SPL inquiry into Rangers' use of EBTs to continue in November

Ibrox Rangers stadium
Rangers: The club used EBTs to pay players.© SWNS

An inquiry into whether Rangers breached football rules through their use of a tax avoidance scheme to pay players will continue later this year.

Following procedural meetings this week, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) confirmed its independent commission would hear evidence in the case from Tuesday, November 13.

Solicitors from both oldco and newco Rangers had raised points about the process with the panel chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, which led to it scheduling the hearing dates for November on Wednesday.

In an announcement, the SPL confirmed both oldco and the Charles Green-led newco Rangers would have the opportunity to be represented throughout the process.

The panel is considering whether Rangers fielded ineligible players between 2000 and 2010 by paying part of their wages through offshore employee benefit trusts (EBTs) during Sir David Murray’s reign at Ibrox.

The SPL statement read: "Oldco and Rangers FC, who are named in the issues contained in the notice of commission and alleged to have been in breach of SPL rules, will continue to have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the commission and to make such submissions as they think fit.

"Newco, as the current owner and operator of Rangers FC, although not alleged by the SPL to have committed any breach of SPL Rules, will also have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the commission and to make such submissions as it thinks fit."

The initial hearing dates set aside last until Friday, November 16, although both November 20 and 21 have also been allocated should it require more time.

SPL lawyers have to lodge a list of witnesses for the hearing by October 19 and has any other relevant party who wishes to be represented at the hearing lodge their intimation to do so by November 1.

Earlier this week Rangers chief executive Mr Green the newco owners would not be cooperating with the SPL inquiry, and claimed it would have no legal effect on it. One possible outcome from the investigation would be the stripping of Rangers' titles during the time it used EBTs, although Mr Green claimed Sevco had bought the titles and could not therefore lose them.

This came as the First Tier Tax Tribunal confirmed it expected to return its verdict on Rangers’ use of EBTs next month.

It is part of a long-standing separate appeal by the Ibrox club against HM Revenue and Custom’s £49m tax bill it hit the club with after deeming their use of the tax avoidance scheme was against the rules.

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