Tag Archives: insolvency

Peter Ridsdale banned for 7 years over Cardiff probe

Ridsdale banned for 7 years after probe into financial irregularities during time at Cardiff

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UPDATED:

14:45 GMT, 3 October 2012

Former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has been banned from any company director roles for seven-and-a-half years.

It comes after an investigation into financial irregularities regarding Ridsdale, who also held positions at Cardiff and Plymouth.

An Insolvency Service probe centred on payments totalling 347,000 to Ridsdale by Cardiff between May 2007 and March 2009.

These should have instead been directed to his company WH Sports Group.

Probe: Peter Ridsdale has been handed a long ban from directorships

Probe: Peter Ridsdale has been handed a long ban from directorships

The inquiry also concluded the money was paid into bank accounts in Ridsdale's name as WH Sports Group was liquidated with tax debts.

Ridsdale's wife Sophie, who was a co-director of WHSG, has also been banned until 2016.

A statement from the Insolvency Service read: 'Investigators found that WHSG traded from 2003 to 2007 and was used by Mr Ridsdale to provide sports and leisure consultancy services to football clubs.

'The company went into liquidation on 22 April 2009 with assets of 22,592 and liabilities of at least 478,698, including 442,353 owed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

'In signing the undertaking, Mr Ridsdale did not dispute that:

• Between May 2007 and March 2009, he acted improperly and in breach of his duties to WHSG by causing payments totalling 347,000, received for invoices raised by WHSG for services provided to a football club of which he was the chairman, to be paid into personal bank accounts held in his own name, to the detriment of WHSG and its creditors.

• He also failed to disclose the relevant transactions to the liquidator of WHSG, who did not become aware of them until July 2010 when information was provided by the football club.

• He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to make Corporation Tax, PAYE and National Insurance Contributions, and VAT returns and payments to HMRC as and when they were due. At liquidation WHSG's liabilities included 166,421 in unpaid Corporation Tax, 102,279, in unpaid PAYE and NIC, and 173,653 relating to unpaid VAT.

• He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to prepare and file accounts with the Registrar of Companies by the due dates for three successive accounting periods.

Claire Entwistle, director of Company Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: 'As someone who has had many directorships, Mr Ridsdale ought to be aware of the responsibilities that come with such a position.

'The protection of limited liability is available to those who comply with their obligations as company directors. If those obligations are ignored, the protection will be withdrawn, as Mr Ridsdale has found to his cost.

'One of the main purposes of the Company Directors Disqualification Act is to ensure that proper standards of conduct of company directors are maintained, and these disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct and deal robustly with directors who harm creditors by using unacceptable financial practice.'

Nurburgring future secured for now

Nurburgring future assured for now after bailout from state government

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UPDATED:

13:05 GMT, 3 August 2012

The short-term future of the Nurburgring and next year's German Grand Prix appears to be secure.

Just over a fortnight ago it was revealed the circuit faced the threat of insolvency, with track operators Nurburgring GmbH in debt to the tune of 235million following redevelopment in 2009.

The state government of Rheinland-Palatinate, who own 90 per cent of the track's holding company, have now stepped in to bail them out.

Wheely good news: Nurburgring's short-term future has been assured by a state government bailout

Wheely good news: Nurburgring's short-term future has been assured by a state government bailout

It has been agreed 200million worth of funds is to be released to guarantee the 259million loan that was initially required for the redevelopment.

It should be enough for the Nurburgring to stage the 2013 German Grand Prix, a race alternated on an annual basis with Hockenheim.

Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, track boss Jorg Linder said: 'I am very optimistic that Formula One will be going to the Nurburgring next year.'

Bradford Bulls continue search for investment

Time ticking away as Bulls continue desperate search for financial saviour

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UPDATED:

06:02 GMT, 9 July 2012

Talks will re-convene with a consortium interested in buying beleaguered Bradford on Monday as administrator Brendan Guilfoyle races against the clock to save the club.

Guilfoyle, who set a deadline of Tuesday to avoid putting the 'bankrupt' Super League club into liquidation, met a group of local businessmen during Sunday's match against London Broncos at Odsal and is hoping they will come up with an offer.

'They are asking lots of questions and seeking lots of assurances,' said Guilfoyle, who was joined at the meeting by the leader of Bradford Council, Cllr David Green. 'They're looking at it and we're re-convening tomorrow.'

