FORMER owner and chairman of Glasgow Rangers FC Craig Whyte has been banned from holding company directorships for 15 years by the Insolvency Service.
He was handed the maximum tariff with effect from 21 October “for failing to avoid conflict of interest in the running of the club”. The sanction will run until 20 October 2029.
Whyte purchased the club for £1 from Sir David Murray less than a year before the club collapsed. It was placed into administration in February 2012 and was subsequently wound up by the Court of Session in Scotland in October 2012. He was also a director of Tixway UK, which was wound up by Court of Session in Scotland in July 2012.
During his tenure ar Rangers, Whyte struck a deal which saw the club enter into an agreement to effectively fund the purchase of its own shares. He also took that and other decisions without consultation with fellow members of the board, impeding “proper corporate governance”. Additionally, HMRC issued a winding-up order after the club failed to pay its tax liabilities, estimated to be about £14m and is still the subject of a separate dispute.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “The court has disqualified Craig Whyte for 15 years for the harm he caused to Rangers Football Club, and to the many football fans who believed in his promises.
“Mr Whyte bought a much-loved club, and promised fans that he would provide further cash to bring success. However, he caused the club to use this money to fund the purchase of its own shares, reducing funds for investment. He also failed to consult other directors on important decisions meaning that his behaviour went unchallenged.
“Such blatant lack of regard for proper corporate behaviour and control does not have a place in modern society.
“Directors have a clear, statutory duty to ensure that their companies are run properly, for the benefit of the creditors, shareholders and, in this case, fans who believed in him.”
Administrators from Duff & Phelps negotiated a sale of the club’s assets to a consortium led by Sheffield United chairman Charles Green for £5.5m. Green has since formed the new club, which plays in the Scottish Championship.
Liquidators from BDO were appointed to Rangers oldco and are currently investigating the books to determine whether further repayment can be made to creditors, and to pursue any outstanding debts owed.
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