Jean7brodie says: July 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm Could someone please …

Comment on It Takes Two to Tangle by upthehoops.

jean7brodie says:
July 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Could someone please post the text of Graham Spiers’ article as I can’t access it?

Here you are
There is a wearyingly familiar outrage doing the rounds at Rangers after the UTT ruling which upheld the club’s appeal against HMRC over its controversial use of EBTs. This was an important judgement because it ruled that, despite the distaste many have for EBTs and their perceived manipulation for tax-avoidance, Rangers nonetheless had stayed on the right side of the law. What the ruling shouldn’t do – and I know this only too well – is forbid anyone among us from decrying the use of EBTs, at Rangers or anywhere else, as a crude means of abusing the law and, in effect, avoiding paying tax. Not for nothing were EBTs, when used in this way, widely referred to as “a tax loophole”. Everybody and their granny came to know what was going on.

My own view on EBTs hasn’t changed. There have been different outcomes at various HMRC pursuits -such as at Aberdeen Asset Management and at the pre-2012 Rangers FC – but I viewed EBTs, when used as a vehicle for disguised remuneration, as a form of cheating. Evidently the British government felt likewise: they decided to put an end to the racket in 2010/11. At that point Rangers were force to write letters to various players saying they would no longer be able to compensate them in this manner.

The tragedy that engulfed Rangers, springing from Sir David Murray’s policies, to the wretched arrival of Craig Whyte, to HMRC’s rejection of the CVA in the summer of 2012, has now spawned an industry of blame and witchhunt-calling. Some Rangers supporters remain upset – rightly – but phlegmatic about it all. Others, though, seek blame everywhere – at HMRC, at the SFA, at the (former) SPL, the media, at the BBC – everywhere except at the former Rangers itself. The truth of the matter is that the now dissolved Rangers FC plc was done-in by the very people who were charged with safe-guarding the club. Murray, Whyte and many of the old club’s directors bore a very heavy responsibility.

In June 2012 it was also HMRC who, at the crucial CVA vote, drove the stake through the Ibrox heart. A combination of accrued, unpaid debts by Rangers to the tax authorities totalling £21 million – it excluded any projected EBT bills – meant that HMRC in effect dealt the fatal blow. This was no witch-hunt. HMRC had the mere temerity of wanting its taxes paid. On the contrary, this was dire recklessness by those charged with safe-guarding Rangers. This was self-destruction.

When I look back now to April, 2012, the words of Paul Murray, a former director of the club who tried to beat Charles Green to the rescue act, seem particularly honest. Murray and I crossed swords on a number of occasions over the Rangers saga but he always struck me as honest and conscientious in wanting to resolve a dire situation. Just weeks prior to the Rangers CVA being rejected, Paul Murray said: “In my view we have got to try to save the club. The CVA is the only thing that the Rangers supporters want. Speaking as a supporter, I do not want a situation where the club’s history – the timeline – is broken. We are trying to save this club.

“I am very clear: the club has had a number of misdemeanours over the years, and these have to be faced up to. The club has to be punished: I am 100% in agreement on that. We have done things wrong. But any penalties we face must be fair and they must be transparent.”

These days you very rarely hear such openness and clarity about the Rangers case from a Rangers principal. On the contrary, cyber lynch-mobs set after you if you dare to address the Rangers collapse as Murray did in these words. All this said, yes, there is absolutely redress that needs to be secured over the Rangers collapse. BDO, the liquidators, should ruthlessly investigate alleged fraud around the club over this period. So should the police who, to the best of my knowledge, still have an open book on the case. Pursuit of criminality in the destruction of the former Rangers should be relentless.

But at some point, the re-writing of history will have to stop. No vendettas did for Rangers FC in 2012. On the contrary, this was a spectacular and tragic self-immolation.

upthehoops Also Commented

It Takes Two to Tangle
Billy Boyce says:
July 10, 2014 at 11:20 pm
I saw Sarah Smith on the early evening news bulletin promoting this programme. She referred to the club from Ibrox as ‘the Gers’. Her use of this pet name, and the loaded nature of her question, i.e ‘did the taxman kill Rangers’, simply pushed me towards not watching. It is no surprise that Richard Wilson was on and although he writes well and is an intelligent man, he is a Rangers man through and through. and he is paid from the licence fee. If Angela Haggerty brought some balance to the debate then good on her, but it sounds to me like the show was just another attempt to exonerate the real villain in why Rangers were liquidated – David Murray.

There is a good chance the club from Ibrox will be in the top league in season 2015/2016. Who knows who will own them then. The media will be lined up behind them like never before, with a few notable exceptions, who even then will be under editorial pressure.

