Craig Whyte Rangers deal sealed ‘by £1 tossed across table’

Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at Glasgow High Court. Picture: John Devlin
Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at Glasgow High Court. Picture: John Devlin
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Craig Whyte’s Rangers takeover was clinched with a £1 coin being tossed across a table in Sir David Murray’s office, a court heard.

Philip Betts – a key associate in Whyte’s buyout – recalled being at the May 2011 meeting as the businessman acquired Sir David’s majority stake in the club.

Mr Betts told how he also took photos at the gathering he described as being “light hearted”.

The claims were today/yesterday made at Whyte’s 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 takeover.

• READ MORE: Ticketus wanted Craig Whyte’s Rangers deal kept secret

Mr Betts – an asset finance broker – told how he got involved in Whyte’s bid for Rangers after first meeting him in 2009.

The 54 year-old recalled Whyte had wanted his interest to be “low profile”.

He told the trial Whyte had wanted to raise £10m.

But, Mr Betts said Whyte later claimed he was “struggling” to do so and “could not understand why”.

Mr Betts then got in touch with a contact in the financial sector. This individual said he had someone who could help with funding.

Mr Betts and Whyte went on to meet this person at a Starbucks coffee shop near St Paul’s in London.

It eventually resulted in a meeting with Ticketus, who “expressed an interest” in Whyte’s proposal.

Prosecutors state Whyte took out a loan from the firm against three years season tickets to help fund the takeover.

• READ MORE: Craig Whyte warned he would be ‘mad’ to takeover Rangers

Mr Betts said Whyte had been “pleased” at the Ticketus interest.

But, the witness added: “He then asked me to ask them would they consider £20m.

“I think I laughed. I said I would ask as long as he was happy to receive a no.”

However, Mr Betts recalled “after some deliberation” Ticketus came back and said they would be “interested”.

Whyte eventually struck a £1 deal with Sir David to takeover at Rangers.

Mr Betts told how he travelled to Edinburgh in May 2011 for the buyout to be completed.

He said initially the trip to Scotland involved sitting in a lawyers office “twiddling our thumbs”.

But, the Whyte and Murray groups later went to Sir David’s office in the capital.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked Mr Betts did he take photos at the meeting.

Mr Betts: “Two or three – at the signing of the paperwork at the offices of the Murray group.”

• READ MORE: Craig Whyte ‘laughed’ when advised to drop Rangers deal

Mr Prentice: “Once the signing occurred was a £1 coin provided?”

Mr Betts replied: “There was, but I do not know from who. It was flicked across the table to the lawyers of the Murray Group.

“It was all light hearted.”

The advocate depute went on: “Was anything said?”

Mr Betts: “Congratulations, you are now owner of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, I think.”

Mr Betts is due to carry on with his evidence today/tomorrow. (FRI)

The trial, before Judge Lady Stacey, continues.