Former solicitor who masterminded Rangers EBT scheme facing bankruptcy

Paul Baxendale-Walker raised the prospect of the EBT scheme with former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Picture: SNS Group
Paul Baxendale-Walker raised the prospect of the EBT scheme with former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Picture: SNS Group

A former solicitor who advised Rangers on their use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) is facing bankruptcy, according to reports.

Paul Baxendale-Walker, 54, who studied law at Oxford before working as a London-based barrister specialising in taxation, raised the prospect of the scheme with former Rangers owner Sir David Murray.

His advice led to nearly £50 million being paid to Ibrox players, managers and directors between 2001 and 2010 in tax-free loans.

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The scheme later resulted in HMRC’s “Big Tax Case” against Rangers. The Court of Session found in favour of HMRC following an appeal in 2015, after two separate tribunals, in 2012 and 2014, initially supported the club’s argument that the payments were loans, and thus not taxable.

Baxendale-Walker was at the centre of another court case involving EBTs in 2017, when the Court of Appeal ruled that a defunct legal firm he had owned should have warned a client of the potential risks and the possibility of HMRC challenging the scheme.

According to the Herald, Baxendale-Walker denied that he was facing bankruptcy, despite a court official and official court listings confirming the true nature of the proceedings.

The former solicitor - who was struck off in 2007 after a disciplinary tribunal - was convicted of forgery in 2016 after impersonating an HMRC official in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to gather information from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that he hoped would help him overturn his ban on practicing. He was told to pay more than £225,000 in fines and legal costs.

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