Guess Who the Record Condemned as “Morally Bankrupt” with “Indefensible Greed” for Using “Sleight of Hand” to Avoid Taxes?

Whilst the First Tier Tribunal found, by a majority, in favour of MIH in the EBT case, the judges on all sides were of a mind that the scheme used was an artificial one for the purposes of reducing tax bills. The majority found that the form triumphed over the substance, whilst the dissenting judge favoured the reverse. These issues will be dealt with again, should HMRC decide to appeal.

As the majority commented:-

“The terms of the Appellants’ internal memos and communications anent the operation of the Remuneration Trust were highlighted by Mr Thomson. This had been a major feature emerging from HM Inspectors’ investigation. While these are suggestive of “aggressive” tax avoidance, we are conscious that they were composed by lay persons without specialist legal experience.”

And

“We are unable to make further Findings-in-Fact in support of there being an orchestrated scheme extending to the payment in effect of wages or salary absolutely and unreservedly to the employees involved”.

Dr Poon, in the minority said:-

“I disagree that the legal form of a transaction with its corollary legal effect is conclusive as a dictum in applying the Ramsay principle, and make extra Findings-in-Law regarding Ramsay and its application to the present case.

And

“I am guided by ‘the ultimate question’: ‘whether the relevant statutory provisions, construed purposively, were intended to apply to the transaction, viewed realistically’. To that end, the facts that inform me regarding the realistic nature of the transaction are more widely characterised than the legal form of the transaction.

And

“Secondly, in following the edicts for any trier of fact laid down in Heaton v Bell [1970] AC728 at 748B [Lord Morris], ‘The quest must be to find the realities of the arrangements that were agreed,’ and at 760E [Lord Upjohn], ‘having ascertained the real nature of the transaction, you cannot … disguise it by using camouflaged clothing’, I have highlighted areas of conflicting evidence and drawn my conclusions as to what I regard as the real nature of the transaction.”

It is fair to say that there was no attempt, as far as I am aware, by MIH to suggest that this was a scheme devised for anything other than tax purposes.

The general tide of press coverage since the decision has focussed on the folly of HMRC in pursuing the case at all, and the damage done to Rangers as a result of the claim for millions of pounds of taxes.

This seems rather out of step frankly with the tone of coverage in recent months of tax issues for companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, Google, the BBC and Vodafone, amongst many, and of celebrities such as Jimmy Carr, condemned by the Prime Minister for his “immoral” use of a legal tax reduction scheme.

It was good to see the Daily Record make an outspoken attack on those who had run Rangers in the past, leading to the millions of pounds of indebtedness which still remains, as a result of the “Wee Tax Case”, Mr Whyte’s failure to pay PAYE and VAT, and the sums which will be due by MIH/Rangers (the latter in liquidation) by way of taxes, interest and penalties. Millions of pounds of taxes are owed by Rangers (oldco) and will not be recovered.

In addition, oldco was not a profitable business and therefore, despite turnover of over £50 million annually, no Corporation Taxes had been paid by the football club for many a year.

—————————————-

As the Record thundered:-

The … giants haven’t paid a bean to the UK taxman for the last three years.

The best … in town couldn’t make this outrage any easier to swallow.

When the average person in the UK is being told to accept swingeing cuts, a corporate giant …(is) using sleight of hand to avoid paying up.

The company … (is) morally … bankrupt.

And while they are acting within the law, their greed is indefensible.

They have paid almost no UK tax … for the past decade.

Their millions of customers will be choking on their muffins at that news.

Big business tax dodges rob those same communities of desperately needed investment in hospitals and schools.

Other global companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Vodafone have employed similarly legal accounting to avoid big tax bills in Britain.

Left to their own devices, these ­companies would carry on avoiding tax, so any loopholes should be closed.

While HMRC appear helpless against the might of the corporate giant, customers have the most effective tool of all – spending power.

—————————————-

That says it all, doesn’t it? A brave and principled stance against the use of artificial schemes to avoid tax, even where those schemes are legal.

Well done the Daily Record!

Hang on a minute

There seems to be some mistake …

I seem to have been confused. Those quotes are in fact from a Record Opinion column in October 2012 addressing Starbucks and the lack of Corporation Tax paid by it in the UK. (It should be pointed out that the companies mentioned above, whilst engineering their affairs legally to minimise taxable profits do pay millions in VAT, business rates and other taxes – although oldco did not manage that either).

Well, I am sure that the Record coverage has maintained the same principled stance regarding Rangers, following the decision that its artificial tax reduction scheme was, in the main, within the tax laws.

—————————————-

As the Record reported the outcome of the hearing last week:-

RANGERS Football Club has won its appeal over a near £49m tax bill for the use of Employee Benefit Trusts. The first tier tax tribunal which heard the appeal today delivered a majority verdict which ruled the EBT payments were loans that can be repaid.

