A WARRANT was issued for the arrest of former Rangers owner Craig Whyte on Friday - as four others were detained by police investigating the sale of the Ibrox club in 2011.
The four men were held during early morning raids at addresses across the UK in an operation that involved officers from Police Scotland, Surrey Police, Cheshire Police and Thames Valley Police.
David Grier, Paul Clark and David Whitehouse worked for Duff and Phelps, who were Rangers’ administrators and Gary Withey worked for law firm Collyer Bristow, which represented Craig Whyte before he bought Rangers from Sir David Murray for £1.
Mr Whyte took control of Rangers in May 2011 but the club went into administration in February 2012 and were ultimately liquidated before being relaunched as a new company.
The warrant for his arrest was issued by the Crown Office.
Speaking after the other four men were detained, Rangers manager Ally McCoist spoke of his shock at the latest developments.
He said: “I can’t or wouldn’t comment on a current police matter, but I would have to say I’m shocked.
“Obviously I can’t pre-judge what is going to happen.
“Our concern has always been for the staff and supporters. What’s happened to us in the last two-and-a-half, three years has been very tough, particularly on the staff and supporters.
“We just want to continue with our attempts to get the club back to where we feel we belong.”
Duff and Phelps defended its role at Rangers following the news.
Spokesman Marty Dauer said: “Duff and Phelps has become aware that three employees in the United Kingdom have been detained for questioning in connection with work performed for Rangers Football Club.
“This work was commenced while these employees were part of MCR Partners, prior to its acquisition by Duff and Phelps in October of 2011.
“Duff and Phelps has performed an internal investigation and commissioned an independent investigation of the related matters. As a result, we believe that our work for Rangers was conscientious, thorough, and properly performed in every respect.
“Duff and Phelps has actively co-operated with all relevant investigating authorities throughout this process.
“In addition, we have provided thorough reports on our role in the administration of Rangers Football Club to the Court of Session and the Insolvency Practitioners’ Association.
“Notably, the liquidator’s amended pleadings in English High Court proceedings commenced on April 8, 2011 validate the conclusions of our internal investigation and the independent investigation we commissioned.
“In addition, our assignments in this matter were comprehensively examined by the Insolvency Practitioners Association in 2013. The IPA’s review cleared the firm of any wrongdoing or conflict of interest, affirming the position of the firm.”
Rangers have continued to suffer financial problems and this week announced they were taking their borrowing from shareholder Mike Ashley to £3million despite a cost-cutting exercise.
There have been reports of imminent job losses but McCoist said: “I am not sure at the moment. Obviously any job losses at any level of any description is sad and bad news.
“But at this moment time I haven’t been told that there will be any cuts at all within the footballing side of things so it is very much, if not business as usual, we have to remain focused and continue with the difficult job and the very important job of winning games.
“It would be wrong to pre-judge something that at this moment in time isn’t happening.
“My football staff is intact and concentrating fully on a tough game.”
Ashley’s initial loan was soon followed by the appointment of Sports Direct executive Barry Leach and former Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias as Rangers “consultants”, with the latter subsequently being named a director.
And McCoist revealed he was now answerable to Llambias and David Somers.
McCoist, whose team host Alloa in the Scottish Championship today (Sat) added: “I have been speaking to the chairman and Derek as well, in terms of footballing matters.
“I have been told that if I have any problems or any issues that those are the two gentlemen that I go to and I am absolutely fine with that.”