So the verdict has been pronounced…
30 May 2013
Rangers International Football Club plc (the “Company”)
Conclusion of Independent Review
On behalf of Rangers International Football Club plc, the non-executive directors of the Company (the “Investigation Committee”) engaged the law firm Pinsent Masons LLP to investigate the connections between Craig Whyte and former and current personnel of the Company and its subsidiaries (the “Investigation”).
The Investigation was overseen by Roy Martin QC.
The Investigation concluded on 17 May 2013 and Pinsent Masons and Roy Martin QC have reported to the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee is satisfied that a thorough investigation was conducted despite the inherent limitations of a private inquiry.
Based on the assessment of the available evidence, the Company considers that the Investigation found no evidence that Craig Whyte had any involvement with Sevco Scotland Limited (now called The Rangers Football Club Limited), the company which ultimately acquired the business and assets of The Rangers Football Club P.L.C. from its administrators; nor which would suggest that Craig Whyte invested in The Rangers Football Club Limited or Rangers International Football Club plc, either directly or indirectly through any third party companies or vehicles.
On 28 May 2013, a letter before claim was sent to (inter alia) The Rangers Football Club Limited and Rangers International Football Club plcon behalf of Craig Whyte, Aidan Earley and (purportedly) Sevco 5088 Limited. The Rangers Football Club Limited and Rangers International Football Club plc will be preparing a robust response to the letter before claim. However, given that legal proceedings are threatened in the letter before claim, it would not be appropriate to make public any further content from the report or to comment further about the contents. Pinsent Masons’ and Roy Martin’s reports to the Company are confidential and legally privileged. This announcement is not intended to and does not serve to waive privilege in the contents of the reports which remain confidential and legally privileged.
And so the Pinsent Masons investigation rejects allegations that Mr Whyte is involved with Sevco Scotland Ltd. Nothing to see here. Move along!
But a couple of questions come to ind.
When the investigation was announced, it was stated to be “to investigate the connections between Craig Whyte and former and current personnel of Rangers and its subsidiaries.”
The announcement repeats that.
But it does not make any mention of connections with former and current personnel being accepted or rejected.
I wonder why?
The announcement states that it was based upon “the available evidence”. This therefore means that, as it concluded before Mr Whyte’s most recent letter of claim, it could take no account of that information. (I am sure that Rangers’ position is that that information changes nothing).
As for the question of publication of the report, then the world is not going to see it. In fact Mr Whyte’s letter of claim arriving seems to be very helpful timing, giving an excuse to make no more comment (though I am not suggesting Mr Whyte is in cahoots with Rangers!)
The report is stated to be privileged and confidential.
Will it be given to the SFA?
After all, Mr Regan wanted to see what happened with the report before deciding if Rangers could have breached the SFA conditions of membership.
Will Rangers pass over the report – or a redacted copy – or just the conclusion?
How will the SFA react to being told there is no connection between Mr Whyte and the present Rangers?
Is Mr Green in the clear or not?
Will his resignation still take effect?
Will he return with his name cleared?
As Sevco 5088 Ltd is a subsidiary, though non-trading, of Rangers, why no mention of Mr Whyte’s alleged connections with that company?
And, above all, I do not think Mr Whyte alleged he has invested in Sevco Scotland or Rangers Internationmal. His whole argument is that he invested in Sevco 5088 and that, allegedly, Mr Green performed a “switcheroo” on him!
And is there any significance in the announcement saying not that Sevco Scotland acquired the business and assets of Rangers, but that it “ultimately” did so? Does that imply that the transfer process was not a straight-forward one?
So, has the investigation even answered the questions it was set up to answer!
I suspect that (a) there are more questions arising from this report (or at least its announcement) than there are answers and (b) shall we have a sweepstake on how many of the questions are raised by mainstream media?
Posted by Paul McConville