Rangers director fears liquidation is 'inevitable'

 

Rangers director Dave King believes it is “inevitable” the club will plunge into liquidation and today launched a series of scathing attacks on former owner Sir David Murray and the current regime under Craig Whyte.

South Africa-based King, the only survivor from the Murray era on the board, announced his intention to sue the former Rangers owner and criticised Whyte after the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions entered administration last month.

In a 1500-word statement, King said: "I do not believe that there is a reasonable prospect that the company can come out of administration. I believe that liquidation is inevitable."

King lamented historic failings for Rangers' present predicament, which resulted on February 14 over an unpaid tax bill of £9million accrued during Whyte's tenure.

King added on Clyde 1's website: "I regret that repeated non-disclosure of the true financial position (including prior to Craig Whyte) resulted in this outcome. It was avoidable if better governance had been in place."

King met with Rangers manager Ally McCoist and administrators Duff and Phelps on February 22, eight days after the club formally entered administration.

The Glasgow-born businessman felt now was an appropriate time to comment on events at Ibrox "having had the opportunity to visit key stakeholders and to properly consider the information now available to me".

King anticipates there will be wholesale changes and "we must all strive to ensure that an appropriate ownership structure guarantees that this event is never repeated".

King claimed Whyte "duped" fans over the Ticketus agreement. Whyte was not immediately available for a response.

Ticketus paid £24million to secure the right to sell the club's future season tickets, with part of the cash used by Whyte to complete his takeover last May.

Duff and Phelps confirmed money from the deal was used by Whyte to pay the club's £18million debt to Lloyds Banking Group when he purchased Murray's majority shareholding and Ticketus last week released a statement, calling for a "rapid and successful conclusion" to the administration process and saying they were willing to hold talks with any potential new owners in a bid to help achieve that goal.

King said: "I met with Craig Whyte during my recent visit and he provided clarity on the funding position.

"His true financial commitment was not by way of cash (as he had previously advised me) but rather guarantees that he and/or companies associated with him had given to Ticketus.

"He confirmed to me that Ticketus has no recourse to the football club. Hopefully the administrators will be able to confirm this.

"The upshot of Craig Whyte's confession is that the fans were duped. Immediately upon the acquisition of the club by Craig Whyte (far from being debt free as was trumpeted by the Murray Group and Craig Whyte at the time) the club was in a much worse economic position than before and had no chance of survival even if we had progressed in Europe."

King announced his intention to take legal action against Murray in relation to his own investments into the club.

King added: "I seem to be one of the few people who actually invested cash into the club. I have made a claim of £20 million on the basis of non-disclosure by the then chairman, David Murray, of Rangers' true financial position as far back as 2000."

Murray and Murray International Holdings Limited were aware of King's comments but a response was not immediately available.

King has previously admitted he considered launching his own takeover bid before Murray sold his shares to Whyte for £1. He was put off by the demands of Lloyds Banking Group.

King today insisted he "will do whatever I can to advance its (the club's) interests" while added his backing to director Paul Murray, who has expressed interest in forming a takeover consortium.

King added: "Paul is a very smart businessman of undoubted integrity and a man who holds all that is sacred and traditional at Rangers Football Club very close to his heart. He is exactly the type of man the club needs at this time."

King, who has been involved in a long-running dispute with the South African tax authorities, remains on the board as a non-executive director and has approached the SFA over his future involvement in the club.

He added: "I will be guided by the SFA's response in that regard."

PA

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