FORMER Rangers chief executive Charles Green and finance chief Imran Ahmad have received public apologies over being linked to club fraud and conspiracy.

Both men were told three years ago they would  face no further proceedings in connection with the case as prosecutors said there is "now no evidence of a crime".

The decision by the Crown Office had marked the end of the two-and-a-half-year long proceedings which saw only Craig Whyte face trial and led to no convictions.

Both men were told of an intention to apologise in private correspondence, previously.

Apologies previously had been sent to both men privately.

 Now Lord Advocate James Wolffe, Scotland's most senior law officer has made a public apology as damages cases are expected involving both men.  

 Charles Green, whose Sevco consortium, bought the assets of the club business in liquidation nine years ago for £5.5m  is due to receive compensation after Crown lawyers accepted he too was subjected to a malicious fraud prosecution.

A full hearing in his £20m damages claim over wrongful arrest to decide how much should be awarded is due.

Mr Ahmad is also pursuing an amount  believed to run to £30m, after he was wrongly prosecuted on fraud charges.

The Lord Advocate said:  "Between 2015 and 2016 Mr Imran Ahmad and Mr Charles Green were prosecuted in the High Court concerning matters associated with Rangers Football Club.

"They should not have been prosecuted and, as Lord Advocate and head of the system for the prosecution of crime in Scotland, I have apologised unreservedly that they were.

"I made a statement to the Scottish Parliament following the settlement of two related cases, and I said at that time that there had been profound departures from normal practice.

"Lessons have been learned from what happened and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has taken steps to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.

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"I have given a commitment that there will be a judge-led inquiry into these matters once all relevant legal cases have concluded.

"The actions by Mr Ahmad and Mr Green continue with a view to settlement of their financial claims."

Mr Whyte, who ended up being the last man standing in the long-running case, was cleared in the summer of 2017 of all charges in connection with his takeover of seven years ago.

But the Crown Office had consistently confirmed up till the end of 2017 that matters regarding Mr Green and Mr Ahmad remained under consideration and "enquiries are continuing" in the wake of Mr Whyte's acquittal.

That is despite the fact that the time limit on fresh charges under 65(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 expired in September, 2016 and legal experts had said it would be very difficult to bring new charges arising from the two buyouts because of the time bar.

The original 15 charges in the Rangers case had  covered fraud and conspiracy surrounding Mr Whyte's purchase of Rangers from Sir David Murray for a pound in 2011 and the buying of the club's liquidated assets for £5.5 million by the Sevco consortium four months after the business fell into administration in February, 2012.

In June, 2016, it emerged that there were to be no further proceedings against David Whitehouse, David Grier and Paul Clark, who worked for Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps and former club secretary Gary Withey, who worked for Whyte's London law firm, Collyer Bristow and advised Mr Whyte during his takeover.

It was confirmed in February, 2018, that allegations against Mr Green and Mr Ahmad had been dropped, although Crown counsel said they were considering the position in relation to Green and later it emerged it was to both.

Among the dropped charges was an allegation that Mr Green appropriated for his own use and purposes the sum of £5.5 million which he had obtained by fraud and that he purchased the "business and assets of the club through its corporate entity Sevco Scotland Limited with money provided by investors to Sevco 5088 Limited without their knowledge and agreement."

Also dropped were allegations of fraud and a conspiracy to commit serious organised crime over the Sevco purchase of the club's assets for a sum below its true market value depriving the creditors of rightful sums due to them.

Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark had faced a number of dropped allegations including conspiring with Mr Whyte, Mr Green and Mr Ahmad to defraud the club's creditors of funds and assets.

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It was also alleged in that dropped charge that the pair allowed Mr Whyte, Mr Green and Mr Ahmad to acquire the club at "significantly below the true market value".

The dropped charge claimed Mr Ahmad paid Mr Clark and Mr Whitehouse an exclusivity fee of £200,000 as the joint administrators of so-called oldco Rangers.