It said: “controversial monies received by the employees were not paid to them as their absolute entitlement”. The club, which is now in liquidation, used the scheme from 2001 to 2010 to make almost £49m in payments to players and staff in the form of tax-free loans.

They had argued that the payments had been loans rather than wages and not subject to tax.

No verdict on any sum that the oldco Rangers were liable for was included in the findings, but Sir David Murray’s company welcomed the verdict as vindication of their stance.

Oldco Rangers had previously stated they could be liable for up to £75million but the tribunal ruled that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs assessment should be “reduced substantially” with only some payments subject to tax.

“It was conceded that advances in favour of certain players are taxable and liable to NIC (National Insurance Contributions), and 35 we have found that, in certain other limited instances, there may be a similar liability. To that extent the assessments should stand. In these circumstances we expect that it is sufficient that we allow the appeal in principle. Parties can no doubt settle the sums due for the limited number of cases mentioned without further reference to the tribunal.”

Murray International Holdings, who were majority shareholders of the oldco club until Craig Whyte’s takeover in May 2011, released a statement this afternoon which read: “We are satisfied that the Tax Tribunal has now published its widely awaited decision and note the contents thereof.

We are pleased with the judgement which leaves minimal tax liability and overwhelmingly supports the views collectively and consistently held by our advisers, legal counsel and MIH itself.”

[The reader might note the wording of the sixth para of the Record piece, where the number “35” appears in a sentence referring to other cases where there is tax liability. The Record has been caught out by the formatting of the judgement, where line numbers are noted in multiples of five. Accordingly the figure does not refer to the undisclosed number of cases where there is tax liability, but has been taken by readers as doing so.]

—————————————-

The Record also described Sir David Murray’s reaction:-

SIR David Murray wants a full investigation into the tax operation that made Rangers a toxic brand. A source close to the former Ibrox chief claimed Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs had a vendetta against the club.

—————————————-

James Traynor reported:-

HMRC had been pursuing the Ibrox club for almost £90 million but Rangers won their appeal against the tax bill plus penalties by two to one. It was a dramatic victory for the club but also a bitter sweet one.

Rangers fans and former directors were asking last night why their club had been forced into a corner and although they recognise Craig Whyte as the chief culprit they want to know why HMRC were so determined to chase a bill that should never have been issued.

Some are demanding a full inquiry into the taxman’s behaviour now the First Tier Tax Tribunal have ruled Rangers should not have been hit with the bills in the first place.

—————————————-

Keith McLeod, in a piece titled “How taxman probe took Rangers to the brink of oblivion” wrote:-

RANGERS’ demise was triggered by the HMRC probe into Employee Benefit Trusts. Investigators claimed the Ibrox club owed £40million. Interest and fines on top of this would have taken the total to £80million.

The level of potential tax liability effectively made Rangers unsellable, at a time when bankers were holding a gun to Murray’s head over a smaller Rangers debt of £25million.

In February, Rangers were put into administration. But again, with potentially millions of pounds to pay out to creditors, even with a pennies in the pound agreement, the club were virtually unsellable.

As HMRC had been, it now appears wrongly, identified as the biggest creditors by Rangers’ administrators Duff & Phelps, they had the final say. Because Whyte had deliberately withheld £14million in tax from HMRC it allowed them to close Rangers down.

Yesterday, it looked as if Rangers have been found not guilty – long after the death sentence had been passed.

—————————————-

Keith Jackson reported on Paul Murray, erstwhile Rangers director, and his views as follows:-

Now that the Big Tax Case has crumbled leaving Rangers in the clear, Murray is in search of answers.

Who was responsible for allowing this saga to rumble on for so long, creating a climate of such anxiety and uncertainty that a man such as Whyte was able to walk in through the front doors of Ibrox and seize control?

Why did it take almost two years to deliver a verdict on an issue which hung over the club like the sword of Damocles?

And now that it’s been settled in Rangers favour, who should pay for all the damage that has been done?

Most of all, though, Murray wants to know how it could possibly be that a 140-year-old institution could be placed in such a perilous position by the authorities. And if any of those dealing with the crisis were acting out of malicious intent.

He said: “I have to ask myself were people acting with a degree of malice towards Rangers? The answer to that is, I simply don’t know. But what I am saying is that there is certainly enough concern, loose ends and unanswered questions around this to absolutely warrant some kind of investigation.

“That’s why I believe BDO have a moral and legal responsibility to look at the whole chain of events, stretching back two maybe even three years, which ultimately led to the demise and liquidation of the ‘oldco’.

“I want them to look at the actions of all the parties involved and then, on the basis of that, decide whether they should be pursuing damages on behalf of the stakeholders.”

Those damages, Murray believes, could be substantial. And by substantial he means mind-boggling, perhaps well in excess of £50m.

The ultimate irony, however, is that any successful legal claims would be paid straight into the oldco’s creditors’ pot – and the vast majority of it would quickly be gobbled up by HMRC who were owed £15m in missing PAYE by Whyte’s crooked regime.

