Rangers oldco in liquidation after administrator legal dispute

Rangers oldco has been liquidated after the administrator was involved in a legal dispute over the company.

Duff and Phelps has concluded its time over seeing the insolvent entity, formerly The Rangers Football Club plc.

Neutral insolvency firm BDO has now been appointed to wind up the company, which will see it investigate those responsible for the financial meltdown of the Ibrox club.

At the Court of Session on Wednesday, Lord Hodge granted two petitions being sought by Duff and Phelps to end its period of administration and to appoint BDO as interim liquidators of the oldco, RFC 2012 plc.

During the hearing in front of Lord Hodge on Wednesday, Duff and Phelps' lawyer revealed that the oldco it is seeking to hand over to a liquidator contains £1.7m in the bank and "other assets" including transfer fees owed for the sale of striker Nikicia Jelavic to Everton.

The former lawyers of previous Rangers owner Craig Whyte, Collyer Bristow, is opposing the petitions. The legal firm is embroiled in a £25m dispute with Duff and Phelps and Mr Whyte in English courts over the Ticketus deal used to fund his takeover.

Collyer Bristow had been seeking to delay the appointment of BDO so that Duff and Phelps could provide it with a report about allegations of a conflict of interest surrounding the insolvency practitioners involvement in the season ticket deal.

Lord Hodge rejected this, while he also confirmed he will set a court date to impose an order on BBC Scotland to release a transcript it has produced of secret recordings of conversations between Mr Whyte and Duff and Phelps partner David Grier.

Duff and Phelps also confirmed that it would remain liable for costs relating to the English court action, while Lord Hodge said he would allow the Insolvency Practitioners Association to continue its investigation into the conflict of interest allegations. The firm said it recognised "residual powers" the court had over Duff and Phelps regarding the allegations.

In August, the practitioners withdrew almost £2.5m from Rangers oldco accounts as remuneration, which Collyer Bristow claimed had been done against protocol, while Duff and Phelps said it "rectified" this later.

Among the hundreds owed money by oldco Rangers was HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which was owed an estimated £94.4m in total, including £18m of unpaid PAYE and National Insurance dating from Craig Whyte’s takeover in May 2011.

Duff and Phelps, formerly MCR, had been advisers to Mr Whyte during his takeover of the oldco, which he bought an 85% stake in from Sir David Murray for £1.

Mr Whyte used a £26m Ibrox season ticket deal with London firm Ticketus to effectively fund his takeover and clear the oldco’s £18m Lloyds Banking Group debt.

Paul Clark, joint administrator of Rangers, issued a statement on Wednesday evening welcoming the completion of Duff and Phelps' duties in the matter.

He said: “We are pleased that the Court of Session has approved the completion of our duties as administrators at Rangers, and the process of liquidation will begin.

“As administrators, our primary function was to keep the business going and effect a sale of the Club in order that it could continue, while maximizing the return for the creditors. These objectives were achieved. It will now fall to the liquidators to realise any further potential funds that may go to creditors. We have worked closely with the liquidators over the last few months to ensure an orderly transition.

“I would like to thank the staff at Rangers and many of the playing staff whose efforts during the administration process helped ensure the Club kept going despite extremely difficult circumstances. I also thank the fans for their patience during this difficult process. Finally I wish the very best for Rangers under their new owners and the fans who have been unstinting in their support for the Club.”

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