Police to investigate Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers

 

A criminal investigation has begun into Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers FC and the subsequent alleged financial management of the club.

The Crown Office said prosecutors have instructed Strathclyde Police to investigate alleged criminality, following a preliminary police examination of information passed to it in February this year by the club's administrators.

Mr Whyte bought an 85% shareholding in Rangers for £1 from the Murray Group last May and made several pledges of investment and paying off the club's bank debt.

Rangers went into administration on February 14 and were consigned to liquidation earlier this month.

The Crown Office said: "The Crown Office has today instructed Strathclyde Police to conduct a criminal investigation into the acquisition of Rangers Football Club in May 2011 and the subsequent financial management of the club.

"The investigation into alleged criminality follows a preliminary police examination of information passed to them in February this year by the club administrators.

"The procurator fiscal for the west of Scotland will now work with Strathclyde Police to fully investigate the acquisition and financial management of Rangers Football Club and any related reports of alleged criminality during that process."

Rangers FC was forced into administration through court action from HM Revenue and Customs.

Immediately after being appointed, administrators Duff and Phelps announced that the club failed to pay about £9 million in PAYE and VAT since Mr Whyte took over.

They also revealed that Rangers paid off Lloyds Banking Group using £24.4 million from investment firm Ticketus, on the back of future season ticket sales.

The debt to HMRC was recently listed at around £21 million in the failed company voluntary arrangement proposal to creditors.

Businessman Charles Green's consortium bought the club's assets for £5.5 million earlier this month.

PA

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