Rangers chairman Dave King '˜nannied' by watchdogs, court hears

Financial watchdogs '˜nannied' Rangers chairman Dave King during his attempts to comply with the law over an £11 million share issue, a court has heard.

Christopher Jillings, 56, told the Court of Session on Thursday that the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers offered more advice to Mr King than it normally does.

Mr Jillings, of London, said the organisation provided advice to the businessman before he was due to make an offer to buy remaining shares in Rangers.

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Rngers chairman Dave King at the club's AGM. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

Mr Jillings, who is the panel’s Deputy Director General, told judge Lady Wolffe that Mr King was obliged by law to make an offer to shareholders in the Glasgow club to purchase their stakes.

The South African resident was the major shareholder in the ‘Gers and corporate regulations dictated that he had to offer to acquire their equity.

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However, Mr King failed to make the offer. Mr Jillings said this was despite the panel repeatedly giving the Rangers chief advice about his obligations.

He said Mr King did not appoint a ‘cash confirmer’ - a financial advisor or institution that could confirm that the executive had the money available to make the offer.

He said that the panel repeatedly told him to appoint anybody who would have been able to offer assurances about Mr King’s finances.

He added that this did not happen and this was despite all parties in the case being in contact with each other.

Mr Jillings said: “We do not get involved with the nannying of the companies in the way we did with this case.”

Mr Jillings was giving evidence on the first day of proceedings at the Court of Session on whether Mr King is in contempt of court by breaching legal orders.

The financial organisation has instructed lawyers to go to the Edinburgh court because it believes that Mr King has deliberately flouted a December 2017 judgement which required him to make a multi million pound offer to buy up remaining shares in the the club.

That order was made after the panel’s lawyers argued that Mr King didn’t comply with the terms of the 2006 Companies Act.

The legislation dictates that entrepreneurs who hold a 30 per cent stake in businesses are compelled to make an offer to other shareholders to buy their shares.

The panel’s lawyers have successfully argued that Mr King was the majority shareholder in Ranges and should make such an offer.

They say that because he hasn’t made this offer, he should be found in contempt of court.

Earlier this year, Mr King’s lawyers failed to stop the contempt of court action from proceeding to court.

The case was originally brought to court over the actions of Mr King and the so called “three bears” - businessmen George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park - during their takeover of Rangers in late 2014.

Investigators for the panel concluded that the quartet acted in concert to acquire 30 per cent of the shares in Rangers.

The money for the shares purchased by the four men came from offshore trusts which were in the name of Mr King’s family.

Lawyers acting for Mr King said that cash came from his family’s trusts and that he didn’t have any control over these trusts.

However, Lord Bannatyne ruled that Mr King had control over these trusts and had to make the offer to buy the remaining shares.

The share offer would be made at the price Mr King acquired the shares - 20 pence.