It Takes Two to Tangle
Aquinas says:
July 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Upthehoops check Phils blog, he’s tipping HMRC for the long haul.

I read it earlier. I also saw a statement (in the Scotsman) where HMRC are considering an appeal. What is the next appeal stage – the House of Lords?

Craig Whyte told many untruths during his time at Ibrox, but his statement that HMRC will appeal, appeal, and appeal again appears to ring true, and I guess that is the feedback he got from them.

I am no lawyer, let alone have knowledge of tax affairs other than to hand over a very significant sum every month. Therefore I will respect the decision given yesterday albeit remaining baffled that a tax free loan that will never be paid back is above board. The law is very much an ass at times, even if technically correct.

What irks me more than anything is, as another poster earlier pointed out, that David Murray is still very much in control of the agenda in how this is being reported. That is despite the established facts about him concealing side letters and offering to settle out of court. That the media are even giving column inches to the deranged, paranoid nonsense from the union of fans also tells us much.

And last but not least, the current incumbents at Ibrox work away steadily pursuing their goals under the cover of darkness this has provided to them. Nothing better than to look down to see the hordes departing the gates with their torches and pitchforks to chase a conspiracy that is as real as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And the moral of the story is; good things come to those who pay their taxes.

It Takes Two to Tangle
Aquinas says:
July 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Murray cant help himself, by his appearance above his parapet so soon, HMRC may just think, naw, lets take this popsicle stand up a level, lets go round again at the big court!

Given the time, effort, expense and the clear belief they have a case, I’d be amazed if this does not go to the next stage of appeal, assuming that is possible.

Recent Comments by upthehoops

Is it time for the Sin Bin?
HOMUNCULUSAPRIL 22, 2018 at 13:32

And the now classic “We Deserve Better”


I really don’t understand that thinking.  We all support our clubs and we all want them to do as best as they can but I’m not sure we actually ‘deserve’ anything. We may get angry at the players and directors from time to time (as Rangers fans are right now), but what constitutes ‘deserving’ something? 

Is it time for the Sin Bin?
FINNMCCOOLAPRIL 22, 2018 at 01:34


I think you are being unfair to Brendan Rodgers. He has repeatedly dealt with speculation linking him with a move away from Celtic by stating how happy he is at the club, and that it is his dream job. In my view Rodgers is here to try and get 10 in a row and then he will think about moving on. He has said more than once he will not be at Celtic forever.  However, it would be naive in the extreme to think there are not job offers which would tempt him away now.  Personally i don’t think Arsenal would be one of them.  I think the riches on offer at Man City or Chelsea would, who are both clubs who can enter the bidding for any player in the world, but I doubt Rodgers would be on their radar as first choice. It is also worth remembering Rodgers is a very wealthy man outside of football due to the London property portfolio business he runs with his ex-wife.  Sometimes a Manager and a club are a perfect marriage. Right now I think Rodgers and Celtic are exactly that, but he is a relatively young man and I’m sure he thinks he has unfinished business down south after coming closer to winning the league with Liverpool than any Manager since Kenny Dalglish did it in 1990. Talk of him leaving Celtic now is in my view desperation from a media who are sick at the thought of ten in a row.  Dermot Desmond dangled the carrot the other day and they went for it big style.  However, Desmond didn’t get where he is in life by being an idiot. He played them like a fiddle in my view. 

Is it time for the Sin Bin?
HOMUNCULUSAPRIL 21, 2018 at 12:44

Mr “Surrender No”, with pseudo masonic references during a TV interview.
It staggers me him getting the easy ride of which you speak. 


A former colleague I was friendly with was a senior Freemason. He assured me they were a very law abiding, charitable fraternity who knew right from wrong, and helped many in the community, both inside and outside the craft.  Can’t see too many of them approving of tax evasion then! 

Is it time for the Sin Bin?
With all the recent talk of Alastair Johnston I am struggling as to how he gets such an easy ride.  He was on the board when Rangers were cheating HMRC with an unlawful tax avoidance scheme. He was on the board when Rangers accepted they had a liability to HMRC but then told the SFA something to the contrary when applying for a European licence. Never at any time has Johnston shown the slightest hint of remorse at what Rangers did, never mind apologise. Now he is back on the board at Ibrox showing the same arrogant contempt as he always did. 

If the SFA and the media really want a clean game then people like Alastair Johnston, Dave King, David Murray and Paul Murray should be told they will never be welcome again. 

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Interesting tonight on Sportsound. Chick Young said he would like to know the person who offered £11m for Morelos, and the person at Rangers who knocked it back. Lee McCulloch categorically stated he did not believe such an offer was ever made, never mind refused. Then Chick muttered and mumbled that he thought along the same lines. Kenny McIntyre said he would have to change the subject. 

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