“Also, there has to be some explanation given for exactly why it took so long for the tribunal to deliver its verdict. When I left the board in May 2011, we expected a verdict to come that July, just two months later. I think Craig Whyte was banking on that because he did not have the funds required to run the club on a long-term basis, especially when the team was knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Malmo.

“But here we are, some 18 months down the line, and now we discover that Rangers were not guilty. Again, I have to ask why did it take so long to reach that verdict and create such a crippling atmosphere of uncertainty? Without all that confusion Whyte would never have won control.”

He said: “You do have to accept HMRC have a statutory duty on behalf of the public purse to pursue what they regard as tax avoidance. So it is perfectly acceptable for them to challenge this kind of thing. In fact, it’s their job. But what I find very concerning – and what needs to be looked at – is the length of time it took them to come to this decision and the massive damage this delay caused. And by damage I’m talking in particular about having the keys handed over to a man such as Craig Whyte.

“At that time no one credible would have invested in Rangers, when this contingent liability was hanging over the club. It was insanity and I said that at the time. I stepped forward with an alternative deal but I made it clear I wanted David Murray to take the liability on his shoulders. He refused to do that and sold to Whyte, who agreed to take the liability on. I said at the time it was complete insanity and we can now all see for ourselves the full result of that insanity.”

—————————————-

No references I can see to

this outrage;

a corporate giant using sleight of hand to avoid paying up.

morally bankrupt.

their greed is indefensible.

big business tax dodges rob those same communities of desperately needed investment in hospitals and schools.

while HMRC appear helpless against the might of the corporate giant, customers have the most effective tool of all – spending power.

One would be doubtless wrong to suggest that a different moral standard is on display here?

—————————————-

And finally, note the words of Paul Murray, the former Rangers Director. He was a director when the EBT Tax assessments were being served. He was a director when the appeals against those assessments were lodged, and for most of the time the appeal was ongoing. He was a director when the Wee Tax Case liability was accepted (but not paid). He was a director whilst players and other employees were in receipt of loans paid via EBTs. He is a financial high-flyer, as described by the Record, and is an accountant, as I understand his business interests.

I will repeat a quote extracted from the article above:-

“You do have to accept HMRC have a statutory duty on behalf of the public purse to pursue what they regard as tax avoidance. So it is perfectly acceptable for them to challenge this kind of thing. In fact, it’s their job. But what I find very concerning – and what needs to be looked at – is the length of time it took them to come to this decision …”

His statement that HMRC has a duty to pursue matters is the only comment of that nature I have seen from a Rangers-connected individual since the case was heard, and Mr Murray is quite right to say that.

However, how does he blame HMRC for the time it took to resolve the case? The case only went to the FTT because Rangers/MIH appealed. The case took so long mainly because of the number of witnesses called by Rangers/MIH and the number of documents they produced.

The whole process took from 2004 to 2009 before the full picture upon which the Tribunal decided appeared, mainly because Rangers were most uncooperative in handing over any information at all, as determined by Dr Poon.

I wonder if the Record will add oldco Rangers into its list of Vodafone, Starbucks, and Amazon etc – at least those companies pay their PAYE and VAT!

Posted by Paul McConville


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73 Comments

Filed under Daily Record, HMRC v Rangers

73 responses to “Guess Who the Record Condemned as “Morally Bankrupt” with “Indefensible Greed” for Using “Sleight of Hand” to Avoid Taxes?

  1. Greg72

    Paul – you’re wicked! 🙂

  2. Simon Durning

    Paul, always a pleasure to read your blogs.

    • Maggie

      @Simon Durning
      Indeed it is a pleasure Simon,but very bad for the BP.
      I see normal service is resumed at the DR.
      SDM issues his PR pronouncements from on high
      and the DR publishes them.
      Where to start on Keith Jackson’s piece of PR ?
      We’d be here all day,but unfortunately like Dr Poon,
      I have dishes to wash,so better not keep all you
      big brained “sartorially” garbed gentlemen from your
      pursuit of truth.
      Oh what the heck,I’m here now,might as well add my
      tuppence worth before retreating to my rightful place.

      My favourite part was …. Whyte was able to walk through
      the door and “seize” control……
      Did he storm the ramparts of Ibrox with a team of SAS
      troops,overthrow all in his path and instal himself
      as owner in a blood drenched coup d’état ?
      Just asking?

      SDM now wants BDO to look at
      “the actions of all those involved” In fact he believes
      they have a “moral and legal” duty to do so.
      Do you REALLY Dave? Are you sure now?
      Would you not be better heaving a sigh of relief,
      keeping your mouth shut and praying that HMRC
      does not appeal the decision of the FTTT,and that
      Mr Cohen of BDO is as incompetent as Duff & Phelps
      seemed to be.

