THE wrongful prosecution of former Rangers finance chief Imran Ahmad in the failed club fraud case was malicious, lawyers acting for the Lord Advocate have admitted.

The new twist in the 'abuse of power' scandal has been revealed in court papers associated with Mr Ahmad's damages claim of more than £60m against the Lord Advocate over his arrest after being linked to club fraud and conspiracy.

Mr Ahmad, who is understood to have been a key player in the £5.5m takeover of Rangers by the Charles Green-fronted Sevco consortium says he has lost his career and suffered "irreparable reputational harm" over the failed fraud case.

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Judges in the High Court in London have previously ruled that police and prosecutors "abused state power" during the club fraud investigation.

Mr Ahmad was charged in 2014 along with six other men during an investigation into how Scots businessman Craig Whyte bought the club company from Sir David Murray for £1 in May, 2011.

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They were subjected to detention and criminal proceedings in relation to fraud allegations in the wake of Mr Whyte's disastrous purchase of Rangers and its subsequent sale before a judge dismissed all charges.

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The Lord Advocate had initially denied liability for a malicious prosecution and in August, 2020, sent a letter to Mr Ahmad's solicitor admitting he should not have been prosecuted in connection with the club takeover and advising an apology would be issued.

Mr Ahmad, the 53-year-old former director of the club's football board, received a renewed apology from the then James Wolffe QC in June, 2021 but only stated that he and former Rangers chief executive Mr Green "should not have been prosecuted" and had "no proper basis" while there was no malice admission.

Subsequent attempts to mediate in Mr Ahmad's action failed and a judge is currently considering the amount of damages that the former Rangers chief will get.

The Lord Advocate says that the the sum sued for is "excessive".

But lawyers acting for the Lord Advocate have gone further than the apology stating: "There has never been objective probable cause for the charges against him and in the circumstances malice in the sense required to give rise to liability at common law can be inferred.

The Lord Advocate admitted liability to make reparations to Mr Ahmad "for any loss, injury and damage sustained by him as a direct result of the prosecution that continued from September 2, 2015 to June 21, 2016.

Previous beneficiaries of admitted malicious prosecutions in the Rangers case were finance experts David Whitehouse and Paul Clark (below) of multi-national consultants Duff and Phelps who were appointed administrators of Rangers when it fell into insolvency in February, 2012.

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They settled out of court with the Crown Office in 2021 to the tune of around £26.6m including costs.

Sources close to Mr Ahmad said that his legal fees alone for the case amounted to £3m.

But the Lord Advocate only greed to an interim award to the tune of £220,000 as they aimed to question the extent of the claim made.

READ MORE: Rangers FC brand was not valued before being sold for nothing

The police investigation was launched against a backdrop of the controversial nature of Mr Whyte's nine months in charge at Ibrox.

He agreed to take on Rangers' financial obligations, which included an £18m bank debt, a potential £72m 'big tax case' bill, a £2.8m "small tax case" liability, £1.7m for stadium repairs, £5m for players and £5m in working capital.

But there was outrage when it emerged Mr Whyte’s takeover in May, 2011 was supported with the mortgaging of future season ticket sales before the  Sevco buyout of the club led by Mr Green in June, 2011.

Legal representatives of Mr Ahmad say first confirmation that enquiries were at an end was obtained from an article in the Herald on February 28, 2018. The article said that the Lord Advocate confirmed that Mr Ahmad would not face further proceedings as there was "now no evidence of a crime".

They state in legal documents: "There was no basis upon which the defenders or those acting on their behalf could have held reasonable suspicion that the Mr Ahmad had committed the charges libelled...

"An honest and reasonable analysis of the actions of Mr Ahmad in relation to Rangers would have made this clear."

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They say that in February, 2018, despite three years of investigation, no evidence was found of a crime being committed by Mr Ahmad."

The former Rangers executive who says he relocated to Dubai for business reasons in March 2015 was unable to return to the UK between August 2014 and September 1, 2016 as a result of the warrant for this arrest.

He says he was unable to live with or visit his ex-wife and four young children who were in Hertfordshire, England during the period.

He said he was also unable to operate and participate in business and gain employment.

It is alleged that there was a breach of Mr Ahmad's rights under Article 8 of the European Human Rights Act to a private and family life.

Police Scotland and the Lord Advocate deny his human rights were violated saying any claim was 'time barred'.

"As a result of the wrongful prosecution and breaches of his human rights, he has suffered damage, injury and loss. He had experience in investment, merchant banking and stock broking," according to Mr Ahmad's legal team.

"As a result of the wrongful prosecution against him he has suffered irreparable reputational damage in the worldwide business community. As a result he has lost the opportunity to participate in numerous remunerative business opportunities and to pursue his career. His career has been lost due to the malicious prosecution."

The Lord Advocate, who is arguing against the depth of the damages claim says that Mr Ahmad's reputation had been "adversely affected" through his involvement with Charles Green and Rangers.

Gerry Moynihan QC for the Lord Advocate has said that Mr Ahmad did not have Financial Conduct Authority approval to carry out regulated activities by a firm. He says this would restrict the range of work that Mr Ahmad would have been able to undertake.

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The Chief Constable of Police Scotland was also identified as culpable in Mr Ahmad's damages action.

READ MORE: 'No f***ing clue': Craig Whyte's 'end game' was for Rangers to go bust, says adviser in secret email

But the force say that they have "no responsibility" for the prosecution.

They say decisions taken in relation to whether to place an accused on petition or indictment and whether to continue with a prosecution thereafter are solely the responsibility of the Lord Advocate.

The decision to drop charges against Mr Green and others 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.

Lord Mulholland was the Lord Advocate when the Rangers fraud investigations were taking place but it was his replacement Mr Wolffe who had been handling the fallout from 2016 before he stood down last year to be replaced by Dorothy Bain KC.

In the public apology to Mr Ahmad and Mr Green which emerged in June, 2021, Mr Wolffe 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 from arising in the future.

"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 (below) continue with a view to settlement of their financial claims."

The Herald: Imran Ahmad and Charles Green

Details of the prosecutions scandal started emerging five years ago when it was revealed that London-based legal firm Holman Fenwick Willan, who were acting for Duff and Phelps, was awarded £500,000 costs after police and prosecutors were found by the High Court in London to have "abused state powers" by carrying out an illegal raid and seizing privileged documents in connection with the failed Rangers fraud case.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: "The previous Lord Advocate committed the Crown to support public scrutiny through a judge-led inquiry once all litigation is over and apologised for the cost to the public purse.

“There are long-standing and robust processes in place to minimise the possibility that wrongful prosecutions are brought.

“We have strengthened these through case management panels which provide additional scrutiny and direction from senior prosecutors."