IT is known as The Offshore Game’s report on Rangers and has dominated social media among Scottish football supporters for weeks.

The dossier came out of a project set up by the Tax Justice Network, which claims to be an independent international body, launched in 2003, dedicated to research, analysis and advocacy in the area of international tax and the international aspects of financial regulation.

George Turner, the report’s main author, spoke to Neil Cameron about his findings, which question, among other things, the Scottish Football Association’s behaviour during the Ibrox club’s financial meltdown and the legality of what became known as the Small Tax Case.

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Here, in his own words, Turner speaks about why he believes not all the facts were put forward when it was determined whether Rangers had gained any sporting advantage during the years which preceded the club being placed into liquidation.

NC: Can you explain to someone who has never seen the report what this is all about?

The Herald:

GT: “The report focuses on the way the SFA handled the financial crisis at Rangers and the regulatory questions which arose from that. We look at two specific things: the Lord Nimmo Smith inquiry, which looked into rulebreaking by Rangers Football Club, and the grant of a licence to play in Europe in the 2011/12 season.

“In both those instances, we think the SFA are shown to be having behaved poorly. It is about the importance of good regulations.”

NC: What sort of action should be taken?

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“An inquiry has to be set up by the SFA about how it regulates the game, considering the instances raised in this report and by many other people. There also should be an independent inquiry about how appropriate the controls and procedures the SFA have are in light of what happened in the past.

“It’s very clear from the decisions that they (Lord Nimmo Smith inquiry) * were only looking at the tax avoidance scheme which became known as the Big Tax Case, which is still in the courts. They came to the conclusion that, because it was legal at the time, there was no competitive advantage to Rangers and, therefore, they could not be deducted points or suffer any sporting sanctions.

The Herald:

“However, we know that Rangers were operating another tax avoidance scheme, which is known popularly as the Discounted Option Scheme (Small Tax Case).

“Now, it may well be if they had known everything at the end of the process, that they might have come to the same conclusion, but you do need to have a process people can believe in because, at the end of the day, you are trying to come to a judgement about an issue many people have a different view on.

“It is really important that, at the end of the process, as many people as possible know the truth even if they disagree with it.”

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NC: Many people won’t know so much about the Discounted Option Scheme, which involved Tore Andre Flo and Ronald de Boer (HMRC assessed Rangers avoided £2.8million between 1999 and 2003. Rangers were presented with a bill of around £4m after interest and penalty charges).

GT: “They did not follow the required tax rules. In addition, in 2005, HMRC approached Rangers and said: ‘We think you are paying players through these means and, so, could you show us any other contacts you have with them, side-letters, etc.’

“I think there is no legitimacy to the DOS scheme.

“It may well be that if we re-ran the whole thing and they had all the information in front of them, then they may say that is such a small scheme in comparison that it was immaterial. But had they [all the information] they would have been able to make a statement saying it was immaterial.

“It would be quite a bold move to say it was a small scheme given Ronald de Boer was one of the players paid through that scheme.”

NC: What many non-supporters of Rangers say is that some, if not all, of the titles won during this period should be taken away from them.

GT: “We do not say in our report that Rangers should have their titles stripped. Let me be clear about that. However, there should be a fair process for no other reason than everyone can be confident that, if any other club is investigated in the future, they know the investigating authority is a fair one.”

NC: It does seem that the debate, if you can call it that, is largely about Rangers defending their club while others attack it.

GT “Rangers fans should be really angry about what happened to their club. It went through this hugely painful process because of gross financial mismanagement.

“I wouldn’t even say that people should be angry about what their club did. They should be angry about what people did to their club.”

The full report can be found on

*Please note that in the interests of clarification, the Lord Nimmo Smith Inquiry was set up by the Scottish Premier League