GLASGOW businessman Sandy Easdale, who is bidding to become Rangers’ biggest shareholder has rubbished reports that he is still involved in criminal activity.
Easdale, who along with his brother James owns Greenock coach firm McGill’s Buses, said that claims he was linked to gangsterism were ‘trash’ and stressed that his aim was to help put the club back on its feet financially.
The bus tycoon, who bought close to £500,000 worth of Rangers shares last week to add to the £1 million stake his family has in the club said he had no links with organised crime.
Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, Easdale said: “I have not been involved in crime for 16 years since I was jailed. If I was involved in all the things I’m rumoured to be involved in, I would be on some sort of Interpol list.”
The millionaire was sentenced to 27 months in prison for non-payment of VAT in 1997, serving one year, but says his businesses, which employ over 1000 people, were set up legitimately.
Along with his brother, Easdale intends to transfer his business acumen to the club to financially stabilise Rangers. He added: “You are not going to invest in Rangers to make money right away. I see the sense in doing it for the long term.”
He also revealed that he had agreed to buy the majority of the stake held by Charles Green - the current largest shareholder - whose return in a consultant role has angered a number of Ibrox fans. Easdale argued that Rangers supporters should be grateful to Green, and also to ex-director Imran Ahmad, for taking the club through the takeover and raising over £20 million on the stock market.
Easdale said that Rangers was ‘still there today thanks to their ingenuity,’ claiming that in buying the club, they took a risk that some ‘including Paul Murray’s Blue Knights’ didn’t.
However, fans have rounded on Green following his outspoken comments regarding manager Ally McCoist, while Ahmad is now planning to sue the club for £3.4 million. Ibrox chief executive Craig Mather called Green’s outburst ‘immoral and unethical’, with Green’s role at the club to be discussed at a board meeting this week.
The club’s three main supporters’ groups have all called on Rangers to sever ties with Green, who resigned his position as chief executive in April this year amidst claims about his association with former owner Craig Whyte.
Meanwhile, Easdale appears unconcerned about news of takeover bids, with Clyde Blowers chief Jim McColl and former director Paul Murray rumoured to be interested in bidding. The bus boss reckons any offer submitted by McColl and Murray would be unable to match the finances the board could raise.