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Centre stage at question time

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO HUGH ADAM'S CLAIMS ABOUT TWO CONTRACTS BEING ISSUED TO PLAYERS AS FAR BACK AS THE 1990S AND ALSO IN THE EBT SCHEME?

Sir David Murray told his side of the story
Sir David Murray told his side of the story

Sir David Murray: Hugh Adam didn't know. Hugh Adam wanted to buy Rangers at the time I had the club. He was important, and did a great job in running the pools. He became a bit anti-me. I think even in the press Laudrup and Albertz confirmed it. I've asked the auditors to go through it. I've looked through every year to check my facts. There was no double contract. There was categorically no dual contracts.

Mike McGill (Murray Group finance director): Mr Adam I think resigned as a director in September 2000. The club used an old offshore EBT scheme in 1999 with three players (two of which were believed to be Ronald de Boer and Tore Andre Flo). That scheme is the subject of the small tax case. The Revenue provided some information to us in early 2011 and we conceded [the £2.8m] based on that information and provided for payment in the club accounts. Craig Whyte didn't pay it (the bill has now risen to £4.1m due to penalties incurred through Whyte's non-payment). The other EBT scheme was started in 2001. The larger scheme involves a payment into an offshore trust, but there is no contractual entitlement on the part of the players. That is key to the defence, and key to the allegations made by the SFA.

SO TWO CONTRACTS WERE NEVER APPLIED TO EBTS?

McGill: The whole basis of an EBT arrangement is that there is not a contractual entitlement.

Murray: The government stopped EBTs two years ago (9 Dec 2010). There are 5000 companies and 50,000 people in EBTs, and football clubs became quite focal."

BUT WOULD YOU CONCEDE THEY LOOK LIKE DOUBLE CONTRACTS?

Murray: No. I think we've explained that.

DOES YOUR VIEW REMAIN THAT YOU CAN STILL GET A FAVOURABLE OUTCOME?

Murray: We're confident that we have a strong case, I think that's been well documented.

DO YOU REGRET THE USE OF EBTS?

Murray: I'm not going to comment on that just now. We've probably said more than we should have said on EBTs. The tribunal judges are about to make a decision and I do not want to be seen to be influencing either way. What I would say is this. We went through 10 agms. We signed off accounts by Grant Thornton, the remuneration trust was always mentioned in the account, it was never hidden. And that's a fact.

THERE HAS BEEN MUCH DEBATE ABOUT THE IMPACT ON SCOTTISH FOOTBALL SHOULD RANGERS IN ITS CURRENT FORM BE LOST TO THE GAME. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

Murray: I don't think Scottish football at this moment is seen as a great investment. If you're not a Rangers fan you want to kick Rangers, and I understand that. That's just the way Scottish life is concerned. I'll just give you some facts: what you'd lose if Rangers go. People say Rangers tried to avoid tax. We've not done anything [of the sort] in my opinion at all. If you take Rangers' turnover of £50m a year, and we're paying £18m wage bill with PAYE – which unfortunately Mr Whyte has not paid. But if you take any normal circumstance, in a normal, typical year with limited European football, Rangers would probably pay to HMRC £20m. And if you take 40,000 people watching Rangers every week. Let's say 10,000 go and watch St Mirren, Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Kilmarnock, there's 30,000 people who won't be in the industry.

On top of that, the Fraser of Allander Institute have given a report that says Rangers and Celtic bring £100m a year into the economy. If Rangers are not there, I don't think Celtic means £50m, because part of that comes through the Old Firm. Whether you like it or not, that's just a fact of life.

So I would hope, whatever the outcome of the tax case, there is quite a major financial consequence to the Exchequer here. And I think that should be taken into consideration. Also I think it makes the game less competitive. I don't think the TV deal would be honoured. I think it would affect other clubs. Then on top of that there's the hidden amount of money people spend going to games. So if you're not a Rangers fan it's understandable. But I don't think it would help whatever other club they support in the long term."

DO YOU FEEL THAT RECENT EVENTS AT THE CLUB HAVE TARNISHED YOUR LEGACY?

Murray: Of course it has. It's 22, 23 years, and I think the first 15 or 16 were fantastic. Then we went into a tight period financially when I put a lot of money into the club. I have genuinely put just short of £100m into Rangers in my tenure. Then you've got Dave King's and Joe Lewis's investments. We all enjoyed a lot of success together. Now all of a sudden it's all my fault. There was a rights issue where I put £50m in. I accept at the end of the day I was the captain of the ship, and I take my share of criticism.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO FOR THE CLUB RIGHT NOW?

Murray: If required, I would, of course. If I was able to help in some small way. We did have a lot of good times together at the club. It's a Scottish trait, isn't it? 'It wasnae me and blame everybody else'. But I employ 3500 people in Scotland. The best thing that has happened to me business-wise is not having Rangers, as I've managed to concentrate on my business again and it's going well.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN CRAIG WHYTE SOLD THE ARSENAL SHARES THAT THE CLUB HAD GIFTED TO THEM IN THE EARLY 1900S

Murray: I said to Mike [McGill], does he realise what he's done? That was a raw nerve, that one, to have done that premeditated. Any sympathy he may have had just went out the window then.

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