair call eco j. although in jest with my post, its hard to see given the “majority” in law finding of the fttt that it wouldnt work for the self emp. its basically what the majority dec is saying, and, u dont need an ebt to do it.

        on your broader points vince c is the guy with the intellect and drive to sort a lot of this out but sadly all will want to give nick c that red nose come picking day and the chance to get fairness into the system will probably again be lost. amazingly tho there are pockets in the blue side who are showing their original lib dem origins and speaking out against this, m forsyth up here for instance, so all is not yet lost.

        happy posting

    • Mick

      All the plumbers can set up a off shore loan cool CIS is massive due contracts and all the builders are selfemPloyed

  28. Good Evening,

    That is a very good article Paul, with interesting points of debate among the comments.

    Can I state quite clearly that my post of the other day was nor more than an attempt on my part to explain what the FTT judges actually said, and my interpretation of why they said what they said. It was not meant in any way to be regarded as any sort of judgement on either the evidence or the law concerned on my part– although on an initial reading I did say within the body of the post that I would probably agree with the majority decision given the concession by the HMRC advocate that the loans and the trusts concerned were not to be treated as a sham or shams– and were to be treated as real and having a real legal effect.

    On that basis I have difficulty in seeing how an HMRC assessment which is based on the inspector using best judgement and reaching the conclusion that the monies taken from the trusts were taxable income can stand if at Tribunal HMRC accept that the same monies were transferred between parties in terms of trust and loan agreements which they are not prepared to challenge as a sham and which they accept were real in legal terms.

    However, I think that HMRC have a point of appeal based on the law quoted and language used by the learned Tribunal members– all 3 of them.

    The legal issue is whether or not the judges can look behind the trusts and loans notwithstanding the concession made by HMRC and the written trust and loan documents.

    Two judges explained why they can’t– and therefore could make no further findings in fact having heard the evidence,– whereas Dr Poon felt she clearly could look beyond the documents and so examined in detail the intention of the parties based on the evidence before her. Having carried out that exercise she went on to make various findings in fact and law.

    I note Alex’s comments about having the right to appeal and having to ask for the right to appeal– but I am confident that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that a right of appeal will be granted if asked for.

    There is no doubt that having heard the evidence and the arguments, the three judges are absolutely the people who are best equipped to opine on the quality of evidence and its persuasive value. None of us on hear have and we can only interpret what the judges thought of the evidence on the basis of the words that they use in the judgement. In that regard one judge has gone into the evidence in detail, the others have not.

    The coded message, if there be one, is that if the assenting judges are wrong in law about what they were allowed to consider, then MIH are one nil down when assessed on credibility and reliability.

    Beyond that there is nothing more that we can say. Given that we have no idea what assessments were accepted as correct, or the numbers involved in the five situations where it appears that MIH eventually conceded, we cannot start to guess what any of this means in terms of actual money.

    Further, if the conceded cases all relate to Rangers PLC employees and there turns out to be £x in tax due as a result, just who is expected to pay this now that the company is in liquidation?

    I don’t know the answer to that– and I suspect there will now be a lot coming and going between HMRC, BDO as Liquidator, the MIH solicitors and so on.

    Three further things:

    Alex you make this comment:

    “I am sure the world and its dog will take the opinion of some no mark internet scribbler over that of the learned QC,…….”

    May I thankyou for your kind description— I am indeed an internet scribbler– and probably a no mark one at that—merely offering opinion and comment which everyone is free to disagree with….. nothing more!

    I too would value the opinion of the learned QC— that was why I employed him for many years— before and after he became a QC— and during that period we did indeed debate and argue contrary opinions on matters of law. Sometimes I even talked him round to my way of thinking!!

    Secondly I note all the debate about the SPL commission, whether it should go ahead, whether it should be scrapped, whether the FTT decision shows Rangers did not cheat etc.

    I think the two bodies are looking at completely different tests and sets of rules– so the FTT can’t possibly decide the SPL matter.

    However, the evidence as commented on by Dr Poon does make something clear to me at least.

