News In Focus
Former Rangers owner given 15 year director ban
Craig Whyte, the former owner of Rangers Football Club, was disqualified for the maximum 15 years from acting as a company director by the Court of Session yesterday.
Judge Lord Tyre said there was an "overwhelming" case for disqualifying Mr Whyte, who he said had "deliberately placed his own interests before those of his company".
Moving the court to grant the order, David Thomson, appearing for Business Secretary Vince Cable, said that Mr Whyte's acquisition of the club "was entirely predicated upon an untruth and the untruth was that he would be funding the acquisition using his own personal wealth or that of his company.
In fact he had in effect caused Rangers to enter into an unlawful agreement to fund the purchase of its own shares, by selling the rights to three years' worth of season ticket sales to raise funds to pay off a £20m debt, a condition of the deal to buy the controlling stake from Sir David Murray in 2011.
It was also said that he had conducted the club's affairs without reference to other directors, preventing Rangers from being "subject to proper corporate governance", and caused the club to fail to comply with its tax obligations – the club owed HMRC about £21m, with a further £49m the subject of continuing litigation.
Rangers went into administration in early 2012 and was subsequently re-formed as a new company.
It was not made public until after Mr Whyte's takeover that he had previously been disqualified as a director for seven years in 2000.
UK Business Minister Jo Swinson said the ban was sought for the harm Mr Whyte caused to a "much loved" club and to "the many football fans who believed in his promises".
She added: "Such blatant lack of regard for proper corporate behaviour and control does not have a place in modern society."