Craig Whyte trial hears Rangers discussed administration '˜months before deal'

The possibility of Rangers going into administration was being discussed by bosses several months before Craig Whyte's deal to buy the club was concluded, a court has heard.
Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte. Picture: PAFormer Rangers owner Craig Whyte. Picture: PA
Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte. Picture: PA

The club’s former finance director Donald McIntyre told jurors it would have been “remiss” of the board not to have talks on the issue when faced with a potential tax burden from a looming case.

Mr McIntyre, 58, has been giving evidence for a second day at the High Court in Glasgow at the trial of former Rangers owner Whyte.

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The 46-year-old is accused of acquiring the club fraudulently in May 2011. He denies the two charges against him, one of fraud and another under the Companies Act.

During the third day of evidence, jurors heard the club went into administration “some time” after Whyte took over.

Whyte’s QC Donald Findlay asked Mr McIntyre: “When were you first aware, as financial director of Rangers, that the board was discussing the possibility of administration of the club?”

Mr McIntyre said he could not be specific on the date but the subject “undoubtedly cropped up” as they moved towards the tax case, referred to as EBT. He then put the date at about October 2010.

Mr Findlay asked the witness: “Some time after Mr Whyte took over, it is widely known that Rangers Football Club went into administration.

“But what is not perhaps so widely well-known, or what perhaps some people don’t want to be widely well-known, is that the possibility of administration for Rangers was being discussed for a substantial period before the Whyte deal was ever concluded, let alone he took over, that is right, isn’t it?”

Mr McIntyre replied: “I think it would have been remiss of us, given the potential tax burden of EBT, not to have discussions.”

The QC put it to the witness “the possibility of administration for Rangers Football Club was recognised by the board several months before the Whyte deal was concluded, let alone that he took over”.

“Yes,” replied Mr McIntyre.

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Earlier, Mr Findlay suggested the club was in a financial “predicament” around the start of 2011, months before Whyte took over.

Mr McIntyre said the club had debt but it was getting to a more manageable level.

Mr Findlay spoke of an “unknown nuclear missile” heading towards the club in the form of the “big tax case” - a case where the potential bill had been thought to be in excess of £50 million.

The witness replied: “Well, time will tell. Counsel told us that we had a very good chance of success in the case.”

The case is still unresolved, Mr Findlay told the court.