RANGERS fans and shareholders are expected to be forced to wait another six weeks for the club’s annual general meeting, as it emerged last night that Wednesday, 18 December has been scheduled as the date.
The club must, under stock exchange rules, host a shareholder meeting before 31 December, but supporters had been hoping for the event to be staged much sooner and are demanding to know why there is such a delay in holding the AGM.
Rangers Supporters Assembly president Andy Kerr said: “We have been saying for weeks that the meeting needs to be held as quickly as possible but now it is going to drag on again.
“It’s certainly not helpful, and I think the frustrating aspect is that the club was preparing for an 24 October meeting so why is it taking so long for the rearranged meeting to take place? If a useful explanation was given then fans and shareholders might understand but it now seems like prevarication. All this will do is create more angst and uncertainty between now and the meeting.”
Meanwhile, former Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray has warned the club’s “mysterious” shareholders they could be banned from voting at the AGM if they do not reveal their backers.
Murray and his partner Paul Murray have concerns about two shareholders in particular – Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita holdings who hold a 12 per cent stake in the club, with fans fearing they could be a front for former chief executive Charles Green or even Craig Whyte, the man who started the club on its path towards liquidation last year. However, the two Murrays – who hope to win places on the club’s board alongside backers Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch when the AGM finally takes place – have warned that if Blue Pitch and Margarita do not volunteer the information, they could ask Rangers’ powerful institutional shareholders to call an emergency stakeholder meeting and bar their votes.
Murray, who was axed as Rangers chairman in May before being removed from the Ibrox board completely two months later, told talkSPORT: “In terms of institutions, we do know who the major shareholders are. They are very shy, retiring people. They are Hargreave Hale, Artemis, Reverend Mercantile, Miton, Kames Capital and Laxey Partners.
“But if you are getting after who the mystery shareholders are, the original shareholders brought in by Charles Green (in the summer of 2012) were, I was told, wealthy Arabs who were quite secretive about their identity.
“I have met representatives (of the Arab investors) many times over the last few months. They seemed to be quite reasonable until Charles Green left and then they became very aggressive, and supported the changes on the board which saw me and Phil Cartmell leave and the Easdales coming on.
“We don’t know why they changed their mind. All we know is their nominee name, which is Blue Pitch/Margarita, accounts for about 12 per cent of the holding. We have demanded to know who they are but we have not been told.
“But the big stick we have is that if they won’t tell us, the institutions can demand to know who they are. And if they won’t tell us, those shares won’t get a vote. If there’s nothing to hide, why on earth won’t we be told?”
The Murray group – backed by Clyde Blowers chairman Jim McColl – took the Rangers board to the Court of Session last month when motions proposing the addition of four new directors – Malcolm Murray, Paul Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch – were blocked.
Lord Tyre ruled in favour of the Murrays, banning a planned AGM due to take place on 24 October and ordering the directorship motions to be included when a new date was set.
That victory sparked the resignation of chief executive Craig Mather and Bryan Smart from the board, leaving just Brian Stockbridge and James Easdale as the club’s last two remaining directors.
Speaking before last night’s reports that an 18 December date is being favoured by the club, Murray voiced his discontent that shareholders were still waiting for a date to be confirmed and warned the current board that they will be breaking the law if they do not stage the meeting this year. He said: “Three weeks ago today, the highest commercial judge in the land ordered what remains of the current board to put the nominations of the four of us on (the list of business for the AGM). If they didn’t, it was illegal.
“We are now three weeks on and it’s not been done. No-one understands why and it seems obfuscation and wasting time. There is no reason why.”