Rangers owner Green held talks with Murray over EBTs

RANGERS chief executive Charles Green has revealed he held positive talks with Sir David Murray over co-operating on several issues.

RANGERS chief executive Charles Green has revealed he held positive talks with Sir David Murray over co-operating on several issues.

Murray, who sold Rangers to Craig Whyte 13 months before the club was consigned to liquidation, was the instigator of the controversial tax scheme that remains the subject of both a tribunal and Scottish Premier League inquiry.

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Green, who bought the assets and business of Rangers and re-launched the club as a new company, revealed Murray had agreed to help him deal with any fallout from the use of the Employee Benefit Trusts.

Green told RangersTV: “I met Sir David for the first time yesterday. Indeed I hadn’t even spoken with him before.

“We had a good chat and we talked about a number of subjects. Sir David is really keen to help the club. I welcome that and I appreciate the time we spent together.

“He has some clear views in terms of EBTs and there is no-one knows better than Sir David about that and he is prepared to do whatever is required to set the record straight.”

Green also revealed the club could acquire Edmiston House, a three-storey building behind the Copland Road stand, from Murray, who used it to base one of his companies.

Records show the building, which once housed the ticket office and a social club, was bought in 2002 for more than £1.1million.

“From a tangible point of view one of the things we went to discuss was trying to acquire Edmiston House because that would be very important to my plans,” Green said.

“I think we have agreed in principle a deal on that. So he has helped the club by coming to an acceptable deal on that and that is very much appreciated.

“We have some plans for the property and these will be unveiled in the future.”

Green added: “I am looking forward to seeing him and meeting with him again because he has a wealth of knowledge of Rangers Football Club. He was very important to this club over the last 20 years.

“He did sell the club to Craig Whyte and that’s history now. Sir David wouldn’t have been the first person that made a mistake with Mr Whyte but we all have to move on.

“Whilst there may be some fans who are unhappy with Sir David, there were lots of fans who were unhappy with Charles Green and I would like to think we have moved forward on that as well.”

Here is a recap of who has said what on the issue.

CHARLES GREEN

The Rangers chief executive claims the process behind the investigation is fundamentally flawed and the footballing authorities are confused...

“Lord Nimmo Smith has said that Rangers FC is a recognisable entity which continued in existence notwithstanding the change in ownership.

“He also stated that Rangers FC, the club, includes its owner and operator. The Commission has in effect ruled that Rangers and its history did not die on 14 June despite numerous reports to the contrary.

“This means that Rangers FC and its owner, i.e. me and my consortium, remained a member of the SPL even after the change of ownership.

“The bemusing part is that no-one at the SPL or SFA appeared to realise that. The SPL made the club (including its owner and operator) reapply to be a member of a league that the Commission says it was in already.”

...

“In our view the Commission chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith has been placed in an invidious position by the SPL.

“The establishment of the Commission is the most striking example of the chaotic way the fate of Rangers has been handled by the football authorities.

“As we stated previously, it is impossible for us as a club to participate in a process we firmly believe is fundamentally misconceived.

“We believe that most people would not think it right that a football authority that was willing to horse-trade league titles and cups for league status, should then embark on the course of action it has chosen in setting up a Commission. There is no clearer case of moving the goalposts.”

LORD NIMMO SMITH

The retired judge leading the SPL’s Independent Commission is adamant that newco Rangers should face oldco charges...

“It is the club, not the owner, who plays in the league. The rules clearly contemplate sanctions upon a club, in distinction to upon the owner or operator. That power must continue to apply, even if the owner at the time of [any] breach of rules has ceased to be a member of the SPL and its undertaking has passed to another owner or operator.

“To take a hypothetical example of a club which has been engaged in match-fixing but is then relegated and consequently ceases to be a member of the SPL – there is every reason why it should still be liable to disciplinary action, whether or not the breach comes to light before or after the club has relinquished its SPL membership.

“We stress that the commission has not yet come to the stage of deciding whether there have been any breaches of rules at all by either ‘oldco’ or Rangers FC.”

ALASTAIR JOHNSTON

The former Rangers chairman believes the punishment must fit the crime...

“Whatever misdemeanour could be validly charged to Rangers, surely it was a breach of procedure, not cheating or financial doping.

“The eminent members of the Commission must ask themselves — what were the real, not fabricated, consequences of Rangers not registering the information on EBTs directly with the SPL?

“What actions would have been taken by the SPL at the time if all the detail of the EBTs, the total of which was reported annually in public accounts, had been submitted in a timely form?

“I genuinely suspect the compliance officer would have reviewed the documents, ticked the important boxes that dealt with the players’ status and then routinely filed them for posterity.

“The Commission hearing this case must consider the real impact of any default. A verdict that Rangers essentially did not in fact adhere to stipulated procedures does not warrant capital punishment.”

But he also countered Green’s position on oldco versus newco...

“Rangers are Rangers notwithstanding the legal nuances caused by the application of various bankruptcy laws.

“The heritage and records of the club rest with the institution that is Rangers and no amount of self- serving diatribe to the contrary, no matter how relentlessly pursued, can rewrite history.”

SIR DAVID MURRAY

In August former Rangers owner Sir David Murray denied that he had presided over “cheating” at Ibrox...

“During my stewardship of Rangers no rules were breached or circumvented and I reject and resent any suggestion that anything was done which amounted to cheating.

“I cannot be anything other than angered at the suggestion Rangers should be stripped of titles or other competition victories.

“It would appear that the SPL is once again seeking to invest itself with a power of retrospective penalty beyond that prescribed in its own rules.”

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE

With the commission underway, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster has declined to comment on the matter.

SCOTTISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

The SFA were expected to release a statement on the EBTs this week.

Last week they issued a notice of complaint against Charles Green for “bringing the game into disrepute by calling into question the integrity of the Commission” when the Rangers chief executive suggested that the outcome would be pre-determined by the SPL.