Plea: Bradford fans hope they will still have a rugby side to watch

Plea: Bradford fans hope they will still have a rugby side to watch

The Bradford team played their part in underlining the club's attraction by gaining an impressive 44-12 victory over the Broncos to maintain their push to reach the play-offs for the first time for four years.

A third straight win, which followed a stunning triumph at leaders Wigan, lifted the Bulls to sixth and provided them with a cushion with which to offset a looming points deduction for breaking the game's insolvency regulations.

The eight-try victory was just reward for the staff who were made redundant at the start of the week but volunteered to work for free to ensure the game went ahead.

They included popular Australian head coach Mick Potter, who was given a guard of honour by his players as he left the field, but he warned that the club cannot continue to rely on goodwill.

Pulling together: Bradford coach Mick Potter is applauded from the field

Pulling together: Bradford coach Mick Potter is applauded from the field

'It's phenomenal what the staff have done,' Potter said. 'The cuts have been made for a reason but four staff cannot run a rugby league club. It's not possible.

'I don't know how they fix it up because it's not a long-term solution what we've done today.

'What happened today was for the love of the club. People had the passion to get the game on, they didn't want to let anybody down. But it's not sustainable long-term.'

Potter re-iterated his desire to see out the rest of his contract, which runs to the end of the season, but admits he already searching for a new job, hopefully in rugby league but not necessarily in England.

We're behind you: The fans flocked to see the Bulls beat London Broncos

We're behind you: The fans flocked to see the Bulls beat London Broncos

'If I get a job somewhere else, I'm going to take it because at the moment I'm unemployed,' said the 48-year-old former Catalan Dragons and St Helens boss. 'I need to look after my family.

'I'd love nothing better than to stay here at Bradford and complete what I've come here to do but that's out of my control.'

The pressure is off the administrator to some extent because the club have no fixture until July 20 but the players' wages are due at the end of this week.

Guilfoyle pessimistic about Bradford Bulls" prospects as administration looms for Super League outfit

Guilfoyle pessimistic about Bradford Bulls' prospects as administration looms for Super League outfit

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UPDATED:

11:55 GMT, 23 June 2012

Bradford have just three days left to prevent the financially-stricken Super League club from going into administration.

Brendan Guilfoyle, an insolvency expert from the P&A Group who were asked to conduct a financial review of the club, admits he is not optimistic over their chances of pulling through their current crisis.

Up to 1.2million is needed to safeguard Bradford's future until the end of the season, with HM Revenue & Customs having served a winding-up petition earlier this month over unpaid tax.

Crisis: The clock is ticking on Bradford

Crisis: The clock is ticking on Bradford

It is thought the club currently owe 98,000 in PAYE tax from May and the same amount for June, plus an outstanding VAT bill of 250,000 from the sale of the Odsal lease to the RFL, while the monthly wage bill is over 200,000.

The Bulls last week filed a notice of intention to enter administration, giving them a fortnight's grace to complete negotiations with potential investors but the moratorium keeping the taxman at bay ends on Tuesday.

Guilfoyle, who would be the appointed administrator, told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: 'I'm pessimistic about the prospect of avoiding it but I think it's going to go right to the wire.

'The moratorium expires on Tuesday and unless someone comes forward with the required funds then I don't think the club will be able to avoid administration.

'The directors are trying very hard but I'm not currently aware of anybody who is willing to invest in the Bulls the kind of money that is needed.

'My own enquiries tell me that the club requires in excess of 1million to see out the season and I'll find out early next week whether the notice of intention to appoint administrators will turn into an actual appointment.'

If the Bulls go into administration they would almost certainly be docked league points – four if the recent examples of Crusaders and Wakefield were followed – but, more importantly, it would leave the club vulnerable to losing some of their best players.

SFA throw book at Rangers with Whyte set for hearing that could see ban from Scottish football

SFA throw book at Rangers with Whyte set for hearing which could see ban from Scottish football

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UPDATED:

23:07 GMT, 15 March 2012

Craig Whyte could return to Glasgow for the first time since the day Rangers entered administration if he launches a personal defence against SFA disciplinary charges.

The governing body confirmed a March 29 date for a Judicial Panel hearing at Hampden that will consider two charges against Whyte as an individual and five against Rangers as a club. If found guilty, Whyte could find himself effectively barred from Scottish football.

The discredited Ibrox owner flew out of Glasgow on February 14 after Rangers plunged into insolvency on the back of unpaid PAYE and VAT.

