Four men in court over 2011 Rangers sale

FOUR men have appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court charged in connection with the alleged fraudulent takeover of Rangers Football Club in 2011.

David Whitehouse, Paul Clark and Gary Withey leave court.
David Whitehouse, Paul Clark and Gary Withey leave court.

Three of the men worked for Duff & Phelps, the administrator appointed after the club fell into insolvency, while the fourth man, a lawyer, worked for Craig Whyte, who purchased the club from Sir David Murray.

David Whitehouse, 49, Paul Clark, 50, and David Grier, 53, who worked for Duff & Phelps, and Gary Withey, 50, made a private appearance in court yesterday, having been in police custody over the weekend after dawn raids on Friday.

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All four men are charged over an alleged fraudulent scheme.

Four men are due in court over the acquisition of Rangers in 2011. Picture: Donald Macleod

Withey, from Woking, also faces a charge under the Companies Act 2003; Whitehouse, from Wilmslow, and Clark, from Esher, each face two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Grier, from Wokingham, is also alleged to have tried to pervert the course of justice.

All of them made no plea and bail was granted by Sheriff Sam Cathcart.

While Whitehouse, Clark and Grier were employees of Duff & Phelps, Withey worked for Whyte’s London law firm, Collyer Bristow, before he took on a post with Rangers.

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The four are expected to appear again at court at a later date.

On Friday, a warrant was issued for the arrest of former Rangers owner Whyte following an investigation into the club’s sale to him by Sir David in 2011.

Clark and Whitehouse, who were appointed as joint administrators, are alleged to have negotiated the purchase by Charles Green’s Sevco consortium of Rangers assets in June 2012 with £5.5 million, which is believed to be in the form of a loan.

It has been reported that the procurator-fiscal in Glasgow received a report that related to alleged “incidents” between January 2010 and November 2012, which includes a period of one year before Whyte took over Rangers and extended into the ownership of the club by the consortium owned by Mr Green.

Whyte is alleged to have completed the purchase of Rangers by selling off the commercial rights to three years’ worth of season tickets to Ticketus, a London-based ticket agency, which paid £24 million.

It has been reported that the bulk of this money was used to pay off the club’s debt of £18m to Lloyds Banking Group, which was a condition of the club’s sale.

Duff & Phelps had previously been accused of misconduct and was investigated by the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) over the issue of conflict of interest, after complaints were made about its appointment as the football club’s administrator.

However, in June 2012, the IPA cleared the company after what was described as a “thorough investigation” that concluded it had “complied with the relevant guidance”.

At the weekend, Duff & Phelps said three staff were being questioned over work done while they were employees of MCR Partners, before its takeover by Duff & Phelps in October 2011.

A spokesman said: “We believe that our work for Rangers was conscientious, thorough and properly performed in every respect. Duff & Phelps has actively co-operated with all relevant investigating authorities throughout this process.

“In addition, we have provided thorough reports on our role in the administration of Rangers Football Club to the Court of Session and the Insolvency Practitioners Association.”

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