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Rangers in crisis: Police asked to probe Craig Whyte takeover

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 25th Jun 2012 15:10:57

A criminal investigation is to be launched into Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers Football Club in May last year.

The Crown Office asked Strathclyde Police to probe the purchase and the club's subsequent financial management.

The investigation into alleged criminality follows a preliminary examination of information passed to police by administrators.

The club was bought by Mr Whyte in 2011 before going into administration in February this year.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The procurator fiscal for the west of Scotland will now work with Strathclyde Police to fully investigate the acquisition and financial management of Rangers Football Club and any related reports of alleged criminality during that process."

Mr Whyte bought Rangers from former owner Sir David Murray in May 2011 for £1, taking over his controlling 85% share holding.

The club then entered administration on 14 February over alleged non-payment of £9m in PAYE and VAT taxes.

It emerged that Mr Whyte was able to fund his takeover by selling future season tickets to Ticketus, leaving the investment firm a key player as administrators Duff and Phelps searched for new owners.

Duff And Phelps, nominated by Mr Whyte, have since negotiated a sale of the club's assets to a consortium led by Charles Green for £5.5m after creditors rejected an agreement which would have seen Rangers repay pennies in the pound for estimated debts of about £134m.

Rangers is now set to be wound up by HMRC's preferred liquidators BDO.

Meanwhile, a newco Rangers looks set to have its application to become an SPL club rejected as a number of member clubs have already indicated they will refuse to back the move.

During his time in control of the club it emerged Mr Whyte had been disqualified as a company director for a period of seven years prior to his involvement with Rangers.

Mr Whyte was also later hit with a lifetime ban from Scottish football by the Scottish Football Association and fined £200,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.

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