A KEY business partner of Craig Whyte accepted it would have been “misleading” not to have revealed the role of a tickets firm in the club takeover.

But former Ranger director Philip Betts, quizzed about the lead up to the May 2011 buyout, indicated that it was Ticketus - said to have helped fund the buyout - that wanted secrecy.

And he claimed the London-based investment firm feared that disclosure would prompt club owner Sir David Murray to set up his own deal and they did not want to do business with him.

Loading article content

A jury heard how the involvement of Ticketus was removed and prosecutors went on to claim the information had been “actively concealed”.

The jury heard from Mr Betts that documents showing money provided by the London-based investment firm were instead replaced with the word Wavetower, the name of the company set up by Whyte to buy the club.

The evidence was today/yesterday made at Whyte’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 46 year-old denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his takeover.

HeraldScotland:

Mr Betts – an asset finance broker – previously told how he got involved in Whyte’s bid for Rangers after first meeting him in 2009.

Prosecutors state Whyte took out a loan from the firm against three years season tickets to help fund the takeover by clearing the club’s debt to the bank.

The court heard how cash flow projections had to be prepared before the purchase of Sir David Murray’s majority stake at Ibrox.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked had there been a “desire” to keep “the involvement of Ticketus confidential”.

Mr Betts, who became a director of Rangers after the sale of majority shareholding to Whyte from the Murray Group in 2011, said the company had not wanted the Murray group to know and that this involved Whyte signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Any mention of Ticketus was then taken out of the financial projections.

Asked if he had “any view on what might happen if Murray knew about it”, Mr Betts answered: “Ticketus said they would be concerned Murray would approach them for the funds to pay Lloyds, and they would say no to that.”

Mr Prentice suggested this could be “highly misleading” to the the Murray team.

Mr Betts replied: “It would be misleading, yes.”

The advocate depute went on to state the information had been “actively concealed” from the Murray side.

Mr Betts was pressed on the existence of a loan agreement between Rangers and Wavetower for £16m, which his signature appeared on, but he said he had no recollection of signing it.

After the prosecution reminded him that he had “immunity” and would “not be prosecuted as a result of any” of his answers, he was asked if he could remember the proposition of such an agreement.

He stated: “I don’t recall right at this minute. But I’m a little bit stressed at the moment. If I sat in the waiting room for 10 minutes I might recall.”

The court was also told that there were “a number of hitches” in getting the Whyte buy-out “over the line”.

The jury earlier heard how Whyte’s buy-out was eventually clinched with a £1 coin being flicked across a table in Sir David’s office in Edinburgh.

The trial, before Judge Lady Stacey, continues.