Scottish Government spent £1m in legal fees after Rangers collapse

The figures were published by the Scottish Government following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Scottish Government spent £1m in legal fees after Rangers collapse SNS Group

More than £1m was spent by the Scottish Government seeking legal advice following the collapse of Rangers.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the Scottish Government indicated that totals of £510,223.98 and £427,060.85 were spent relating to David Whitehouse and Paul Clark respectively.

The pair were appointed as joint administrators at Rangers in February 2012, but were arrested in 2014 regarding their involvement with the administration.

However, both men later saw the charges against them dropped, and last year settled their multi-million pound claims against Police Scotland over their wrongful arrest.

The figures published in response to the FOI request further indicated that £72,002.00 in legal fees was spent in relation to David Grier, a business consultant arrested during the probe into Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers.

Grier was later acquitted of all charges against him, with a high court judge stating that prosecutors had no legal basis to bring him to court.

Amongst the other fees disclosed via the FOI, it was revealed that £363,524.22 was spent on legal advice relating to Trump International Golf Course.

Former US President Donald Trump had fought in the courts against the development of wind turbines in the North Sea, arguing that they would spoil the view from his golf course in Menie, Aberdeenshire.

In 2019, judges ruled that Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd should pay the legal bills incurred.

Also revealed by the FOI is that the Scottish Government spent £70,357.10 in relation to legal advice over the prorogation of Parliament.

In August 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised that Parliament be prorogued, but the advice to the Queen was later ruled to have been unlawful.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said that a “fortune” of public money had been lost by the SNP.

“These astonishing figures lay bare the SNP Government’s colossal wasting of taxpayers money when trying to defend their positions in court,” he said.

“A fortune of public money has been lost as a result of the SNP continuing to plough on regardless and defending the indefensible in many high-profile cases.

“They knew that their case against Alex Salmond was doomed and the Crown also continued to maliciously pursue innocent men in relation to Rangers administration.”

He continued: “It shouldn’t have taken an FOI to highlight the millions blown on many cases that the SNP Government never stood a chance of winning.

“It highlights again their failures to be open and transparent with the public about how they are spending their money.

“Almost £6m worth of funding has now been lost that should have been available to support vital jobs and livelihoods across Scotland.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Ministers will only take legal action or defend legal challenges where it is deemed there is a reasonable prospect of success after a thorough assessment of the legal advice, whether it would be in the public interest and with important regard to the cost to the taxpayer.

“We ensure any external legal spend represents value for money and we continually monitor this through rigorous contract management. We have fixed rates for standing junior counsel and our framework for legal services specifies maximum hourly rates.”

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