FORMER Rangers owner Craig Whyte is in line for a £5 million payout from the liquidated funds of the company which owned the club while the tax authorities, owed more than £90m, are not expected to receive a penny.

It comes as it emerged a claim over the whole of the £15 million pot to be distributed to creditors of the liquidated Rangers oldco is being resurrected.

News of the legal bid came after Whyte was cleared of fraud and financial assistance in the 2011 takeover of the club - the only apparent obstacles in the way of a successful bid.

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If the claim is successful it would mean that the taxman, having won the Big Tax Case after a seven year battle to get millions owed from the use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs),could end up getting nothing from the liquidation.

The collapse of the The Rangers Football Club plc, dubbed 'oldco' in 2012 under Whyte's watch left thousands of unsecure creditors out of pocket including more than 6000 loyal fans who bought £7.7million worth of debenture seats at Ibrox.

Creditors ranged from giants such as Coca-Cola to a picture framer in Bearsden and a lady called Susan Thomson who runs a face-painting business and was owed £40.

Court documents seen by the Sunday Herald reveal that BDO's rejection of an initial claim now being put forward by Wavetower, the firm used by Whyte to takeover Rangers, was based on the businessman being guilty of fraud and financial assistance.


Those behind the claim believe that with the court case out of the way, BDO and the courts cannot now resist their view that it holds a legitimate claim over the £15 million as the only secured creditor and first in line ahead of the taxman and other ordinary unsecured debtors.

That is because the firm Whyte used to buy the club inherited a security over assets including Ibrox and Murray Park from Lloyds Banking Group after paying off Rangers’ £18 million debt using future season ticket sales. The clearing of the debt was a condition of Whyte's purchase of the club from Sir David Murray in May 2011.


The security was originally set up in 1999 in favour of the Bank of Scotland, part of the Lloyd Banking Group,  in response to Rangers' ballooning debt figure, and involved securing a charge over its income and assets.

Mr Whyte is no longer a director of Wavetower, and the claim is now controlled by directors associated with Worthington plc, an investment firm, also once connected to the former Rangers owner.

Worthington directors have previously confirmed that it was obliged to pay Mr Whyte £1 million in unsecured convertible loan notes as a result of gaining rights to legal actions and one third of the proceeds of any claims.

The deal between Worthington and Law Financial, a firm set up by Whyte also included obtaining the book, film and television rights to the two takeovers of The Rangers Football Club in 2011 and 2012.


One source close to the claim said: "The recent not guilty verdicts [in relation to the Whyte case] would appear to leave the road open for a successful claim."

Court documents show that BDO had fought the idea that they were secured creditors because "the assignation agreement was part of a fraudulent scheme".

But a judgement by Lord Doherty made last year decided to put off any decision on the rights and wrongs of the claim until after Whyte's fraud trial.

He said: "I am satisfied that (i) whether there was a fraudulent scheme involving [Wavetower], and (ii) whether [Wavetower] was the recipient of unlawful financial assistance.. are both issues which arise in the proceedings. In those circumstances hearing the appeal before the criminal proceedings have been concluded would trespass upon matters at issue before the High Court of Justiciary, with the risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in those proceedings."


Last month a jury cleared Whyte of fraud and financial assistance over his takeover in less that two hours.

The case revolved around Whyte's deal to sell off rights to three years of future season tickets to investment firm Ticketus in a bid to raise £24 million to fulfil his agreement with Murray over the purchase, secured by personal guarantees.  

Murray said he would never have sold if he knew about the tickets deal.

But Donald Findlay QC defending said Whyte was the “fall guy” for the state of the club and as the share purchase agreement with Murray referred to using “third party funding” there was no deception and so no fraud.

Just ten days ago Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs won a long-running legal battle over the use of EBTs to pay players and staff at Rangers Football Club.

The tax authority opened its investigation into Rangers in 2010 after about £50 million worth of payments were made to dozens of employees through employee benefit trusts (EBTs) from 2001, and the case continued after liquidation.

After suffering two tax tribunal defeats to the Murray Group, the former majority shareholder of Rangers which administered the EBT scheme, HMRC won a binding Supreme Court judgement. Lord Hodge and his fellow judges agreed with HMRC’s assertion the payments were taxable earnings and not loans, as contended by the club.


It lay the way clear for the taxman to lay claim to a small portion of what was owed from the liquidated oldco now named RFC 2012 plc, Liquidators have previously confirmed that £72m of the £94.4m owed to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC) relied on the taxman's claim that Rangers oldco was liable for its use of EBTs.