RANGERS have been granted leave to appeal against the decision to freeze £620,000 of the club’s assets – but they may still be barred from accessing the cash in the meantime.
Former commercial director Imran Ahmad is claiming £500,000 for an unpaid bonus and another £120,000 for legal costs.
On Tuesday morning, Rangers were given the go-ahead by the Court of Session in Edinburgh to challenge the decision to ring-fence the money while the club battle cash problems.
It is understood that, while the warrant to secure the money has not yet been actioned, Ahmad still holds the right to freeze the cash and could use his veto before Friday’s deadline for the club’s £4million share offer.
The courtroom battle could rumble on to 11 November when the case is next set to be heard at the Court of Session, although Ibrox chiefs are hopeful of finding an earlier date.
Rangers said in a statement: “The company confirms that the Court of Session in Edinburgh has granted the company leave to appeal the court’s decision to grant an order allowing Mr Ahmad to arrest funds in Rangers bank account or the accounts of others who may be due to pay sums to Rangers. He sought this order in connection with a claim against the Rangers Football Club Limited for alleged unpaid bonuses in the amount of £500,000.
“This is a procedural step in the appeal process and the court has not yet considered the merits of the appeal.
“If the appeal is successful, the court’s decision of 5 September 2014 will be overturned and the funds arrested will be released.”
Ahmad successfully argued at the Court of Session on Friday that the cash he seeks should be ring-fenced after Rangers announced they would not be able to pay creditors should this month’s rights issue fail.
But Lord Stewart decided that granting Rangers the right to appeal would “facilitate the raising of fresh capital” through the open offer and ultimately “benefit both parties”.
He also urged Rangers to come to a deal with Ahmad over security for the sum while the sides wait for the case to return to court.
Rangers launched their appeal after claiming the judge had “erred in law” by freezing the cash. The club’s QC Alan Summers told the court that Lord Stewart had taken a different view to two other law lords who have already examined the case and found there was no “substantial risk” of the club going bust. Mr Summers also questioned the decision to ring-fence the club’s assets when Rangers claimed the club would be in a position to pay any costs by the time the case is ultimately resolved in the new year.
But Ahmad’s lawyer Kenny McBrearty argued that Lord Stewart should ignore those claims because, by the club’s own admission, financial circumstances at Rangers had changed since the case was heard earlier this year.
In the end, it was Mr Summers’ claim that the decision to ring-fence cash may “inconvenience” this month’s share issue which persuaded Lord Stewart to grant the appeal.