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Rangers refuse to help with payment investigation

Updated: Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 10:42 | Comments

Rangers are refusing to assist with an investigation into undeclared payments
Rangers are refusing to assist with an investigation into undeclared payments

The independent commission appointed by the Scottish Premier League to investigate payments to Rangers players is scheduled to start today with zero co-operation from the Ibrox club.

Two days of procedural hearings were planned as the three-man panel chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith step up their investigation into transactions from the Employee Benefit Trust scheme run by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray.

Rangers could be stripped of league titles if found guilty of making undeclared payments to players between 2000 and 2011.

But the new Rangers regime have refused to attend the hearings, arguing the SPL has no jurisdiction.

Chief executive Charles Green's company bought the business and assets of the soon-to-be-liquidated Rangers, now called RFC 2012, for £5.5million in June but were denied entry to the SPL.

Green told Sky Sports News: "Newco (the new Rangers) has never been a member of the SPL.

"If the SPL believe there have been issues, they should have taken action when Rangers were part of that league.

"We were thrown out of that league and to ask us to engage now is out of order.

"It's not a matter of co-operating - they have no jurisdiction over me. If they wanted to have jurisdiction they should have kept us in the league."

Green, whose team host SPL leaders Motherwell in the Scottish Communities League Cup later this month, added: "We're going to be entertaining an SPL club shortly in the cup.

"It's the first time we have met an SPL club since they all decided to throw us out. 

"That will be an interesting event, won't it?"

Green earlier set out a number of grievances over the SPL's "fundamentally misconceived" process in a lengthy statement.

He questioned the independence of the panel, without accusing the individual members of impartiality; promised legal action if titles were withdrawn; questioned why the SPL did not act earlier and why they are pressing ahead before the tax tribubal ruling on EBTs is announced.

Green also accused the SPL of "breathtaking hypocrisy", intimating that chief executive Neil Doncaster had previously been willing to come to a deal with his Sevco Scotland company as they tried to secure Rangers' SFA membership.

He stated that other Scottish clubs used EBTs without consequence and accused some SPL clubs of being "hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible".

He also expressed dissatisfaction over a response to the "issue of conflict of interest relating to advisers to the SPL", presumably a reference to the fact that the league used their regular lawyers, Harper MacLeod, to determine whether Rangers had a case to answer despite complaints from some that the firm had also done work for Celtic.

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