High Court judge removes Craig Whyte jail threat

Craig Whyte arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice Rolls Building in London for a hearing. Picture: PA

Craig Whyte arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice Rolls Building in London for a hearing. Picture: PA

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FORMER RANGERS owner Craig Whyte had the threat of a jail sentence lifted by a judge yesterday at a hearing at the High Court in London as part of an ongoing damages claim by ticketing firm Ticketus.

His lawyers insisted he was in no doubt about the strength of feeling surrounding the collapse of the club.

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Whyte also revealed he was still a fan of Rangers and said he thought it inevitable they would rise to the top again.

The 43-year-old, appearing at the High Court for the first time since a warrant for his arrest was issued for non-appearance at a previous hearing, spoke only briefly as he left with his legal team and advisers.

The businessman had previously failed to attend a hearing after being ordered to pay more than £17 million to Ticketus following a civil court dispute, Mr Justice Newey heard.

He was made the subject of a “suspended committal order”, under which he could have been jailed.

A judge had issued an arrest warrant but Mr Justice Newey discharged that order after Whyte appeared before him.

Lawyers for Whyte explained he had been out of the country and said he would co-operate with proceedings.

Ticketus claimed Whyte fraudulently or negligently made representations which induced the company to enter into agreements related to the sale or purchase of Rangers season tickets, and claimed damages.

Whyte, who took control of Rangers in 2011, disputed the claim.

Lawyer Mohammed Khamisa said Whyte recognised “the strength of feeling in Scotland” over the collapse of the world-famous football club. “And England,” a fan retorted from the public gallery.

Mr Khamisa continued: “Mr Whyte has received some advice from the police about keeping the address private and advice from security, so I want to flag that up.”

Whyte was asked by reporters if he thought Rangers would return to the top. He said: “Inevitably.” Asked if he would always support the club, he replied “Yes”.

He was ordered to return in January for a private hearing.

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