Tag Archives: Blue Knights

The SFA’s “Fit and Proper” Test – A Farce? Part 2 – Dave King and Paul Murray – Bad News for the Blue Knights?

You can see Part 1 of this piece here.

What about Dave King?

According to the Scotsman article referred to by me in Part 1 (and I commend the full piece to readers) :-

“During a breakfast briefing with daily newspaper correspondents, it also emerged that Rangers director Dave King will not be permitted by the SFA to be an official at the Ibrox club post-administration as he was still serving on the board when they entered their current insolvency event under Whyte.“

This is an interesting one too. There is no note on the SFA website of this decision about Mr King. Mr King remains listed by Companies House as a director. Even though the publicity was that he had been dismissed by Mr Whyte on the Friday before administration.

But the Articles do not mention being a director at the time of an Insolvency Event as being a bar. Instead it is being a director within 5 years prior to a member club undergoing an insolvency event. Indeed, this means that a director of a team which had had an insolvency event in, for example 1980, and who had resigned as a director in 1976, would still fall foul of the Articles. There is no limit on how far back the restriction goes – as long as you were a director within the five years prior to an insolvency event at a club, then you are potentially persona non grata. I will come back to this point below.

Mr King might wonder why he has not been afforded the same due process given to Mr Whyte.

He might also wonder why Andrew Ellis is not mentioned either. After all, if the position of the SFA is that being a director at the time of an insolvency event triggers a ban, then why not mention Mr Ellis, or indeed Gary Withey?

As I say, in any event, the Article does not say what is being reported here.

Mr King has been a director of Rangers for over 10 years. He is accused, but denies, criminal tax fraud and evasion on a huge scale in South Africa. The linked article describes in detail the allegations against him, and the findings by a South African court.

Mr King was described as follows by the judge:-

The court had seen King testify for four days and “are unanimous in finding that he is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by documents and other objective evidence”.

“It was remarkable that King showed no sign of embarrassment or any emotion when he conceded that he had lied to the (Sars) commissioner in a number of his income tax returns. In our assessment, he is a glib and shameless liar.”

To be fair to the SFA, this was only published in February 2011, and the tax issues were only known about since around 2001.

As the newspapers report continues:-

“In 2001, Sars levied a tax assessment against King for R912.8 million (£77 million), which has not yet been finalised. The High Court in Pretoria heard in 2002 that King’s income tax returns for the years 1990 to 2001 reflected a modest annual income of R60 000 (£5,000) and King had then asked to be deregistered as a taxpayer.

Sars launched an investigation into King’s affairs in May 2000 when it became aware that he had bought an Irma Stern painting for R1.76m (£148,000) and could not reconcile this purchase with his declared gross income of R60 000.”

The final determined tax assessment for Mr King and his companies totals R2.7 billion (£228 million)!

Yet for all this information, and the finding by a court that Mr King ADMITTED to lying in his tax returns (which one assumes is a crime in South Africa as it is here), and the finding that Mr King is a mendacious witness and a glib and shameless liar (which one assumes could constitute perjury), the first indication by the SFA that they are concerned about Mr King comes in a chat with journalists over breakfast, regarding him being on the Board of Rangers when the music stopped!

As Mr Regan says in the part of the Scotsman article in quoted in my previous piece – “The fit and proper person test is a myth. There is no test!”

Mr King’s continued role on the Rangers’ board for over ten years is proof of that.

However Mr Regan’s breakfast comments might help Mr King, because he can argue that he has not had due process, nor proper notification of a decision. If no formal decision has yet been made, then Mr Regan has jumped the gun, and could have caused his organisation as much trouble as Mr Whyte did for Rangers in unguarded and premature comments to journalists about Martin Bain!

Which Former Directors of Rangers plc might be Disqualified as not “Fit and Proper”?

Every director and office bearer of Rangers going back to the 15th February 2007 falls foul of the 5-year pre-insolvency rule.

That list is as follows:-

Craig Whyte

Dave King

Andrew Ellis

Gary Withey

Phil Betts

John Greig

John McClelland

Martin Bain

Donald McIntyre

Alastair Johnston

Paul Murray !!!!!!!!!

Donald Muir

Michael McGill

James Wilson

Sir David Murray

Quite how is Mr Murray, who is at the head of the “Blue Knights” going to get round this issue?

Mr Regan has made it clear – all he needs to do is to fill in the form and say that he is a fit and proper person! The problem is solved!

Conclusions

The SFA fit and proper person test is a farce. As I joked previously Hannibal Lecter gets in as long as he is prepared to lie on the form, or to indulge in “smoke and mirrors” tactics re interpretation of the rules.

Whilst the English FA is setting up a body to deal with this, the SFA refuses to do so, as it would involve a “cast of thousands”.

Maybe Mr Regan could ring his colleagues at the FA and ask them how they plan to do it, or even read the documents published by the FA?

If Mr Regan feels that the matter is one where the Articles are not fit for purpose, as was pointed out by the late Paul McBride QC last year in connection with the Neil Lennon suspension saga, then they should be changed.

As it stands the Articles regarding the fit and proper test (which does not exist!) do not reflect either what happens in reality, or what Mr Regan thinks should happen. Therefore they must be changed.

The Rangers mess is extending through all areas of Scottish football. It might allow the fundamental reforms needed to prevent a recurrence in the future, or, on a more modest level, to allow the SFA to do what it is required to do!

 

Posted by Paul McConville

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