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SBD Global/November 13, 2013/Franchises

Police Investigating Links To Former Scottish Rangers Owner Craig Whyte

Police "are investigating" whether former Scottish League 1 Rangers Owner Craig Whyte "is still involved" with the club, according to Alasdair Lamont of the BBC. When the Scottish FA transferred the liquidated company's membership to a new company, "the key requirement" was the total lack of involvement of Whyte. Police Scotland "are also examining documents filed with Companies House." Those documents "lie at the heart of Whyte's claim" he and former CEO Charles Green "colluded over Green's purchase of Rangers' assets" (BBC, 11/11). In Glasgow, Chris Clements reported officers from Police Scotland’s elite Economic Crime Unit "have been in contact" with Green to "quiz him about Whyte’s possible continuing involvement with the club." If police find Whyte "still has connections to Rangers," the Scottish FA "could strip them of their membership -- effectively ending Rangers involvement in Scottish football." And any suggestion that the reviled Whyte "still has any influence over the club he brought to their knees will prompt fury from fans." The probe follows "an internal Rangers investigation carried out by law firm Pinsent Masons which cleared Green of any wrongdoing or involvement with Whyte." However, the firm has since "passed their files to police -- who are now conducting their own inquries into Whyte." Ex-Rangers Dir Paul Murray, who is leading a shareholder revolt, said the probe “raises massive concerns for everyone with Rangers at heart." Murray said of the Pinsent Mason report, “This should have been made public months ago and it is a matter of great concern that the board chose to keep these findings from the fans" (DAILY RECORD, 11/12).

NEXT MAN UP: The SCOTSMAN reported Scottish Premier League Dundee CEO Scot Gardiner "has been given permission to speak to Rangers with a view to becoming the club’s new chief executive." Gardiner is "currently the man in charge at Dens Park, but Dundee’s American owners have given the former Rangers employee permission to enter talks over the Ibrox job." Gardiner is reportedly set for meetings with Chair David Somers and the club’s two remaining directors, Brian Stockbridge and James Easdale (SCOTSMAN, 11/12). In Glasgow, Keith Jackson reported it is "conceivable Gardiner could accept the highly-paid position only then to be dismissed in four weeks’ time when the shareholders vote on the men they want to run the club’s affairs." Rebels Jim McColl and Murray "have already identified" former Liverpool Managing Dir Christian Purslow "as their choice for the role of CEO." It is "understood he has agreed to go to work at Ibrox if McColl and Murray triumph." But Gardiner "is a lifelong Rangers fan and may find it impossible to ignore the lure of such a key and lucrative boardroom position" (DAILY RECORD, 11/12).
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