Administrators deny Ticketus deal claim

23 May 2012 11:16

Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps have insisted they had no knowledge of Craig Whyte's intention to use money from Ticketus to pay off the club's bank debt when he took control last year.

Duff and Phelps spoke out after a BBC documentary revealed Duff and Phelps partner David Grier, who advised Whyte on his takeover, had known of a potential deal between the businessman and the investment firm before the takeover.

The administrators confirmed that fact but they stressed that Grier - who was then working for MCR, which was bought by Duff and Phelps in October - had not known of Whyte's intentions for the money and had subsequently raised concerns.

Whyte initially borrowed £24.4million, including VAT which was not passed on to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, on the back of future season ticket sales before paying Lloyds Bank around £18m to clear the debt he had pledged to settle as part of his £1 takeover deal.

The administrators released a lengthy statement raising the prospect of legal action against the BBC over the hour-long documentary, which also contained allegations over the club's Employee Benefit Trust scheme, which is the subject of a tax tribunal.

In the statement, Grier said: "I categorically deny that at the time of the Craig Whyte takeover of Rangers, I had any knowledge that funds from Ticketus were being used to acquire the club.

"Neither I nor any of my colleagues at MCR provided any professional assistance to Liberty, Wavetower or Craig Whyte, in raising funds, performing financial due diligence, structuring or agreeing the terms of the purchase of the club from the Murray Group."

Grier said his firm's primary purpose was to assist Whyte in negotiating a settlement of the debt with Lloyds. He added: "The reality is that when my concerns about the use of Ticketus funding crystallised over the summer of 2011, I took immediate steps to raise these concerns with controlling directors of Rangers and HMRC.

"The email, referred to in tonight's programme, to Ticketus dated 19 April 2011 mentions the possibility of raising funds for working capital but does not provide any information of quantum or terms of such a proposal. To suggest this email establishes an awareness of Ticketus providing acquisition funding is absurd and ridiculous."

Duff and Phelps have previously denied the inference that Grier's widely-known involvement in Whyte's takeover was a conflict of interest.

Source: PA