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Green tale of Soros £10m for Rangers is dismissed

THE billionaire financier who teamed up with a former Rangers investor to break the Bank of England has distanced himself from claims that he is involved in a £10 million investment bid at Ibrox.

George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has distanced himself from claims that he is involved in a £10m investment bid at Ibrox Photograph: Getty

Former Rangers chief executive Charles Green claimed he was close to raising up to £10m to plough into the financially troubled Scottish Championship club with one of the interested parties cited as Soros Fund Management.

It was said the investors had already held talks with a senior Rangers official.

But sources close to George Soros, 83, one of the world's richest men with a fortune worth £23 billion, insist that there is no truth in reports of him becoming involved.

One briefing suggested he had instructed Green to make a move in the next seven days, which could see the former Rangers chief executive return as a director of Rangers International Football Club plc.

It is understood Rangers shareholders were to be offered 20p a share - nearly 10p below the current asking price on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), part of the London Stock Exchange.

If that move failed, Soros - through his Soros Fund Management vehicle - and Green were reported to be willing to offer the board a £10m loan at 5% interest.

But that had the controversial condition attached of taking the Murray Park training ground as security.

Green's involvement has already been met with resistance from the Union of Fans, the Rangers supporters' group, who say they would orchestrate a boycott of the club if he returned.

He became an unpopular figure among fans after leading a consortium to buy the assets of the club through a £5.5m loan in June 2012 as the operating company headed to liquidation.

He was forced to resign in April 2013 when allegations of business links with former owner Craig Whyte emerged, although he denied any wrongdoing.

A source close to Soros said: "I think the rumour about Soros investing in the Scottish football team is false."

In September 1992, Soros teamed up with Joe Lewis to make a killing by betting on the pound crashing out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Their pressure forced the pound out in what is still known as Black Wednesday, and cost the Treasury an estimated £3.4bn while generating huge profits for Soros, Lewis and others.

Soros was then a little-known financier but he became known as "the man who broke the Bank of England".

Lewis went on to become a Rangers shareholder and was listed in 2013 as the 308th richest person on Forbes' List of billionaires and ninth wealthiest person in the UK.

Announcing the investment bid, Green said: "I've got a number of people ready to invest in Rangers.

"I've told people this is a great club and a great opportunity. It's one of the world's biggest brands in terms of football.

"I don't want to go back to Rangers, I left unhappy last year and know it wouldn't be right to go back. However, to see where the club is now is a disaster. What I'm saying is if someone else can raise the money then great. If not, I'll do it.

"I wouldn't be involved at executive level or operationally but if I bring investors in, they'll want some kind of representation on the board. That could be me or someone else."

It was announced earlier this week that Rangers are looking to raise £4m through a new share issue.

In 1999 the Bahamas-based Lewis bought a 25% stake in Rangers for £40m through the ENIC Group investment vehicle, only for former owner David Murray to buy back his stake in the club for almost £9m eight years later.

Soros was born in Hungary but emigrated to Britain when he was 17 after the Second World War.

He is believed to have made a profit of $1bn during the Black Wednesday crisis.

He has a 1.9% shareholding in Manchester United and was said to have played a role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary between 1984 and 1989.

He provided one of Europe's largest higher education endowments to Central European University in Budapest.

He is the chairman of the Open Society Foundations, which is a grant-making organisation aimed at shaping public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform.

Forbes magazine lists Soros as the 27th richest person in the world and the seventh richest man in the Uited States.

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