Sir David Murray ‘gained from Rangers sale’

Sir David Murray leaves the High Court in Glasgow.
Sir David Murray leaves the High Court in Glasgow.
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Former Rangers owner Sir David Murray benefitted from the sale of the club to Craig Whyte, a court has heard.

Lloyds Banking Group told Sir David that he could retain ownership of his metals business if he sold Rangers and paid the club’s debts, the High Court in Glasgow was told.

Banker Ian Shanks was back in the witness box for a second day.

The 50-year-old was a senior official at Lloyds and had been involved in Whyte’s purchase of Sir David’s majority stake.

Questioned by Whyte’s defence QC, Donald Findlay, Mr Shanks said the bank had told Sir David that he could split Murray Metals from his wider company interests and retain ownership of the business on the condition that he sold Rangers and repaid its debts.

In an email dated from April 2010, Mr Shanks wrote: “When we did the Murray Group restructuring last year, we agreed that the metals business could be ‘spun out’ to David once he sold his shares in Rangers.”

READ MORE: Craig Whyte ‘did not guarantee’ Rangers investment

The court was told that the bank gave Sir David a year to sell the Ibrox side and pay off its debts, which included an £18 million overdraft.

Mr Findlay said: “That’s an incentive, surely, to get the deal done.”

Mr Shanks replied: “I agree.”

The court also heard that then club chairman Alastair Johnston claimed Rangers was being “throttled into submission” by its bank. Mr Johnston made the remark in a letter to Lloyds months before Whyte took over at Ibrox in 2011.

The bank had wanted to cut Rangers debt – which included an £18m loan.

But Mr Johnston said Lloyds intended to “drain every single penny out of the club” leaving “carnage” as a result of its so-called “polices”.

Mr Johnston claimed the Rangers board were “masquerading as directors” effectively “stooges” for the “objective” of the bank.

The chairman spoke of “carnage” and referred to the “impoverished remains” of the club.

He also described the “head count” of the playing squad as “dangerously under water”.

Mr Findlay asked: “Did you see the basis of the chairman referring to the impoverished remains of Rangers?” Mr Shanks: “That’s obviously Alastair’s view.”

The jury was also told yesterday that Rangers wanted the firm Ticketus to help them buy striker Nikica Jelavic in 2010.

This is the same company Whyte allegedly used to assist in the funding of his takeover.

Whyte denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his takeover.

The trial continues.

READ MORE: David Murray unaware Ticketus cash funded Craig Whyte Rangers bid