Judgement day: Whyte

Judgement day: Whyte

Today is the deadline for parties interested in buying the club to submit outline bids and proof of funding to administrators Duff & Phelps.

A spokesman for the administrators said last night that they expect to receive between three and six offers by today’s 5pm cut-off point.

Whyte has not yet disappeared from the picture, however, and still has a majority shareholding that has yet to be removed by any of the complex legal mechanisms under consideration. The SFA charges against him are a result of the independent inquiry into the recent workings of Rangers chaired by Lord William Nimmo Smith.

The governing body’s board considered the findings last week, declaring their view that Whyte was ‘not a fit and proper person’ to hold a post in football before passing the report to the Compliance Officer for consideration.

Whyte has now been served with a notice of complaint alleging that he both brought the game into disrepute and may have acted in an ‘improper manner’.

Paul Clark, joint-administrator at Rangers, has already stated that they will seek to separate the actions of individuals from those of the club in the hope of limiting any punishment directed at the Ibrox outfit. Rangers are being charged under the rules Whyte is alleged to have breached, with further charges relating to their entry into administration and a failure to comply with the SFA’s articles of association both as a club and via individual officials.

Fines and suspensions from the SFA are among the potential sanctions.

Meanwhile, the battle for control of the stricken Ibrox club will take another step forward today as the administrators are left with a list of a credible bidders.

Paul Murray’s Blue Knights will put forward an offer, as will Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy.

Two bids from America and one from a Singapore consortium could also be forthcoming.

Dark days: A cloud looms over Ibrox

Dark days: A cloud looms over Ibrox

There was a further bizarre twist to the saga yesterday when married dating site Ashley Madison launched a publicity stunt claiming they were ready to invest millions into helping Rangers by renaming the stadium.

A more serious matter was the start of a Court of Session action raised by the administrators against the 24.4 million deal Whyte struck with Ticketus — who have joined the Blue Knights consortium — last year.

That money funded his takeover and Duff & Phelps are effectively seeking permission to break the terms of the agreement, which incorporates a further three years of season ticket sales.

The administrators claim the deal could deter potential buyers or investors from making realistic offers for the club.

Ticketus, though, maintain the action is ‘speculative and unwarranted’.
The hearing will continue today.

Blue Knights leader Paul Murray could face ban from SFA

Murray worry: Blue Knights frontman could face an SFA ban

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UPDATED:

00:14 GMT, 13 March 2012

Paul Murray could be barred by SFA rules from a triumphant return to the Rangers boardroom — even if he succeeds with a takeover.

The figurehead of the Blue Knights’ consortium to save the Ibrox club met administrators Duff & Phelps in London on Monday ahead of Friday’s deadline for bids.

Murray, a previous director of the club, was axed by discredited owner Craig Whyte last May. Now it has emerged his hopes of a speedy return may fall foul of the same ‘fit-and-proper’ regulation which has thwarted Dave King’s hopes of retaining his seat in the boardroom.

Concern: Paul Murray could face a ban from the SFA

Concern: Paul Murray could face a ban from the SFA

Rule 10.2j of the SFA statutes states that individuals can’t serve as a club director if they have been ‘a director of a club in membership of any national association within the five-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event’.

Murray stood down from the Rangers board nine months prior to the club entering administration — well within the five-year period stipulated in the SFA rules.

The governing body’s in-house legal representative will now consider the matter further today. Senior sources at Hampden claimed last week that, while King would fail rule 10.2j, Murray would pass muster because he left the Rangers board prior to the club entering administration on February 14.

There is, however, no mention of such a regulation in the SFA statutes and legal sources consulted by Sportsmail yesterday believe the wording of rule 10.2j to be unambiguous.

Deadline: A buyer needs to be found by Friday

Deadline: A buyer needs to be found by Friday

The SFA ‘reserves its discretion’ over whether an individual can be deemed fit and proper after ‘due consideration of all relevant facts’.

Even if the former director is unable to resume his place in the boardroom in the event of a successful takeover bid, there is nothing to prevent him having an unofficial say in the running of the club as a shareholder — as Vladimir Romanov does at Hearts.

Murray’s consortium includes Ticketus — the firm who paid Whyte 24.4million for large swathes of three years of season tickets — as well as businessmen Douglas Park, Scott Murdoch and John Bennett.

The involvement of Ticketus remains perplexing. It’s understood administrators Duff & Phelps will this week move to have their claim on the tickets ruled null and void.

