This afternoon King issued a statement where he said: “I intend to remain involved with the club, at least on my present basis, post-reconstruction if that is at all possible under the new ownership structure. I am however alert to the raw sentiment around the need for Rangers to have ‘fit and proper’ persons at its helm.
“In view of my own well-publicised and acrimonious legal disputes with the authorities in South Africa I have taken it upon myself to approach the SFA in that regard in advance of considering an increased role in the club going forward. I will be guided by the SFA’s response in that regard.”
However Dave King will certainly fail any ‘fit and proper persons test’ given that he has battled the South African taxman for over ten years and last year was slapped with a bill of around £250 million.
On top of that he is currently subject to a restraining order banning him from dealing with ‘realisable property’ within the United Kingdom. The order prohibits King from buying anything of value in the UK or from backing any individual buying anything of note on his behalf. The restraining order was granted at the request of the South African Revenue Service, which froze his assets and prevented any substantial transactions, while King’s tax affairs were investigated as he faced 322 criminal charges including tax evasion, money laundering and racketeering.
In 2002, following a two-year investigation, SARS hit King with a bill for £200 million in back taxes, insisting that King was in fact the richest man in South Africa. After delaying tactics by King and his lawyers, the debt grew with interest and fines added on.
In 2006, South African prosecutors won a court order in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, which froze King’s assets including three million shares in Murray Sports, which owned a third of Rangers FC.
As we reported last year, King appealed the tax debt but that was thrown out of court in October 2010, at the time SAR’s senior counsel argued: “King’s evidence was duly rejected in scathing terms by His Lordship, Mr Justice Southwood and two assessors. The judgement confirmed the assessments in all material respects. This included additional tax in the maximum percentage of 200% as a result of the fraudulent conduct of King.
“This conduct was not only in devising a scheme to thwart tax collection, but also as a result of him conducting the subsequent litigation since 2002 on a fraudulent basis for many years until eventually the trustees took control of the litigation in 2007. The Tax Court also held that the trustees did not act in a reasonable manner in allowing King so to do. In the judgement the following finding was made.”
Judge Southwood, who heard the case, said of King: “We saw King testify in chief and in cross-examination for four days and are unanimous in finding that he is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by documents or other objective evidence. It was remarkable that King showed no sign of embarrassment or any emotion when he conceded that he had lied to the Commissioner in a number of his income tax returns. In our assessment he is a glib and shameless liar.
“King is a tall, slim man in his fifties. He appeared to be very confident and not in the slightest uncomfortable about giving evidence and being cross-examined. He is intelligent and articulate and appears to be well versed in the intricacies of the financial world and the purchasing and selling of shares on the JSE. Notwithstanding these advantages, he made a very poor impression as a witness. He is extremely arrogant and obviously thinks that whatever he says is so. It was demonstrated that he deliberately misrepresented the facts of the case to his legal representatives, to Sars in correspondence and at the section 74C inquiry and to the representatives and solicitors of the Bermuda Trust.
“As his evidence progressed it became clear that he has no respect for the truth and does not hesitate to lie or at least misrepresent the facts if he thinks it will be to his advantage. There can be little doubt that on most occasions King lied as he knew the correct facts and obviously decided to misrepresent these facts….”
Given Craig Whyte’s track record has now hit the mainstream media, despite it being known well before he took over the Ibrox club, and Rangers close to liquidation – one man who certainly should not be anywhere near Rangers Football Club or a Rangers NEWco is Dave King.
Dave King – A Fit and Proper person? A ‘glib and shameless liar’ according to a South African judge.