I find the almost complete lack of journalistic “digging” into the Rangers tax case among the press pack in Scotland utterly fascinating.
This is a huge story yet only Darryl King in Scotland seems intent on unearthing the truth.
For example a rudimentary study of published figures throws up very relevant questions that have, so far, not been answered.
The following amounts were contributed by MIH to the Murray Group Management Limited Remuneration Trust.
This is the same trust into which Rangers FC funnelled player salaries and contractual bonuses.
It is the use of this trust that has landed RFC in the Tax Tribunal.
Here are the figures:
MIH Contributions to EBTs £ ,000s
2009 £ 3,211.00
2008 £ 2,849.00
2007 £ 6,874.00
2006 £ 9,663.00
2005 £ 3,892.00
2004 £ 2,951.00
2003 £ 2,721.00
2002 £ 1,233.00
Total: £ 33,394.00
The only explanation of these expenses (which appear under Staff Costs in the Notes to the Accounts in MIH’s Annual Reports) is:
The ‘Murray Group Management Limited Remuneration Trust’, was established as an independently administered trust, to provide incentives to certain employees. Contributions to the Trust are charged to the Group profit and loss account in the year incurred.
These figures inevitably lead to some fairly pressing questions.
Which “certain employees”?
I asked Martin Bain in May 2010 during an interview about the Rangers tax case if he himself had been paid through an EBT.
His answer was “that is a matter for me and the tax office.”
When I asked him if it was only players that had been paid though the EBT he stated that it was “employees of the trust”.
When pressed several times to state that it was ONLY players he re-stated his answer “employees of the trust”.
So who did financially benefit from this trust?
Was Sir David Murray one of them?
If so, why did Sir David Murray not declare a conflict of interest to Rangers’ shareholders?
The UK Directors’ Code states that directors should avoid conflicts of interest, and where they cannot be avoided, they should be declared. No conflict of interest in signing off on Rangers’ tax affairs was disclosed to Rangers’ shareholders.
Was Sir David Murray’s judgment in fulfilling his responsibilities as a company director clouded by potentially huge personal withdrawals through the same Employee Benefit Trust which has landed Rangers in so much trouble with HMRC?
Could Sir David’s actions ‘lift the corporate veil’ and expose him to personal liability following an administration filing by Rangers FC?
Based on the numbers above, Sir David could be looking at a very substantial tax bill related his own withdrawals from the EBT.
Is Sir David’s decision to transfer ownership of 95% of his MIH shares (and therefore his controlling interest in Rangers FC) to an offshore trust directed by Declan Kenny, an Irish born accountant, an attempt to avoid personal responsibility for any financial disaster that might befall Rangers after the tax tribunal returns its final answer?
Supporters of Rangers FC deserve answers to these pertinent questions.