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SBD Global/July 11, 2014/Franchises

Former Scottish Rangers Owner David Murray Blames Taxman For Club's Liquidation

Former Scottish League 1 Rangers Owner David Murray on Wednesday "blamed the taxman for Rangers' liquidation," according to Jackson, McGivern & Clements of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Murray "hit out" after a judge "kicked out" U.K. tax authority HMRC's appeal in its "long-running legal case" against the Rangers. Murray said that "the shadow of the case put off potential buyers and left the club to be picked up" by former club Owner Craig Whyte -- "who sent them into financial meltdown." Judge Lord Doherty ruled Murray’s use of "controversial Employee Benefit Trusts to pay players and staff was legal because they were, as the club claimed, loans rather than taxable benefits." In a statement, Murray "insisted HMRC's attempts to hit Rangers with a bill" of £46M over the trusts "scared off a string of potential buyers." Murray: "There can be little doubt that despite favourable legal opinion, potential acquirers were therefore dissuaded from pursuing their interest during a period in which we were marketing the sale of MIH’s shareholding." The tax case relating to the EBTs was "originally heard before a First Tier Tribunal" which, in November, "found against HMRC by a 2:1 majority." The taxman "appealed the finding, but Lord Doherty, judge of an Upper Tier Tribunal, has now rejected that." A source "close to Murray" said, "It's not something worth celebrating. The truth is Rangers have suffered terribly because of all of this" (DAILY RECORD, 7/10).
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