Craig Whyte in line for £5m payout after Rangers liquidation

19 July 2017

Craig Whyte, the former Rangers owner, is in line for a £5 million payout from liquidated funds of the company which owned the club.

Tax authorities, who are owed more than £90 million, are not expected to receive any payment.

What happened to the Rangers?

In 2012, the company which owned the team, The Rangers Football Club plc (dubbed 'oldco') collapsed. Just one year after Whyte became owner of the team.

Following financial difficulties in the early 2000s, the Scottish team filed for administration in February 2012.

Duff and Phelps were appointed as administrators after a court battle with HMRC. They later announced that HMRC lodged their petition for administration over the non-payment of approximately £9 million PAYE and VAT since Craig Whyte's 2011 takeover.

In May, Duff and Phelps published a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal to creditors. HMRC rejected the offer, and forced the company into liquidation.

These actions left thousands of unsecured creditors out of pocket. Including:
• International brands, such as Coca Cola.
• Small businesses including a local picture framer and face painter.
• Over 6000 fans who bought £7.7million worth of debenture seats.

Why is Whyte being paid now?

Wavetower, the firm used by Whyte for his takeover, now have a legitimate claim on the £15 million pot earmarked for the creditors.

Previously, the liquidators, BDO, rejected this claim on the basis that Whyte was guilty of fraud and providing unlawful financial assistance to the club. Last month, he was cleared of all charges.

Wavetower inherited security over assets, including Ibrox and Murray Park, after clearing Rangers' £18 million debt using future season ticket sales. They therefore have a claim as the only secured creditor, and will be paid ahead of the taxman and other unsecured debtors.

While Whyte is no longer a director of Wavetower, the claim is controlled with directors associated with Worthington plc. They have previously confirmed that the company was obliged to pay Whyte £1 million in unsecured convertible loans as a result of gaining rights to legal actions and one third of the proceeds of any claims. This amounts to £5 million.

What does this mean for other creditors?

Earlier this month, HMRC won a legal battle nicknamed the Big Tax Case. This seven-year stand off was based on Rangers illegally using the Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to pay players and staff at the club.
Payments worth about £50 million, which were claimed to be loans, were made through these trusts from 2001. It's estimated that £72 million is owed to HMRC for the use of EBTs. Combine this with the money owed in VAT and PAYE and other fees and it reaches close to £90 million.

However, HMRC and other creditors are unlikely to receive any payments. As Wavetower is first in line and owed approximately £18 million, the £15 million obtained through liquidation will go to them. This will not write off their debt, and there will be no remaining funds to pay off other creditors.