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SBD Global/April 28, 2014/Franchises

Scottish League 1 Side Rangers CEO Graham Wallace In Police Probe

Police Scotland "is investigating a complaint" from a Scottish League 1 side Rangers shareholder against CEO Graham Wallace, according to the BBC. Wallace "is being accused by some fans of making misleading statements about finances at December's annual meeting." A police spokesperson confirmed, "We have received a complaint, which is currently being assessed to establish if there is any criminality." Former Dir Dave King and the Union of Fans "have both urged Wallace in open letters to explain his comments to shareholders." On Friday, Wallace -- who took charge in November -- released the results of his long-awaited business review of Rangers, in which he admitted that £70.7M ($119M) raised through season-ticket sales, commercial revenues and a '12 share issue had been spent "relatively quickly and, in some areas, liberally." He said that Rangers, which have won the League 1 title this season, would need to raise a further £30M by '17, "including a new share issue, in order to compete at the top of Scottish football" (BBC, 4/27). In Glasgow, Norman Silvester wrote banker Phil Maher, an Ibrox shareholder, "complained about comments made by Wallace." He claimed that Wallace "insisted the club had enough funds in place to operate until May" -- but the board took out a £1.5M ($2.5M) emergency loan two months later. Rangers on Saturday said his complaint "has no grounds." Maher, who is managing director of the investments arm of a multinational bank, said, “I can confirm I have made a complaint that is being investigated by police." The investigation into Maher’s ­complaint "is being carried out by the Police Scotland economic crime unit based at the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh, Lanarkshire" (DAILY RECORD, 4/27). In London, Roger Blitz wrote "Rangers faces a fight for survival if season ticket sales suffer over the next two months, its board warned in a damning assessment of its financial position." Rangers’ cash position is such that "it is unable to accept credit or debit card payments for season tickets, and will only take cash, cheques or bank transfers." Rangers, "the one-time giant of Scottish football, secured promotion from Scottish League One this season as it seeks to put an inglorious saga of financial failure behind it, resulting in administration in 2012."  A review stated that it did so against a backdrop of a “precarious” financial position in which the club “mismanaged almost all of its cash reserves following administration” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/25).
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