If successful, this would remove Ticketus from the consortium and leave them to pursue Whyte for the money they gave him.

Rangers crisis: Wages decision on Tuesday

Last chance: Decision day at Rangers as stars make final plea over wage deal

Rangers players will finally learn their fate on Tuesday after making a last-ditch proposal to administrators following hours of tense talks at Murray Park.

Duff & Phelps agreed to consider the plan put forward by the squad overnight before deciding whether it was enough to avoid immediate redundancies.

It is understood the plan is based around a ‘complicated’ deferral model that would see varying degrees of wage cuts — of up to 75 per cent for top earners — throughout the first-team pool.

The 1million question: The Scottish giants need to make huge savings

The 1million question: The Scottish giants need to make huge savings

The players had one deferral proposal rejected by Duff & Phelps last Friday evening, with joint administrator David Whitehouse insisting the following day that it could deter interested parties if a wage burden was simply shifted to the summer.

But Paul Murray, the former Ibrox director leading the Blue Knights consortium hoping to gain control of the club, has since made it clear he would rather pick up a 4million deferred wage bill than spend several times that amount rebuilding the squad. That appears to have influenced the increasingly confused picture at the Ibrox club, with players still unclear about their futures when they left their training base at 5.30pm on Monday night.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart arrived at Murray Park just after midday and was heavily involved in the discussions.

Duff & Phelps have raised eyebrows within the insolvency business community by delaying a final decision on cuts after insisting they need to save 1m per month simply to reach the end of the season.

On Monday, however, joint administrator Paul Clark insisted the negotiation process would reach its end today. They have previously considered plans that would make up to 11 members of McCoist’s squad redundant.

Crisis: Rangers' future remains uncertain

Crisis: Rangers' future remains uncertain

‘Everyone involved in the
administration process has been attempting to reach a consensual
solution in regard to job losses within the playing squad,’ said Clark.

‘The prime reason for this has been
to achieve essential cost savings while preserving the fabric of the
first team ‘This has not been an easy balance to strike and we would
like to thank the manager, Ally McCoist, his players and the PFA
Scotland for attempting to find a solution that would be workable for
all.

‘Every realistic option is being explored.

‘Regrettably, it has not been
possible thus far to reach a consensus where players could accept the
necessary level of wage cuts to prevent job losses within the squad.

‘We do not for a moment criticise the
players for this as the wage reductions that would be required are very
substantial and would have a significant impact on each individual.

‘For clarity, we cannot enforce wage
cuts. The players have to agree to this course of action. ‘The players
have asked us to consider a final proposal overnight for discussion in
the morning and we have agreed to this request.’ The situation with any
deferral plan is further complicated by fact that tax on the salaries
cannot be deferred.

Georgios Samaras could not care less about Rangers

I couldn't care less about Rangers, says Celtic forward Samaras

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras has insisted he simply doesn’t care what happens to Rangers.

The Greek international, whose penalty miss in the final Old Firm game of last season was lampooned during the Ibrox title celebrations, has barely paid attention to the insolvency crisis engulfing his club’s oldest rivals.

And he declared: ‘If Rangers have problems, they have problems. I really don’t care.

‘I am not following the news. I play for Celtic and I care only about Celtic.’

No sympathy: Samaras (right)

No sympathy: Samaras (right)

A 20th consecutive domestic win at home to Motherwell on Saturday would put Celtic 23 points clear before Rangers head to Inverness on Sunday and, depending on results over the coming weeks, Neil Lennon’s men may get the chance to clinch the SPL title at Ibrox on March 25.

Samaras – who says this Celtic squad has even more talent than Gordon Strachan’s championship winners – remains unmoved by the prospect of wreaking revenge upon his tormentors, saying simply: ‘We are talking about three or four weeks and, before that, we have massive games. Rangers is far away, still. We don’t think about that at the moment because, if we think about Rangers, we could lose our focus.

‘Back in November, we were 15 points behind; then we were four points clear and were on a good run. ‘We feel we are stronger and believe in ourselves. We don’t care how many points we are clear.

Gunning for the title: Samaras says Celtic are focused on the task at hand

Gunning for the title: Samaras says Celtic are focused on the task at hand

‘We are the same team, doing the same things as we did when we were 15 points behind. What we are going to do from now on are the same things. The fans can celebrate if they like. Fans are fans and we are professional footballers. We have to stay focused on jobs.

