DAVE King has announced he will delay taking the Ibrox throne so Hampden chiefs can fully vet his bid to become Rangers chairman.
The former director has already announced he is set to claim a “landslide” victory when shareholders vote out the current board tomorrow.
But before starting his reign, the Johannesburg-based businessman has confirmed he will let the Scottish Football Association and regulators from the Stock Exchange determine if he is the kind of fit and proper person they want in charge of Rangers.
Former Blue Knight Paul Murray will be installed as interim chairman while King sets about proving his worthiness.
King can expect to be quizzed on why he was forced to hand the South African Revenue Services a cheque for £44million in 2013 in a bid to stave off a tax investigation.
SARS claimed King owned £149million but he was spared jail after accepting liability for 41 lesser charges in relation to income tax laws.
In a statement released last night, King said: “An important issue that was repeatedly (and correctly) raised by the previous board is the need for the regulators to be given time to complete the necessary due diligence on myself – given my intended role as chairman of the company.
“However, engagement with the regulators can only commence at the specific request of the company and that process can only be initiated on conclusion of the general meeting.
“It is important that I lead by example following my commitment to transparency and accountability. I will therefore delay acceptance of my appointment as director until the regulators have completed due process.
“Paul Murray has agreed to act as interim chairman of the company until this process has been concluded. Additional board appointments will be announced in the near future.”
Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that trading in the club’s shares has been suspended.
The Stock Exchange halted the sale of Rangers International Football Club PLC stocks at 4pm after its Nomad (nominated adviser) WH Ireland quit.
The firm pulled out just 24 hours after King announced he was heading for a “landslide” victory which would clear out the last two remaining Gers board members.
But the development will not stop the club’s general meeting going ahead tomorrow. King has already chased off chairman David Somers and director James Easdale and now chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach will be next to go tomorrow.
King - who insists he already has a replacement Nomad lined up - claims WH Ireland broke a promise to stay on and see in an orderly transition of power.
“I confirmed my intention to delay taking up my directorship to WH Ireland on Monday,” his statement added. “Based on that decision WH Ireland agreed to remain in place to effect a proper handover to the incoming Nomad.
“I coordinated a call between both parties for this afternoon to effect the initial introduction.
“However, before this conversation could take place and contrary to our agreement WH Ireland resigned without prior notification to me.
“That lack of professionalism has characterised WH Ireland’s role as Nomad and reinforces why there was a complete lack of governance and transparency under its watch.
“Consequently, to WH Ireland’s and the board’s knowledge, it is blatantly dishonest to suggest that my imminent appointment to the board was of concern to them.
“Fortunately, the general meeting is not affected by the suspension.
“The new board will proceed to ensure that the listing is resumed as soon as possible.”
Castlemilk-born King now has a month to sign up a replacement Nomad or Rangers will be de-listed.
The resignation of WH Ireland comes as no surprise. The board said last month that it had been “informed” that the Nomad would quit if King took power at Ibrox after noting his convictions relating to South African income tax laws.
Confirming the suspension of shares on the AIM market – a sub-division of the London Stock Exchange – the club said: “The company has been informed that its nominated adviser does not believe that it can satisfy the London Stock Exchange in relation to its Nomad obligations in respect of the appropriateness of the company’s securities to be admitted to AIM, and therefore the Nomad has resigned as nominated adviser to Rangers with immediate effect.”
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