I think in the fallout from the SPFL statement today it is worth coming back to the words of the author of the EBT scheme at Rangers (1873-2012).
In the First Tier Tribunal the anonymous “Mr Black” stated:
- Next, Mr Black gave evidence. He read and confirmed the terms of his Witness Statement. His role within the Group is in providing strategic guidance to the individual companies. These companies carry out wide-ranging commercial activities. It also owns Rangers Football Club. The Remuneration Trust was set up in about 2001, Mr Black explained, following on specialist advice. While he himself was familiar with its broad function, its day-to-day operations were supervised by Mr Red. Originally it was used to benefit only MGM’s employees, but later was extended to employees of other companies in the Group and their relations. It was valuable in incentivising employees in providing larger sums for their and their families’ benefit in view of the tax savings. Mr Black did not consider the Trust as a means of tax avoidance, but rather as a means of retaining and rewarding loyal employees. So far as Rangers was concerned it enabled the Club to attract players who would not otherwise have been obtainable.
The last sentence is the smoking gun apropos sporting advantage.
Let’s look at it one more time:
So far as Rangers was concerned it enabled the Club to attract players who would not otherwise have been obtainable.
This admission was not lost on Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News in November 2015 when the Court of Session ruled in favour of HMRC.
Mr Black is, of course, Sir David Murray.
In the Craig Whyte trial, he inserted the word “perhaps” into his explanation of the utility function of the EBT scheme apropos Rangers and their playing staff.
Rangers gained a financial advantage over other clubs by scamming the tax man for a decade.
The full details of these payments were hidden from the football authorities rendering the players ineligible to play in matches.
Yet today the SPFL said it is no biggie.