Malicious prosecution scandal costs exceed £40m

Malicious prosecution scandal costs exceed £40m

Two cases against the Crown Office over the malicious prosecution scandal are ongoing, MSPs have heard.

Compensation and legal costs are now in excess of £40 million, a figure auditors described as “significant”.

A number of men involved in the administration and acquisition of Rangers became victims of the Crown Office’s botched fraud probe into the sale of the club.

Administrators David Whitehouse and Paul Clark were arrested in 2014 before charges against them were dropped; Charles Green and Imran Ahmed were also maliciously prosecuted.

Officials from Audit Scotland gave evidence to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee on yesterday. Audit Scotland’s analysis of the Scottish government’s account found that the Crown Office had overspent on its annual budget by £14.6m due to the malicious prosecution litigation.

Committee convener Richard Leonard asked auditors if there were “fundamental concerns” about the Crown Office’s financial state.

Auditor General Stephen Boyle said: “It’s a significant amount of public spending. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service accounts are consolidated into the Scottish government’s accounts.”

But he said he was reluctant to conduct further audits until a judge-led inquiry had taken place.

Senior audit manager Helen Russell told the MSPs: “There are six cases involved, two of which have been fully closed and completed.

“A third case has been settled. I’m sure you will have read in the press that a fourth case has in fact been thrown out by the courts.

“That leaves two cases which remain ongoing at this point.”

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