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The rewriting of Dave King’s tax shame to bed the Scottish FA

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It seems that former Rangers director Dave King is working his socks off in a bid to rewrite his own history as a prelude to trying to secure control of Ibrox club at an upcoming emergency general meeting.

King, claims that he will have no problem convincing the AIM and the Scottish FA that he is fit and proper to control Rangers.

With the former Director calling an EGM to oust the current Ibrox board and have shareholders vote in himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan as replacements.

The board released a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning hitting back at King and his potential coup d’etat, they said: “The AIM rules require that all individuals appointed to the board of an AIM company are suitable to be a director of a UK public company.”

But as this battle for Ibrox approaches, it seems that some elements in the media backed up by King’s PR guru are trying to whitewash over his convictions to make them seem far less damaging than they really are.

In articles focusing on the millionaire published on Tuesday night, it claimed that King was ‘forced to hand the South African Revenue Services a cheque for £44million last year in a bid to stave off a tax investigation’.

WRONG! King did not hand over ‘a cheque to stave off a tax investigation’ – the investigation had already taken place as had court cases in which King was deemed liable for £149 million in unpaid tax.

He made a deal with SARS or as King claims a ‘favourable settlement’ with SARS. This settlement was to pay a reduced liability, including a fine to avoid jail time. No wonder King would label it as a ‘favourable settlement’.

But why are some in the media ignoring the facts, the exact details, the full picture? Why are they merely giving you the tip of the iceberg?

King pled guilty to 41 counts of contravening section 75 of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962, in South Africa. He pled guilty so that he could pay a fine of around £200,000 rather than facing two years in jail.

As part of his ‘favourable settlement’ he also had to pay out £45 million in tax and file all missing tax returns stretching all the way back to 2002.

King commented: “There are no problems regarding the AIM regulations and the issue with the SFA is simple. Only once a director is appointed is an application made to the SFA by the club.

“Both myself and Paul will have to deal with our previous directorship at the time that Craig Whyte got involved. Additionally, I will have to deal with my reasons for staying on the board and trying to impose some level of governance during the Whyte era. I will also deal with my favourable settlement in South Africa.

“These are all issues that the SFA rightly has to address in the same way that the SFA has to review the history of anyone who gets involved with a Scottish football team.

“That was all considered by me prior to my application – as was the likelihood that the incumbent board will use the media to try and influence the debate by misrepresentation.

“The enthusiasm that this board adopts to ‘media management’ and its failure to act in the interest of shareholders and other stakeholders is exactly why they should be jettisoned in favour of directors who have the requisite business skills and respect for the tradition of Rangers to take the club forward.

“History will judge this board as one of the worst the club has ever had. There is not one individual who puts the club above personal interest.”

Misrepresentation and media management? Really?

This coming from the man who has used the media for nearly three years to undermine those who have controlled the club. The same man who has used the media and his pawns at the Union of Fans to undermine the current regime to peddle the claims that Rangers were set for administration. The same man who has used his pals in the media to peddle exclusive after exclusive to hit out at the Ibrox board and to make out that he is the knight in shining armour for Rangers.

In terms of King’s ‘not one individual who puts the club above personal interest’ – Was his demand for fans to boycott Season Tickets putting the club before other interests? This boycott, orchestrated by King and the Union of Fans patsies, starved the club they profess to love of much-needed finance – and as soon as the board called their bluff over their blackmail attempts, King disappeared.

In October 2013, STV Sport wrote that the Scottish FA does not administer a fit and proper person test but does follow guidelines against which potential office bearers are measured.

“King would potentially fall down on two counts. Firstly, the fit and proper person guidelines state consideration would be given as to whether an office bearer is fit and proper if ‘he has been convicted within the last 10 years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud’.”

On those guidelines alone, King would be blocked from taking up ownership on the board as he has been convicted within the last ten years of an offence(s) which he could be liable to serve a jail term of two years.

They added: “Secondly, King was still on the board of directors at Rangers when the old company which operated the club went into administration in February 2012. The company subsequently entered liquidation and sold its assets to a newco.

“The fit and proper guidelines state an office bearer may be blocked from being approved if ‘he has been a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the five-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event’.

“Failure to meet the aforementioned criteria does not automatically forbid a person from taking up a position at a Scottish football club. The onus also falls on the club in question to provide the governing body with any relevant information which could potentially exclude the office bearer from taking up his role.”

Sandy Easdale, who was jailed for 27 months in 1997 for VAT fraud involving computer parts, is on the club’s board but cannot sit on The Rangers International FC PLC board due to his conviction.

So unless AIM and the Scottish FA think that convictions – and King was convicted by the way – in South Africa are not worth the paper they are printed on, then going by their own guidelines King should be blocked from taking control of the club.

The Scottish FA blocked Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s attempts at strengthening his grip on the Ibrox side, after he intimated a desire to increase his shareholding, due to dual ownership guidelines. If Scotland’s governing body then ignore their own guidelines in favour of King controlling the Championship side, then they should just rip up their rule book, lock the doors at Hampden Park and kiss goodbye to what credibility they have remaining.

So rather than these journalists peddling press releases, King’s own version of events and whitewashing over criminal convictions – they should be delving deep into the heart of the story giving their readers the full facts rather than the facts that they attribute to him in their articles.

A South African judge speaking in a court of law, in relation to King, said: “The court are unanimous in finding that he [King] is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by documents and 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 (Sars) commissioner in a number of his income tax returns. In our assessment, he is a glib and shameless liar.”

So who would you rather believe – the journalists hand fed stories by Dave King or those who actually dig deep past the press releases, past the official comments to get to the bottom of the story – those who do nowadays are dubbed bloodsuckers, bampots and bloggers.

The job used to be done by investigative journalists. But now those in the mainstream are more churnalists than journalists.

Or is this article way off the radar?

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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