      Oh the irony in SDM demands to know” how a 140year old
      institution could be placed in such a perilous position by
      THE AUTHORITIES” Good one Dave,just you keep believing
      that.
      I could go on and on and on,bit like Dr Poon perhaps,before
      the “sartorial” ones sorted her out,and reluctantly
      allowed her judgement to be acknowledged just to get her
      to shut up and go and make the coffee and afterwards
      pick up their dry cleaning…… it’s a very costly, time
      consuming business being “sartorial”, but worthwhile
      as it renders one’s judgements doubly correct and
      impresses the proletariat. Bit like the DR really.

      .

  3. Budweiser

    Paul

    Weren’t some delays caused by blatant obstructionism? And that some documents were only’produced’ as a result of police raids?

  4. Buddy Morrisey

    Do we know the amounts of tax Rangers did not pay?

    5 northern towns
    other agreed levels of assessments
    VAT
    PAYE and NIC (Whtye)

    • Adam

      Here we go again:

      “other agreed level of assessments”

      Do people have no shame continually peddling this without backing it up ?

      Who are these 30,31,33, 34 or 35 people in Celtic internet world that were agreed ?

      Im going to stick my neck out here and say they are made up nonsense which having said it enough are now fact.

  5. Let us repeat poon a panel member has no legal qualifications the sartorial Kenneth Mure QC panel judge has legal qualifications, poon should be in the house washing the dishes.

    • @alex

      So, sexist as well as delusional? Dr Poon was more than qualified to sit on the Tribunal, whether you care to admit it or not.

      Had she NOT been qualified then she wouldn’t have been there, full-stop.

      • MrNice

        The real answer to alex, is that the other two legal judges were incapable of reaching any decision without accountancy coverage.

        As brogan points our elsewhere… anyone who thinks 2 judges worked on 1 opinion, and only 1 on the other miss the point. All three worked on all opinions. And all three could if they wished comment on the other opinion, so fact that only open commented on the majority undermines alex.

        Legal + Accountancy skills were absolutely neccessary for this decision. Tough!

    • ecojon

      @ alex

      A simple question. If Dr Poon had agreed with one of the other two tribunal members and was therefore part of a 2-1 judgement in favour of Rangers would you attack that judgement on the basis that she wasn’t legally qualified.

      On a wider note, the whole concept of the Courts Tribunal Service, not just in tax matters, is that decisions can be reached which take account of the realities of life and work and aren’t just based solely on legal issues. That’s why suitably qualified or experienced people are invited to sit on tribunals where their particular expertise will be valuable in reaching the correct verdict.

      You also continuously ignore the fact that if Dr Poon was wrong in either her statements of fact or law or her interpretation of the latter was flawed, as evidenced by other legal decisions, then it is the duty of the other two members to note their dissent to the minority view in the actual decision. They did not do that – do you think there is any significance in their decision or don’t they know what they should be doing.

      I have no idea what the ‘correct’ decision is in this case even at the FTT stage mainly because of the strength of the minority report and the lack of objection from the authors of the majority decision. All I do know for certain is that we could have at least another three ‘correct’ decisions if this case were to be fully appealed. If that were to happen then the only ‘correct’ decsion would be the final one.

      It goes without saying that if I am unclear what the ‘correct’ FTT decision is then I haven’t a hope in hell what the final ‘correct’ decision might be.

      You can either engage in debate on this matter or sit as you normally do totally isolated and ignored. You would do more for the Rangers case if you tried to articulate it without sloganising. No one asks you to believe what anyone else does and most of us actually have fairly diverse opinions.

      All we ask is that you at least accept that other people, like yourself, are entitled to hold an opinion and by far the biggest majority on here actually defend your right to that. It might even be that if you argue your position then even if people don;t change their own mind that they will better understand your position.

      However, if that position is built on total supremacy, always being correct, always being better, then it is unlikely that anyone will take any notice and, as usual, you will just be ignored and regarded as a saddo.

      It really is down to you – the door to debate is always open here and it is totally up to you whether to open it if you believe you can present a reasoned and reasonable argument for your position.

    • All three judges were fully qualified to sit on the Tribunal. If they had not been qualified, then they would not have been sitting on the Tribunal. QED.

      You have had Dr Poon as a car mechanic doing brain surgery, and now at home washing the dishes.

      I think, as I once said in objecting to a question when I was a witness in a case (which is not usually what witnesses do):-
      “I have answered that question ten times already”. To which the Sheriff replied, “Make it eleven and I won’t allow it to be asked again!”

      • You haven’t answered anything so let me ask you again, if you would rather not answer it be man enough to say so.

        “do you think she is more qualified than Mure and more knowledgeable on the intricacies of tax law”.

        A simple yes or no will suffice.

        • Ernesider

          Alex

          Face up to the fact that you are not very bright and simply didn’t understand the answer when it was given. But that’s OK, because there is no law against being a thick bigot, unlike non-payment of taxes.

          • cam

            Ah, the return of one of those blind chaps who refuse to see!
            Good to see that the FTT verdict wasn’t a fatal blow,just the thought of the pain you bhoys are suffering warms my heart on these cold mornings.

