BDO secure £24m payout for Rangers creditors

BDO, the liquidators of former football club Glasgow Rangers FC, have banked £24 million for the defunct club’s creditors.

Following the disclosure of detailed explanations from Duff and Phelps, which acted as administrator for Rangers as part of an investigation into the strategy it implemented in the running of the club, BDO has settled a claim against the solicitors’ firm involved in the takeover of the club by businessman Craig Whyte (pictured).

A spokeswoman for BDO confirmed that London-based lawyers Collyer Bristow had paid the settlement sum in full.

The result means the total amount now potentially available to those owed money from the collapse of Rangers stands at £28.9m, less BDO’s fees, legal costs and other administrative charges racked up since October 2012.

Those are expected to run to £4.56m, leaving the creditors’ pot at £24.3m.

Duff and Phelps was called in to run the club on February 14, 2012 after its operating company became insolvent over non-payment of tax.

The settled claim surrounded former Rangers owner Mr Whyte and his lawyer Gary Withey, a former Collyer Bristow employee. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Whyte bought Rangers for £1 in May, 2011, and eight months later it fell into administration as a result of failing to make £9m worth of tax payments.

In an update on the liquidation of the old operating company RFC 2012 plc, formerly the Rangers Football Club plc, BDO described the settlement as “an excellent outcome for the creditors of the liquidation estate”.

It means that as it stands, unsecured creditors owed potentially up to £160m would get just more than one pound in six of what they were owed, when at one point it looked like they would get nothing.

However, the amount of debt could be cut in half if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) fails in its tax appeal – meaning an even bigger slice of the pot for creditors.

BDO confirmed that £72m of the £94.4m owed to HMRC relies on the taxman’s claim that Rangers is liable for a £46.2m bill plus charges over the use of loans to pay players and managers.

HMRC’s contest of a decision by a First-Tier Tax Tribunal that deemed the Ibrox club’s controversial use of Employment Benefit Trusts legal is expected to make a first appearance in court in January.

BDO confirmed that its remuneration so far stands at nearly £2m while there has been a further £1.5m in legal fees.

Nearly £1m has gone to one law firm, Stephenson Harwood over the Collyer Bristow case.

BDO justified the remuneration saying that in this year alone it had undertaken more than 1,200 hours of work.

Meanwhile, four men have appeared in court charged with fraudulent activity following a probe into the 2011 sale of Rangers.

David Grier, 53, Paul Clark, 50, and David Whitehouse, 49, worked for Duff and Phelps.

Gary Withey, 50, worked for law firm Collyer Bristow, which represented Craig Whyte before he bought Rangers from Sir David Murray for £1 in 2011.

All four made no plea or declaration at Glasgow Sheriff Court and were granted bail ahead of a future hearing.

Mr Grier, Mr Clark and Mr Whitehouse were also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

All four men were detained during dawn raids on Friday in England and later arrested.

They were all charged with a fraudulent scheme.

Mr Withey, from Woking, also faces a charge under the Companies Act 2003.

Mr Whitehouse, from Wilmslow, and Mr Clark, from Esher, each face two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Grier, from Wokingham, is also alleged to have attempted to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Whitehouse, Mr Clark and Mr Grier were employees of MCR Partners, prior to its acquisition by Duff and Phelps, in October 2011.

Duff and Phelps acted as Rangers administrators from 14 February 2012.

Mr Withey worked for Mr Whyte’s London law firm Collyer Bristow before he took on a post with Rangers.

The four men are expected to appear at court at a later date.

On Friday, a warrant was issued for former Rangers owner Craig Whyte following an investigation into the clubs sale to him from Sir David Murray in 2011.

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