Commonwealth Games organisers to publish secret 'gift list'

COMMONWEALTH Games organisers last night said they would publish a secret list of the hospitality and gifts that they had received from potential partners bidding for business at the 2014 Glasgow event.

The taxpayer-funded company Glasgow 2014 bowed to pressure and said it would take the step after anger at the secrecy that has surrounded the resignation of its chief executive, John Scott.

Mr Scott quit for breaching rules governing gifts and hospitality after he accepted a "gift in kind" worth several thousand pounds, which he had failed to declare on the company's "gifts and gratuities register".

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There was speculation yesterday that Mr Scott may have stepped down after failing to declare tax advice he received from a major financial services firm.

But a spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 said: "We have said we will not add to speculation, confirm or deny who the other party were or what the nature of the offer was. The facts are an offer was accepted and not declared, and as a result John Scott resigned."

About 424 million of Glasgow 2014's 524m budget comes from the taxpayer and the refusal of the company to disclose the details of Mr Scott's departure angered opposition politicians.

It emerged yesterday that Glasgow 2014 holds a register of gifts senior employees have received from firms hoping for business.

Initially, the company said the list could not be published because of "commercial confidentiality".

• Gratuity guidelines

But after a day of political pressure, the firm relented and last night issued a statement outlining its gifts and gratuities policy and said that it would publish the register "shortly".

It will not contain details of Mr Scott's offer, because he failed to declare it on the register.

Sports minister Shona Robison welcomed Glasgow 2014's decision. But opposition politicians still demanded to know the exact circumstances of Mr Scott's resignation.

Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative deputy leader, said: "We need to know whether the existence of the secret list was sanctioned by the Scottish Government and whether its contents are accessible to SNP ministers.

"It is clear from the growing confusion that the SNP government has handled this situation very badly and, by being so secretive, has in fact made it worse."

Patricia Ferguson, Labour's shadow culture minister and Commonwealth Games spokeswoman, said: "There must be full public disclosure immediately. The public have a right to know the reasons behind the resignation of the chief executive in mysterious circumstances. The reputation and integrity of the Games are at stake, and they cannot afford to be tainted by this."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "If we are going to have confidence in the running of these Games and so they don't get caught up in the scandals of Olympics past and Fifa present, the Scottish Government needs to come clean. With hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money being spent on these Games, it is essential that we are given a proper explanation."

The unnamed company which sparked the hospitality scandal that led to the resignation of the head of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games will be allowed to compete for future lucrative contracts in the run-up to 2014.

The Scotsman understands that the firm in question had already won work from Glasgow 2014 and fulfilled its contract when Mr Scott - who drew up the gift and gratuity rules - realised he had erred, and volunteered his resignation.

A Games spokeswoman said: "We can't bar any company from bidding for work; we won't rule them out and we wouldn't rule anybody out."

Asked when the breach of the guidelines had occurred, she said: "It's been days and weeks, certainly not months. This is not something that we've been sitting on that happened a long time ago."

Despite receiving four-fifths of its budget from the public purse, Glasgow 2014 made clear it has no obligation to disclose such information as it is a private limited company.

That status means the firm is not obliged to publish any register of interests of its board members, abide by the Freedom of Information Act, or even reveal details of the gifts and gratuities policy of which Mr Scott fell foul.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said that, while it was aware of his resignation, the force had not launched any investigation.