        • ecojon

          @ alex

          Are any of us qualified to answer that question? The only people who are are her bosses who presumably judged she had the necessary qualifications and experience to sit on the tribunal.

          It is not a question of whether anyone on the tribunal is more qualified than anyone else, The whole ethos of a tribunal is to form a three-member team which has an all-round quality of expertise.

          I am quite sure you are well aware of that from a link I think you posted yesterday. So you are either wilfully ignoring the facts for whatever reason which most likely would be an obsession with Rangers or being paid to spend time here. Do you get paid per post? It could be that you are just thick. Only you can actually demonstrate whether you have the capacity to engage in debate or not.

        • Carl 31

          Alex,
          on point of logic, ‘a simple yes or no’ will not suffice in answer to a question with more than one variable.

    • Ruckcroft7

      Alex, if this is any help… My sister and her husband are both accountants well-versed in tax law. My brother-in-law is an expert in tax law and actually earns much of his living giving lawyers updates on changes to tax law as they arise. Given that accountants are better placed to see how another accountant would apply tax law to an accounting issue, I’d say that in this scenario an expert in both law, tax and accountancy would probably be expected to be better than one with just the law and tax boxes ticked.

      Therefore I’d imagine that Dr Poon is probably in a better position to give a verdict on this case, as it centres on how tax and law has been applied by accountants.

      However, as it has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the idea of the three-person tribunal is that they discuss all these matters between them, so each will benefit from the knowledge and views of the other two before making their decision. Pretty sensible, when you think about it.

      Again, this is one of the reasons that, in this case, the fact that there is a substantial dissenting argument – and one that has not been addressed or argued against by the majority – is very significant, as Paul points out.

      A previous answer to your queston

  6. arb urns

    @alex

    at the midnight hour kenni and scotti chose not to look at the evidence heidi did…. in football parlance of course.

  7. Martin Carroll

    Over 6 million PAYE earners were billed by HMRC and when contacted were informed if they did not agree the terms of repayment they would be fined and penalties added to their shortfall in payments. This shortfall was caused by HMRC and yet they have not apologised for the misery they are causing ordinary working men and women. One law for big corporate oversea business and another for the man in the street. Typical UK

    • ecojon

      @ Martin Carroll

      I agree with your sentiments but not just typical UK. It is actually typical of many tax collecting agencies throughout the developed world and in the rest of the world as well – although there bribery and corruption plays a much higher role.

  8. Macduff

    Love this blog, while others have shut up shop, you keep going. No-one can be surprised that the Daily Rangers has gone über hypocritical in the last week. Jackson still hasn’t learned from his wealth off the radar farce, and is now quoting 50million being owed. I guess that can buy you a new hover pitch…

    • ecojon

      @ Macduff

      Actually if you fund it with the right scheme you could afford two – if you want the details of a wee trust scheme I have just set-up just get in touch 🙂

  9. Buddy Morrisey

    Alex

    Now moving from not playing the ball to playing the woman!

    I hear that Heidi’s coutured elegance outshines Ken Mure’s man at C and A suits !

    • ecojon

      @ Buddy Morrisey

      Having watched Heidi gut and fillet the other pair of duffers I think I will keep well out of her way – I hear she actually wore her gi suit at the hearings complete with black belt. The numbchuks sitting beside her were left paralysed with fear that’s why they didn’t object 🙂

  10. From another place

    We love you Heidi, when do we get the cup.

    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
    40 from Mr Magenta to Mr Red of 21 June 2006 confirmed the names agreed with
    Mr Scarlet for the new sub-trust creation.

  11. I’m looking forward to the appeal, BDO completing their own investigation and a share issue for the newco. These 3 events will be sure to bring out some new information which might be hard for some Rangers/Sevco fans to swallow and make the position of certain people at the likes of the Daily Record indefensible.
    If BDO take back the assets for a public sale, where will that leave the newco and it’s investors?
    If the share issue fails in a poor financial market as David Murray’s £50m share issue failed in a buoyant market, where will that leave the newco and it’s investors?
    If HMRC gain more information to add to their appeal and win it, where will that leave everyone who has been shouting about this vast injustice and conspiracy against the oldco?
    I can see 2 parties down the line, one will have humble pie on the menu and the other will be enjoying more jelly and ice cream.
    Great work Paul. I love your informative and interesting blogs.

    • cam

      Just keep those woolly warm fantasies in your wee head,the collective ramblings of the prophets of doom are fine to be giving an airing in these mouth music shops,but in the real world its just weans that feast on jelly.
      If i had been asleep for a week, the musings of the folk in here might have convinced me that the Gers had lost the tax case.
      First we had Paul having to re think his IPO strategy,then the FTT verdict.Now the ten green bottlers are shutting up shop and the Leggo machine is on the march!
      The mole in the hole is on the run and HMRC are having to answer,not ask some searching questions,,,turned out nice again,innit?

