CRAIG Whyte’s takeover of Rangers is to be probed by government fraud investigators.
An article in today’s Scottish Sun newspaper reports that officials representing the Insolvency Service have uncovered evidence of fraud on the part of the former Ibrox boss .
The investigators have been speaking to senior figures connected with the takeover, with the probe likely to result in Whyte facing criminal charges and a lifetime ban from holding a position as company director.
A source told The Sun that the fraud squad have been combing over paperwork and conducting interviews for around a month, with senior Ibrox figures past and present expected to be questioned in the coming weeks.
The focus of the investigation is the £18 million which Whyte used to purchase the Ibrox club, but is separate to the police inquiry into the businessman’s affairs. Whyte sold three years worth of season tickets sales rights to finance his deal, with firm Ticketus buying the rights.
The probe is also expected to uncover more information about Whyte’s failure to admit he had been banned from holding director positions at companies for seven years.
The Insolvency Service could apply to the courts for a ban that would prevent Whyte from holding company directorships for the rest of his life.
Part of Whyte’s agreement to buy Sir David Murray’s shares in the Ibrox club for £1, giving him overall control of Rangers, was that the £18 million debt owed to the Lloyd’s Banking Group would be cleared.
However, the 42-year-old was only able to proceed with clearing the debt after receiving the money from Ticketus.
The current investigation was launched following discussions by fraud officials about possible criminal misconduct. Any evidence found by the Insolvency Service can be given to prosecutors in Scotland and London.
An English court have already ordered Whyte to repay £17.7 million to Ticketus.
Read more on Craig Whyte