I have not had the chance to keep up with the administrators’ statements from Ibrox over the last couple of days, so this is my chance. As before, the original statements are in bold, with my comments below in plain text. This is Tuesday’s.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said: “Since being appointed administrators last week there has been widespread concern raised with us, not least by Rangers supporters and season ticket holders, about the agreement between the Club and Ticketus.
“Following information received, it is now apparent that the proceeds from the Ticketus arrangements amounted initially to a sum in the region of £20 million plus VAT. Subsequently, £18 million was transferred to the Lloyds Banking Group.
Was the information, as was suggested over the weekend, from Collyer Bristow? Or was it from Mr Whyte, who was described by the administrators as “co-operating” with them. Not so much as to tell them where the Ticketus money was, it would appear!
The apparent role of Collyer Bristow is worthy of attention, I feel. Before I start, I am sure that they have fulfilled all of their obligations and duties regarding client identification, checking of sources of funds and conflicts of interest, but there are some issues that, to a lay observer, might seem worthy of note.
The administrators had suggested they were getting information from “Rangers’ former lawyers”. Gary Withey, a partner in Collyer Bristow, is Company Secretary to Rangers Football Club PLC (in administration). He personally, and his firm, have been acting for Rangers, as I will refer to the PLC. For example, he was the person who, on Rangers’ behalf, sent a formal complaint about Messrs Levy & MacRae to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, alleging that L&M were themselves acting in a conflict situation. This complaint was made despite L&M having produced clear expert opinion that its behaviour was entirely appropriate, and that information not having been passed by Mr Withey to the SLCC.
In addition, it is understood that Mr Withey was responsible for the choice of Edinburgh lawyer for Rangers in the Martin Bain case, the original choice, as it turned out, not being up to the high-powered team assembled by Peter Watson of L&M for Mr Bain.
As well as acting for Rangers, Collyer Bristow act, as far as has been made known, for Rangers FC Group Ltd. That company, referred to as Group, has its Registered Office at Collyer Bristow’s address.
Collyer Bristow may act personally for Mr Whyte and for his Liberty Capital Ltd company.
As the suggestion re Ticketus is that season tickets belonging to Rangers were sold off by Mr Whyte, with the proceeds going to Group to settle the Lloyds Bank debt, does this not, I have been asked, present a potential conflict?
If one company on a group transfers assets to another, then the paper trail has to be transparent. It is not for directors to shift funds and assets around without good cause and proper records. After all, the directors run the company in the interests of the shareholders.
What legal advice did Mr Whyte, who assured us he had such “high-powered” assistance, receive regarding the Ticketus deal? Was this provided by Collyer Bristow, and if so, to whom?
Might they have advised Mr Whyte in each capacity?
If indeed Mr Whyte/Rangers/Group was advised by Collyer Bristow on this point, was that advice followed? Continue reading