  12. paul

    Well reported Paul. The reaction from DR is nothing other than was to be expected.Some self reflection by others of the notion of financial doping and dousing of integrity in the game would be welcomed…..I am away to hold my breath…..!

  13. Adam

    To ensure im on record, i have absolutely no question over Dr Poons credentials or right to be on that panel. Indeed, she has served on many a panel in the past so im sure her learned friends also have no objections.

    I do, however, believe(and it is only opinion) that the QC and lawyer will be more “qualified” when it comes to the application of previous law to answer the direct “yes or no” question posed.

    • The point which the blog owner is somewhat embarrassed to answer is poon’s lack of legal qualifications, perhaps he imagines she is the equal of Mure but is rightly to embarrassed to put in print.

      For the benefit of those who are unaware of how panels are constituted, Kenneth Mure QC was the panel judge, poon and S A Rae, LLB., WS were panel members.

      In case anyone missed it the democratic decision of the panel was vindication for MIH/Rangers.

      Have a lovely day, I have some pink string to untie.

      • ecojon

        @ alex

        And each has an equal vote with the same weight. Also you seem to completely ignore or perhaps can’t grasp that Dr Poon’s minority opinion can be adopted as binding in other cases and the majority decision rejected. So where does that leave your argument?

        Or is that concept too complicated for you to address or does it just not agree with your fixed mindset?

      • @alex

        “… democratic decision of the panel was vindication for MIH/Rangers.”

        Only it wasn’t. Misrepresenting the facts again – while it may only have been a minority of cases, certain PAYE/NIC liabilities were proven.

        As for your 2nd paragraph, I note you give Messrs Mure & Rae their full titles. In the interests of fairness you shoud extend the same courtesy to Dr Poon, whose full title is Dr Heidi Poon CA CTA PhD.

        If you don’t know what these acronyms stand for, try Google.

    • My answer to your original question would actually have been “I don’t know” because I don’t know Kenneth Mure QC’s knowledge of taxation and tax law. Perhaps you do. But it is possible that the answer could be “yes” because Dr. Poon would have been selected for the tribunal to add her taxation expertise to Mure and Rae’s expertise on other matters. It isn’t safe to automatically assume that a QC’s knowledge will surpass everyone else’s on all matters.
      In answer to this re-phrased, and I think more pertinent question, I, too, think that the QC and lawyer were more “qualified” when it comes to the application of previous case law. But I think Dr. Poon is more “qualified” on tax law…otherwise why select her for the panel in the first place?
      None of the above makes the FTT decision “right” or “wrong.” If there is an appeal on a point of law, it will be on grounds other than the background and qualifications of the tribunal members.

      • ecojon

        @ Mark Murphy

        That is a well put case. I keep asking those who decry Dr Poon’s eligibility to be on the tribunal to tell me whether if the had formed part of a 2-member majority decision in favour of Rangers whether they would have rejected it on the grounds of her legal qualifications as perceived by them.

        To date I do not ever appear to have received an answer on that one. I wonder why 🙂

    • mcfc

      @Adam
      You seem to be unhappy with the 2-1 vindication of MIH/RFC. Are you proposing they appeal against the injustice of the 2-1 decision? Or maybe a simple apology from Dr Poon would suffice. Have you heard of OCD ?

      • ecojon

        @ mcfc

        I think your final question is unfair because if you have it you are either unaware or even if you are you remain in constant denial as you shuffle and sort all day long.

  14. cam

    I think Paul may have stumbled onto an Orwell prize here,,,even if its slightly damaged having been dropped at the airport!
    I haven’t bought the Daily Record in a while but i shall do so now if this is the standard of insightful journalism and editorial comment it aspires to.
    I would have thought by now that Dermot and the bhoys could spot an obvious business opportunity in publishing a newspaper that caters for the needs of the more discerning reader.
    The Daily Craic perhaps?

  15. cam

    Well to this lover of all things zombie,it looks like Alex and Adam are runnings rings around a few of the undead in here!
    To top off a great week, i hope that if Thommo has to take cover in the Gaza Gazza Govan loyal supporters club then the troops in there look after him well.

    • SouthernExile

      Cam

      Not sure what your credentials are on this but from your last two posts you seem to be a bogit with an appetite for violence.

      I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant but I have some experience in managing these two professions in complex situations.

      What various folk have patiently tried to explain to Alex and Adam is that the matters considered by the tribunal are at the nexus of accounting and law. Ms Poon’s lack of legal qualification in no way invalidates her capacity to analyse the issues at hand. Given the quality of the analysis, I would have her on my side rather than the other two donkeys any day.

      You guys either choose to troll past this or are not bright enough to understand. Either way you are making @rses of yourselves.

      • What your “experience” has failed to teach you is to understand the question that was asked, no one has said or stated that poon should not have been on the panel, the question was her measure against that of the presiding Judge Kenneth Mure and if the blog owner cared to make a comparison on their relative merits.

