Rangers try to allay fears after court cash freeze

RANGERS last night tried to allay fears of another insolvency event following Imran Ahmad’s successful court bid to have £620,000 of club assets frozen.
Former Rangers commercial director Imran Ahmad. Picture: SNSFormer Rangers commercial director Imran Ahmad. Picture: SNS
Former Rangers commercial director Imran Ahmad. Picture: SNS

Ahmad, Rangers’ former commercial director, claims he is owed £500,000 in bonuses from his time at Ibrox, while he is also seeking £120,000 to cover legal expenses and has now seen a judge find in his favour that the Ibrox club will have some assets ring-fenced until the completion of the ongoing case.

Rangers announced the result from the Court of Session in Edinburgh via a statement to the Stock Exchange and said that a decision on their leave to appeal would be made on Tuesday.

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The club then followed this with another statement in which they expressed confidence that Rangers could continue to operate as normal.

The statement said: “Further to the Stock Exchange announcement regarding the court action taken by Imran Ahmad against Rangers, whatever the outcome of the court process, we agree with Judge Lord Stewart when he told the court: ‘This does not mean to say that insolvency is an actuality or is going to happen.’

“We remain confident that the club will be able to continue to operate as normal.”

Ahmad had previously lost two attempts to have assets frozen but his legal team, led by Kenny McBrearty QC, argued that he was now concerned about the club’s financial position and, if the eventual outcome ruled in his favour, Rangers would be unable to pay the balance.

Mr McBrearty had earlier told the hearing that Rangers had sold 23,000 season tickets, 15,000 fewer than last season.

The lawyer said the club’s recent plans for a share issue may only provide a temporary solution to the club’s financial position. Saying that the share issue may only raise £3.6 million and cover only some of Rangers’ obligations, Mr McBrearty added: “There is a significant hole in the club’s finances for the forthcoming season. It is not an investment for the long term. It is not an investment in the rebuilding of the club. It is not there to purchase players or improve training facilities. It is there to keep the lights on. It’s a sticking plaster.”

In his statement to the judge before the ruling, Rangers’ QC, Alan Summers, said the company was not verging on insolvency but was not in rude health. He said it was “trading out of difficulties”. In their statement to the Stock Exchange, Rangers said they would continue to defend robustly Ahmad’s action.

The statement read: “The Company confirms that the Court of Session in Edinburgh has granted a request by Mr Ahmad for an order allowing him to arrest £620,000 in a Rangers bank account or the accounts of others who may be due to pay sums to Rangers.

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“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.

“The court granted permission to arrest £620,000 to take account of the sum sued for and Mr Ahmad’s legal expenses in connection with his claim.

“Leave to appeal this decision has been sought by Rangers and the court will deal with that request on Tuesday.

“This is a provisional procedural measure and the fact that this procedural ruling is in Mr Ahmad’s favour it is not an

indication that the court accepts there is any merit in his claim.

“The court has not yet considered the merits of Mr Ahmad’s claim.

“Mr Ahmad’s claim is being robustly defended. The case proceeds to a full hearing on its merits commencing 11 November 2014. If the defence of this claim is successful the funds

arrested will be released.”