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Craig Whyte – In Court on Monday – For Company His Wife Formed

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What is Noteworthy About Tixway UK Ltd?

It was incorporated on 16th January 2007, and has its Registered Office at 3rd Floor, 65 Bath Street, Glasgow. This is also an address of Liberty Capital, which owns Rangers FC Group Ltd, and is owned ultimately by Mr Whyte, we are led to believe.

Tixway UK Ltd has a trading address. It is a castle in Morayshire. That is apparently tied in to the court action as the building materials, the supply of which is at the root of this action, are rumoured to have been for work on the castle, it being Mr Whyte’s home.

In each of the last two years the company has failed to lodge its Annual Returns to Companies House on time, leading to notices in the Edinburgh Gazette preparatory to the company being struck off.

Who is to blame for this “technical” error? So who are, and were, the Directors of this company?

When the company formed, in 2007, the Directors were “The Company Warehouse”, a company involved in forming companies for clients and the other was Kim Whyte. Unless I am very much mistaken (as Murray Walker might have said), Kim Whyte is Craig’s now estranged wife.

We know, after Rangers’ statement to the PLUS Stock Exchange last week that Mr Whyte was disqualified from being a company director in the UK on 13 June 2000 for a period of 7 years. Therefore he could neither be a company director, nor run a limited company whilst not being a director, until 13 June 2007. By that date Tixway UK Ltd had been up and running for almost five months. As we will see from the figures below, at the first year end in January 2008, the company had made a flying start.

On 3rd March 2008 Liberty Corporate Ltd took over as Company Secretary, and remains in that post today. On 5th May 2008 Kim Whyte resigned as a director and was replaced by Craig Whyte.

I am sure it is simply a coincidence that his wife seems, from the records I have seen, only ever to have been a director of one company, namely this one, and only for the period covering her husband’s disqualification as a director. Clearly the business acumen she exhibited in her short time in charge should have deserved a longer stint in the front line?

Of course it would be wrong to suggest that Mr Whyte, in the run up to the expiry of his disqualification, acted in any way which breached the terms of that ban. As we saw after the BBC programme about Mr Whyte, he vehemently denied acting as a shadow director when the Insolvency Service alleged that he had.

Back to Monday’s Court Case

Andy Muirhead reported here earlier this year on many points picked up in the BBC documentary about Mr Whyte. He also brought to light this case. I quote from his piece:-

“Whyte is being sued over a £90,000 debt. A writ was served by Glasgow-based McRoberts Solicitors on Whyte’s Tixway firm, at the same time as he was in talks about his Rangers takeover.

His company is being sued by One Stop Roofing, run by Albion Rovers manager Paul Martin.

Martin and fellow company director Robert Jenkins claim that Whyte’s firm ordered £90,000 worth of building materials in June 2009, and has failed to maintain a repayment plan which was thrashed out at the start of this year. To date only two payments have been made…

However like his previous debts, Whyte has denied his company owed the money. A spokesman [Mr Whyte] said, “His firm have done business with One Stop Roofing but all bills have been paid in full. Any legal action will be defended robustly.”

At first sight this seems a simple case. It is alleged that goods to the value of £90,000 or more were supplied to Tixway UK Ltd. That company has not paid that amount of the bill.

The spokesman quoted above makes it clear that “all bills have been paid in full”.

This seems odd. Normally the defence in a case like this would be:- (a) that the goods supplied were defective or otherwise not as described; (b) that they were never delivered; (c) that the bills rendered were excessive and not as contracted; or (d) that the goods were not ordered at all.

Mr Whyte’s spokesman says that all the bills have been paid in full. The Pursuers disagree.

The Commercial Court procedure involves the case being allocated at its first stages to one Sheriff whose job it is to guide it to the end, as efficiently and effectively as possible. Sheriff Ross is an excellent judge and if he has been dealing with the matter all the way through, then he will have ensured that the position of each party is stark.

Usually in these cases is that the Sheriff will require each party not just to produce a list of witnesses, but a witness summary, indicating what the evidence of each witness is likely to cover.

Mr Whyte, as the only “live” director of Tixway UK Ltd, would be expected to be a witness for his company. If he is, and the case goes ahead, it will be interesting to see him in a witness box on oath. He might be asked some of the awkward questions the press have failed to raise with him!

He may after all be in the right – that is what the case is for.

What Do We Know About Tixway UK Ltd’s Finances?

The accounts to year end 31st January 2010 were submitted by Mr Whyte on 1st March 2011! One might think it was a dormant company.

I was rather surprised to see the last accounts for the company, as these show a healthy financial picture. The company is exempt from having to lodge a Profit and Loss account, and instead has only to lodge an abbreviated Balance Sheet.

This discloses the following, with the 2008 and 2009 figures for comparison.

On the face of it, a healthy company, with a lot of money in the bank in January 2010. One wonders what the problem is. Will this join the long line of cases where Mr Whyte settles at the door of the court?

The hearing on Monday at Glasgow Sheriff Court is in a public court. Maybe Monday’s case will give us a chance to see Mr Whyte being asked hard questions which he has no option but to answer.

To be frank, based upon his track record so far, and as befits a man of his financial standing, I would imagine he has much better things to do than to sit in a witness room in Carlton Place on Monday. Surely some settlement will be achieved to avoid him having to do so?

We shall see.

Written by Paul McConville | Scots Law Thoughts

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