New claims in Ibrox tax case raise further questions
22:57 GMT, 30 March 2012
Allegations: Martin Bain
The Rangers 'double-contracts' saga
took another twist on Friday night when details emerged purporting to
back the view that payments made into offshore accounts were simply
Channel 4 News alleged that former
Ibrox chief executive Martin Bain asked for a contractual pay rise to be
paid to him through the Employee Benefit Trust scheme, rather than
through the standard PAYE system.
The programme claimed to have seen
documents from the club and quoted a letter Bain wrote to former Ibrox
chairman John McClelland in 2003.
In it, the broadcaster alleged, Bain admitted the practice of paying players and employees through the scheme was widespread.
In a further development, Channel 4
News received confirmation from Murray International Holdings finance
chief Mike McGill that not a penny of any 'loans' made to employees
through the EBT scheme had ever been repaid.
Asked when or if any of the loans would ever be repaid, McGill said: 'We do not consider it appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.'
The most damning allegation centred around Bain, however, and appeared to back the view of former director Hugh Adam that payments into offshore trusts was simply a way of avoiding paying tax on wages.
The Channel 4 News report claimed it had been suggested to Bain that any pay rise he got would be paid through an EBT.
He allegedly wrote to McClelland on December 18, 2003, saying: 'Any pay rise I get should be paid through the trust obviously as a discretionary bonus, as it cannot be contractual.
'My increase was to be non-contractual put through as a discretionary bonus as I do with players, coaches and, more recently, John Greig.'
The programme further alleged that Bain was offered 100,000 in a bonus from the trust in 2005, then later that year requested a further loan of 100,000 'as soon as possible for purposes of investment'.
New allegations: Turmoil at Ibrox Stadium
The allegations concurred with Adam's belief, reported in Sportsmail last month, that monies paid into offshore trusts were part and parcel of players' packages and, as such, should have been included in contracts lodged with the SFA and the SPL.
In the wake of Adam's allegations, both bodies announced inquiries into alleged breaches of registration rules.
However, the SFA have put their probe on ice as they would be the appeal body for any SPL decision.
Sir David Murray has insisted the club had done nothing wrong as payments into EBTs were 'discretionary'.
The issue of whether EBTs were discretionary or not is the basis of the so-called 'big-tax case' – the outcome of which is expected soon.
If the Tier-One Tribunal finds in favour of HMRC, Rangers could face a bill of around 49million.