    Any Rangers Player who was not on an EBT scheme definitely did not cheat at anything.

    Any Rangers player who was on an EBT scheme– well I don’t think they cheated either. They were told what the terms on offer were, they were told they were legal, there is no evidence to show that they knew that those terms were witheld from anyone– in short– they played football in games they either won, lost or drew.

    None of them knowingly cheated anyone.

    Further, the Rangers fans didn’t cheat– they are complete innocents in all of this.

    It also appears that some board members and senior figures at Rangers also had no intention of cheating anyone. They seem to say that they too were offered terms and most crucially that they thought the tax investigation was being answered and dealt with openly and timeously.

    Dr Poon makes criticisms of certain witnesses as to their veracity and reliability– she also questions integrity and so on.

    It is entirely possible that officials working for Rangers PLC failed to lodge documents in the genuine belief that they did not need to– that would not be cheating either– but may still amount to a rule breach,

    Then again, there is the suggestion that certain officials at Ibrox must have known that they had not disclosed properly, tried to avoid disclosing, covered up failing to disclose, and deceived others within the club about disclosure and compliance with the tax investigation.

    If that turns out to be the case then the SPL commission will rule that there was rule breaking and impose some form of punishment in terms of the rules. What that punishment is is not for me to say– all I will say is that if there are rules then rules should be adhered to in the interests of fairness.

    As for cheating? yes this would be cheating– and while those of us who support other teams can whine on about this if we want– the truth is that no one will have been cheated against more than those Rangers players and the paying Rangers fans. Those players can’t get the years back. They can’t play for someone else or replay the games with the proper paperwork in place. They will have been cheated and I have every sympathy for a professional footballer who believes that he has achieved a league victory honestly, has been awarded medals on that basis, celebrated on that basis and so on— only to find that a panel or a commission or whatever takes part of that glory away, and rubs the shine off that achievement because someone somewhere who did not kick a football has decided not to— or neglected to— lodge the right paperwork!!

    That is a travesty– it might be a legal travesty– but it is a travesty none the less.

    Lastly, there was some debate about accounts, indebtedness and so on re Rangers PLC and comment about the extent of the Rangers PLC debt.

    The bank debt was down to £18M– but there has been suggestion that over and above that there were inter company debts where by Rangers PLC owed MIH some £70M in addition. This would follow from the 2004 share issue underwritten by MIH- and others sums injected through MIH.

    I am not sure if this appeared in the RFC accounts- perhaps someone can clarify— but it appears that this sum might be included in the sums that Lloyds decided to write off as unrecoverable once they took the helm at MIH.

  29. For the avoidance of doubt that should read that if HMRC do ask for leave to appeal then I am certain it will be granted.

  30. arb urns

    @ brt and h

    all sounds sound…… I would be really keen to know what was in the hmrc qc mind when they agreed that the trusts were not a ‘sham’ surely they had some other plan for this agreement other than handing the majority a ‘two goal lead’ early doors…. u guys have fallen into the hole that …. the punters dont matter in this…… during this ten year period of ebteeism i introduced my son to football and my betrothed team… we sped around our great country on great weekly excursions bonding as thousands others have done and firmly believing we were mounting a title challenge to the ‘old firm’ on at least three occasions….. sadly often at the hands of mr bonkle from dallas et al these dreams were thwarted and thousands of pounds were donated to our great game in vain…… it is a double whammy to find one of the oppo were fielding players as they freely admit they otherwise could not have attracted without ebt’s……. disillusioned I largely no longer attend matches although glad to say no1 son does but we and others i would hazard are watching from the sidelines the outcome here…..

    a viewpoint might be, that it might be worth considering the thoughts and potential actions of fans of 41 other clubs, thereby providing some protection to our national game, rather than fewer than 100 players who kissed a badge for a few years and headed into carriage clock time safe in the knowledge they would not be asked to proportionately contribute from income as others have to the fabric of the nation that gave them a livliehood.

    is this fttt ‘majority’ an example of why law and ass appear compelled to appear as bedfellows in a sentence so often?……who knows

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