‘If I compare the squad that was with Gordon Strachan when we won the SPL, or the next year when we lost it, we had players with experience like Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Shunsuke Nakamura, Paul Hartley and Artur Boruc.

‘If I can compare the squad from that time with this squad, now I think there is more talent with the young boys who have a big future.

‘The gaffer tries to bring young boys from all around the world to play here and then make some profit for the club. You need to work like that when you are a club like Celtic. You can be a good market for other clubs.

‘Of course, this is the second year we have been together and I hope that next year we can be even better, if the players stay.

‘It’s up to the manager and the club. If they have the right offer for the young players, then why not If not, they will play a massive part in this team.’

Walter Smith demands answers over Rangers" finances

Where's the money Former boss Smith demands answers over Rangers' finances

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith has demanded an explanation over the hole in the club's finances.

Rangers were forced into administration last week over 9million in unpaid VAT and PAYE, and also owe the tax authority around 4million for an historic burden highlighted in the club accounts in April last year.

The insolvency action came despite investment firm Ticketus paying more than 24million for the rights to the club's season tickets in the coming years.

Explanation: Walter Smith has hit out over the state Rangers have ended up in

Explanation: Walter Smith has hit out over the state Rangers have ended up in

Smith stepped down as planned in May last year weeks after Craig Whyte bought a majority stake in the club for 1 in return for pledges to pay off their 18million bank debt and invest his own money in the club.

It emerged last week that Lloyds Banking Group were paid with the Ticketus money and administrators were looking for the rest of that cash injection.

Smith said in the Daily Record: 'Hopefully the men who did this will be held to account.

'The administrators must find out and then tell the fans where the money has gone.

'It is their money and they have every right to know. They are the ones who will be suffering most.

Glory days: Smith had two trophy-laden spells as Rangers manager

Glory days: Smith had two trophy-laden spells as Rangers manager

'And I include all those decent people who work behind the scenes and who fear for their jobs.

'Most of them are supporters as well and they all need answers to their questions – and one in particular. Where is the club's money'

A potentially far higher tax bill could be presented to the club in the coming weeks as they await the outcome of a tribunal into the use of employee benefit trusts from 2001 to 2010.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs demanded 36.5million from the club and Whyte claims the final bill could be 75million with penalties and interest.

Rangers crisis: SFA ask top judge to head investigation

SFA ask top judge to head investigation into Rangers crisis

The Scottish Football Association
have appointed Lord William Nimmo Smith to chair their inquiry into
recent activities at Rangers.

Lord Nimmo Smith has served as an
insolvency Judge and was one of five judges who heard the appeal of
Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in 2002.

Lord Nimmo Smith: will head inquiry

Lord Nimmo Smith: will head inquiry

The SFA announced the inquiry on Friday – three days after Rangers went into administration.

The probe will focus specifically on whether there have been any breaches of their Articles of Association, relating to rules regarding whether club officials are 'fit and proper' to hold such positions.

The SFA announced their independent panel would also include Professor Niall Lothian, a past president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and Bob Downes, who is deputy chairman of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan will also sit on the panel.

The governing body revealed that Regan met Lord Nimmo Smith to define the terms of reference for the investigation.

The inquiry team have been handed the same powers as the SFA to investigate the potential breach of their rules and have been asked to report to the board within two weeks.

Regan said: 'I am delighted Lord Nimmo Smith has agreed to chair the independent inquiry.

'I am certain the experience contained within the panel will enable us to achieve more clarity on the situation regarding Rangers FC.

'There will be no further comment on the investigation until it is complete and its findings presented to the board.'

Passion: Rangers fans packed into Ibrox on Saturday to show their support

Passion: Rangers fans packed into Ibrox on Saturday to show their support

The SFA launched the independent inquiry after being frustrated in attempts to secure clarity regarding Rangers owner Craig Whyte’s previous business experience.

The governing body contacted Rangers on December 1 to seek clarification after the club confirmed Whyte was previously disqualified as a company director for seven years from 2000.

The SFA said their efforts to obtain information on Whyte had been 'restricted by the club’s solicitors' continued failure to share information in a timely or detailed manner”.

The SFA Articles of Association on club officials include restrictions on people who have been disqualified as a director 'within the previous five years'.

The inquiry team have also been charged with probing the financial revelations that have emerged in the last week, including the news that Rangers have failed to pay 9million in tax since Whyte took over last May.
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