Craig Whyte trial: Murray adviser ‘appalled’ by Ticketus deal

Michael McGill said he only learned about any deal with the firm Ticketus after Whyte bought Sir David Murrays (pictured above leaving court) majority stake at Ibrox. Picture: John Devlin
Michael McGill said he only learned about any deal with the firm Ticketus after Whyte bought Sir David Murrays (pictured above leaving court) majority stake at Ibrox. Picture: John Devlin
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A KEY adviser to Sir David Murray was “appalled” when it emerged Craig Whyte apparently funded his Rangers takeover with money from future season ticket sales.

Michael McGill said he only learned about any deal with the firm Ticketus after Whyte bought Sir David’s majority stake at Ibrox.

A jury heard how a bid being financed in that manner would not have been “approved”

Mr McGill also denied the selling of Rangers had been a “firesale”.

Whyte is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 46 year-old denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his May 2011 takeover.

Mr McGill – a former director of Sir David’s Murray Group and then Rangers – was giving evidence for a second day.

The accountant had earlier told the trial that Whyte stated cash for the buyout was coming from his “personal resources”.

But, prosecutors claim Whyte helped fund his takeover by getting a loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales.

Before Whyte took the helm, Rangers had a sizeable debt to Lloyds Bank – including an £18m loan.

The jury was shown a March 2011 letter from Liberty Capital to Ticketus signed by Craig Whyte.

• Read More: Craig Whyte trial: Rangers ‘had used Ticketus cash before’

It referred to re-paying the debt to Lloyds in raising money by selling tickets to the firm and that the “current owner” was “comfortable” with it.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice asked Mr McGill if he had any “knowledge” of that.

Mr McGill: “No.”

Mr Prentice: “Would you have approved of that?”

Mr McGill: “No.”

The witness said he found out about any Ticketus deal in early 2012.

This was after there had been “a lot of rumour” before stories emerged in the press.

Mr McGill told the jury: “We were appalled.”

Mr McGill – who is also a law graduate – said he “ceased involvement” with Rangers after Whyte took over.

Prosecutor Mr Prentice also asked what he thought if the selling of the club had been described as a “firesale”.

He replied: “Absolutely not. We had ceased actively marketing in May or June 2010.

“We first started discussions with Mr Whyte around October 2010 and ultimately completed the sale in May 2011.

“That timetable does not fit in any way with a firesale.”

Whyte’s QC Donald Findlay later put to Mr McGill that the Rangers board before Whyte took over “pursued a spend to win model”.

This was despite the club being in debt.

Mr Findlay claimed Sir David had taken the club to his “heart”, but left it to directors who “manifestly did not know what they were doing”.

Mr McGill stated he could “not answer that” on behalf of Sir David.

The trial, before Lady Stacey, continues.