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Rangers chairman Dave King says some shareholders have links to organised crime

November 30, 2018 2:40 PM
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Rangers chairman Dave King says some shareholders have links to organised crime

Rangers chairman Dave King has told a court he suspects some shareholders in the club have links to organised crime.

At the Court of Session of Edinburgh, King said he is now "100% committed" to making an offer for the remainder of the club's shareholding.

He was ordered to do so after being found to have worked with others when taking control of the club in 2015.

But King said he could not make an offer to four shareholders because of their claimed criminal links.

He said that a Rangers board meeting last Monday concluded that the four could not transfer their stakes, adding that one of them was "engaged in criminal activities in the USA".

King has been in dispute with the Takeover Panel, who applied to have the South African businessman held in contempt of court for refusing to comply.

The Ibrox chairman had argued he should be allowed to ring-fence funding for the offer in South Africa but told the court, in front of Lady Wolfe, that after exhausting all options, he will now agree to transfer funds to the UK.

The Takeover Panel want financial guarantees of around £19m to be held by a third party.

As part of his evidence King also listed key shareholders who, he says, have told him they will not take up the offer.

One of the investors mentioned was former chairman of the football board Sandy Easdale. Mr Easdale has since told the BBC he has given no such undertaking.

A spokesman for the Easdales said: "Despite Mr King's evidence today, at no time has Sandy Easdale given him an assurance that he would not sell his shares for 20p as stipulated by the Takeover Panel.

"Neither Mr Easdale nor his brother James have ever spoken to Mr King on this matter."

King's fight with the Takeover Panel has lasted longer than his battle to take control of the club.

The regulatory body were so irked by his apparent refusal to play by their rules that they decided to take it all the way through the courts. A successful contempt of court petition would have given them precedent and teeth for any future disputes but, as it stands, what they are on course to get is what they were looking for in the first place. If King complies, they will see it as a victory but one they've had to fight hard for.

It's difficult to determine what the Rangers chairman will make of it all. He claims never to have had an issue with making an offer but always maintained that ring fencing funds in South Africa should have been sufficient. Now he must convince a third party in the UK that he has up to £19m ready to go by the end of January.

Eyebrows were raised in court at his mention of organised crime and money laundering, but it has to be viewed in context. His allegations centred around those he sees as the faceless overseas investors he had to wrestle for control in 2015. The claims are likely to remain just that and any fears of the Ibrox club being at risk from major criminals seem far fetched.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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