        There are no comparisons to merit, Mure wins hands down on everything from tax law to common law, probably why Kenneth Mure QC is a panel Judge and poon is a panel member.

        If you had the slightest and I mean the slightest idea of Mure’s qualifications you would have known that, obviously you didn’t and don’t, you would be better sticking to that which you do know if anything.

        • mcfc

          So let’s assume for a moment that Mure is “better qualified” than Poon – what exactly is your point?

          • ecojon

            @ mcfc

            I keep saying that if Dr Poon had formed part of a 2 member judgement in favour of Rangers no one from the Blue Corner would have the slightest problem with her legal qualifications.

            Her pic would have been hung in the Ibrox boardroom as befits the greatest heroine in the club’s history.

            • mcfc

              @eco

              As tedious as the task maybe, this nonsense needs to be shot down in flames – or else it will be taken as another “victory” and repeated ad nauseam

        • ecojon

          @ alex

          I’m afraid that you have jumped to an enormous conclusion without I would suspect a grain of evidence. I know a number of people who serve on tribunal panels who have no wish to chair a panel. They have a variety of reasons for this and strangely enough I can’t think of one where the decision rests on qualification.

          Indeed some are probably better qualified than the chairs of tribunal they serve on. So you argument betraus that you have no actual knowledge of the tribunal system other than from reading a website.

          I am fast reaching the stage where I suspect you can only parrot info without actually understanding it. As to making a judgement on their relative merits that has been done by the people in charge and they hold that all three members are of equal worth with one vote each and that vote is of equal weight. The tribunal system in general as well as in Tax terms is designed to have a mix of specialities which can be ‘tuned’ to best reach a decision on an individual case.

          None of the three members selected themself to be on the panel and they also didn’t select anyone else to serve on the panel. This was done further-up the hierarchy by people with an extensive knowledge of the capabilities of all panel members under their ‘command’. Neither Paul nor anyone else on this bog is in a position to make that judgement as they do not posess the necessary knowledge not just of the 3 but of the complete panel of potential membetrs available to the FTT as a whole.

          What bit of that don’t you understand?

        • ecojon

          @ alex

          Things must be bad if you are back to fiddling your Thumbs LMAO 🙂

      • cam

        Lol,various folk in here”trying to explain” why Rangers winning 2-1 is actually a victory for the Poonites due to her marvellous technique as she slotted home the losing penalty!
        Mure’s 18 yard volley and Rae’s overhead(Ibrahimovic) bicycle kick were obviously flukes and in typical Celtic fashion they are never defeated but always cheated.
        I don’t need any credentials to understand and no amount of pontificating is gonna change the score.
        You do tend to lose your argument when you describe the two players for the opposition as donkeys,so as i present my posterior for inspection i suggest you pucker up and get busy!!

  16. Micháel

    Great article Paul. Have to laugh at the forces of darkness at the reporters’ desk at the daily r*ngers now, bleating on about “How could a man such as Whyte walk through the door at Ibrokes…” Are these sports pages scribed by goldfish?! Were these not the same journos laying branches on his way in along edmiston drive? Were these not the same ‘media stalwarts’ banging on about ‘Wealth off the radar’ and ‘Motherwell Millionaire’ and rubbing their hands with glee as they were getting their own wee Fergus? These hacks should have done their work at the time and investigated him or at the very least, asked the right kind of questions – And not just of him, but of Murray Minted – Still he pops up from out of his bunker and they lap up his crap and spew it forth onto the back pages verbatim.

  17. Merciatic

    Paul

    You said on your piece at Scotzine that 30 cases were not considered in tribunal as MIH accepted payment was due. Has this anything to do with the number 35 appearing in the text? Let’s nail this now were 30 cases accepted or not and where is this info?

    • ecojon

      @ Merciatic

      I don’t speak for Paul but it seems the 35 figure was originally run by the Daily Record in error over their failure to comprehend/understand the indexing mechanism for the published decision from what I have read ealier in this post.

      Making a leap, without a scrap of evidence, perhaps the 5 ‘northern town’ players if removed would give us 30.

      But there are still other issues from my reading of the Decision that suggest that there are issues involving other players as well as Mr Black. But the Decision is very vague and more than a little contradictory on this area and I think might well be impossible to calculate the number of players who might be affected.

      It is something that I am still mulling over and at some point will post on the issue although I doubt it will be definitive.

      • Merciatic

        I had also considered the 35-5 theory. I never read the daily record piece. Paul did seem to suggest that 30 cases weren’t even considered in the tribunal as “guilt” was accepted. I wish someone would clear it up.

  18. gordonzola

    when are we going to see publication(by Blog) the details of what all the participants have to pay back.

    I guess all the actual work will be done by BDO.

    What is guesstimate of my learned friends on the timescales for disclosure and actual re-imbursement of funds.

