Whyte link to pension fund's £3m Rangers loan

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The Independent Online

The pension fund of a company part-owned by Craig Whyte, the controversial owner of collapsed Glasgow Rangers, lent nearly £3m to the football club, it emerged yesterday.

Jerome Group, an outfit now owned by property firm Worthington, says it has begun legal action to recover the funds from the club's administrators.

Rangers plunged into administration last month, amid allegations of fraud. Police say they are "examining" the situation and the Scottish FA said that Mr Whyte is not a "fit and proper person" to run the club.

The administrators running Rangers have said they do not know the whereabouts of £24m which was lent to the club.

A statement from Worthington yesterday said the Jerome pension trustees gave a loan of £2.925m to Rangers. "The trustees now understand that the funds may have been the subject of an unauthorised release to the club."

Liberty Capital, a company associated with Mr Whyte, owns 7.54 per cent of Worthington's stock, the statement also noted.

The trustees say their lawyers advised them that they have "a very good claim" for recovering the funds. Rangers owes the taxman an estimated £15m for the non-payment of PAYE and VAT. Other firms with links to Mr Whyte have also made claims to recoup money.

Merchant Turnaround, where Mr Whyte is company secretary, says it is entitled to £1m. Merchant House, a listed broking firm which has a 29 per cent stake in Merchant Turnaround, is in turn 18 per cent owned by Mr Whyte's Liberty Capital.

The administrators, Duff & Phelps, hope to successfully argue that the money belongs to the club.