    • ecojon

      @ gordonzola

      I very much doubt if that information will be made public because it deals with individual tax affairs.

      And it is far too early to make any guesstimate of time-scales as we don’t even know for certain what liability will actually apply especially if an appeal is made.

  19. Robert D Bruce

    As I understand this.

    As each of the tribunal members are qualified in their field to make judgement on this issue, then each is entitled – and nominated – to be party to the decision. I think we can all agree on this point.
    Each is capable of reading the previous judgements pertaining to case law, as it relate to this matter, and is then charged with applying the facts of this RFC(IL) case, to their interpretation of that existing law.

    The operative word here for me is interpretation.

    Now do the two lawyers have a monopoly on interpretation of the law or are all equally qualified to air their view? I’d suggest the latter.

    There are many cases – some recently – where lay people have defended themselves at the High Court against Her Majesty’s finest QC’s and have won the case. Some on this blog would have you believe that that is not possible. How can One of “Jock Tamsin’s Bairns” hold their own against highly esteemed legal minds? Can’t happen!

    But it can and it does.

    For the avoidance of doubt I am not questioning any panel members parentage.

    My guess here is that some who are delighted with the verdict in this case and are calling for all sorts of recompense, are also secretly fearing that someone in higher authority is asked to comment on the merits or otherwise of the two opposing verdicts.

    For my part, I have read the judgement but have not cross referred any of the opinions with the actual case law. I do have a life (of sorts) 🙂 I therefore cannot comment on the merits or otherwise of how the case stacks up against case law.

    I’d be please if some of the legal mind here could do that part for me.

    It appears to me though (please correct me if I’m wrong) that had this verdict been delivered under Scots Law more emphasis would have been place on what a reasonable, ordinary man in the street would consider reasonable in the given circumstances, and not had such importance attached to previous case law.

    If my assertion is correct, any layman who has read the judgement – without the benefit of any colour of glasses – would almost certainly come down on the dissenters side. In my view – being a reasonable man.

    It is noted that most of the people applauding the decision of the FTT and criticising a member of the panel who held an opposing view, are the same people who were critical of the make up of SPL Appellant Panel when they came down in favour applying sanctions against Rangers. Demanding to know why anyone thought that these people were qualified to judge the case. Demanding to know who they were, where they came from and what qualified them to sit in judgement.

    The same people who applauded the judge at the Court of Session when he held that the Appellant Panel had – in their haste not to throw Rangers out of Scottish football altogether – sought to apply a softer penalty which was not available to them.
    The same people who applauded the decision of the SPL not to reconvene that Appellant Panel and then applauded the decision of the SFL to apply that same penalty as long as is wasn’t applied until the close of the transfer window, in the hope that that would allow Rangers to play somewhere this season.

    And lest we forget the same people who when CG was charged in connection with bigoted comments applauded the SFA when they conspired to bring about a “not proven” verdict and applied no punishment.

    Does anyone see the pattern?

    Yes that’s it. Bring a verdict favourable to the mighty RFC (IL), TRFC, any director, manager or player associated past present and no doubt future, and we will support it and trumpet it through a compliant media, bring one not to our advantage and risk the wrath of the hoards.

    Dr Poon may not be a lawyer but I’m sure she is far better qualified that (I say this with hesitation) anyone on here to make a judgement in this FTT.

    Ecojon asked the question as to who would have been critical of Dr Poon if she had sided with the other two on the panel and I must say that having seen her presentation in layman’s terms, I’d have been critical if she had come to any other conclusion.

    • Stramash

      Cam

      It’s good that you’re recognising your fans have been asleep but it’s for longer than a week.

      Allow me to catch you up . Your club died as a result of being unable to pay its bills. Led over the precipice by an asset stripper who bought the club for a £ from the most artful of dodgers. All he had to do to convince was wear a red white and blue tie. Yep due diligence .

      The fans who are world record holders btw, did not lift so much as a finger to stop him, challenge him or question him. In fact they led a march on the bbc, (that most timmy of institutions) when someone did ask questions . Maybe if he started a blog or had 3 names yous might have got angry and ‘demanded’ a bit more of the people who run your club.

      Had you done so, this ahem ‘victory’ you’re on here crowing about might have meant something . It didn’t. It’s an irrelevance .

      However, once bitten twice shy I’m sure you and the flock won’t be sold a dummy again and triggers broom FC will go from strength to strength. Sure there are 500m eyes watching , adidas contracts, stadium naming rights and ‘billionaire ‘ investors signed up (august 2012 ) .

      Right?

      Mere Details.

      Sure leggo will get to the bottom of it. Oh wait, it doesn’t involve some bizarre conspiracy involving Peter Lawell or Stewart Regan so maybe not.

      Oh well !

  20. garry

    Flogging a dead horse! (Club?) Rangers are dead the tax bill is irrelevant. RIP RFC. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to give the tribute act a hiding before they too disappear!!!!

  21. Bobby Bear

    Romanism – a menace to the Nation

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