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  1. ...Atheist says terror attacks reinforce his belief all faiths are nonsense. FORMER trainee priest, ALEX MOONEY, claims terrorists are killing in the name of a god that does not exist. HOLY men calling out the names of 10 journalists before systematically killing them one by one in a Paris office – in the name of a loving god. Holy men taking seven hours to end the fledgling lives of 132 school children and setting their teachers alight in front of them in Peshawar, Pakistan – in the name of a loving god. These two barbarous acts in the last month disgust all decent people and must surely hasten an end to the absurdity of religion. Sentient beings who promote ancient fears, rituals and superstition must learn that their ludicrous beliefs are ultimately dangerous. Holy wars belong to the Dark Ages – as does all religion. There are no gods, no heaven, no hell, no miracles. There never has been. There never will be. This is way beyond reasonable doubt now. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere to prove the existence of a supernatural entity. Thanks to science the greatest story ever told is not in the Bible, or any sacred scripture, but can be found from the Big Bang onwards. If you must have faith then believe in that because it is more wondrous than anything in holy texts. But we still live in a world that is predominantly religious. At my Catholic primary school in the 50s, pupils were told their faith was the only true one. I recall one ridiculing Red Indians – as they were described then. A teacher said they were savages and heathens because they prayed to totem poles. We laughed with her. In a science class, we were given moulds and shown how to make plaster statues. By the time I was 15 I had been in a cloistered seminary for three years, training to become a priest. Hidden away from the world, we prayed a lot. One day I knelt before a statue of Jesus and as I prayed a *question disturbed me. What is the difference between praying to a lump of wood or a mould of plaster? There is none, of course. That epiphany was the end of my *vocation – and my faith in God. Yet, 50 years on, blind belief still has a hold on billions of people who cling to the hope of eternal life in a heaven. Many are becoming fanaticised. One atrocity after another is done in the name of protecting their god. Religious leaders denounce the perpetrators as “not being of the true faith” – until the next barbaric beheading is filmed live and fed to the world’s social media like some grotesque trailer for a reality show. Apologists for religion blame fundamentalism for these despicable acts. Really? Well the one thing fundamental to fundamentalism is belief in a god. In America’s Bible Belt millions of Christians, split into sects, are fleeced by charlatans and snake-oil salesmen. TV and radio stations make a fortune from pandering to deluded believers. In a clinical environment some of those who swoon before the pastors and faith healers would be diagnosed as having mental health issues. Astonishingly, though, throughout the world atheists are facing ever increasing persecution. A new report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union shows that 19 countries punish their people for apostasy – in 12 of those the sentence is death. In Pakistan the death sentence can even be imposed for blasphemy where the threshold is very low. In all, 55 countries, including several Western ones, have laws against *blasphemy. The sentence is prison in 39 countries and death in six. In Saudi Arabia, a new law equates atheism with terrorism. And the *Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak branded humanists and *secularists as no less than deviants. That this is happening in 2015 should trigger massive concern. Yet politicians and governments shy away from confronting the issue in the hope religion’s followers and its *influence will wither away as believers increasingly look at science to explain the world rather than discredited theology. While the number of believers is falling in the West there is a danger that those remaining will also become fanaticised as they are isolated. Historians 100 years on will surely wonder why so many people were deluded and perhaps conclude that some form of mass brainwashing was in play. The truth is, we don’t need scriptures or 10 commandments to be good folk. Just be fair and decent in everything you do – and that applies to people, businesses, politicians and *governments. If you want a better world then believe in that. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/religion-belongs-dark-ages-atheist-4952352
  2. FOREWORD: The author would like to thank the author of The Football Tax Havens Blog for the provision of some of the information used in this article. There is one thing I can say with some certainty regarding the HMRC enquiry into Rangers Football Club and that is that it has left a legacy of confusion, contradiction, misdirection ( some of which may either be deliberate or as a consequence of gross negligence) and of course, last but not least, accusation. The fact that some of the key players involved in the whole process now face criminal prosecution should confirm, for even the casual onlooker, that all has not been above board. Allow me to illustrate courtesy of these two links, which contain contradictory information, but nonetheless, were written in good faith by the respective authors. http://sport.stv.tv/blog/203241-rang...ions-answered/ http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/new...kets-by-gbp73m The former link written by Mike Farrell for STV attributes HMRC as the largest single creditor at the time of rejection of the CVA whilst the second link written by Rachael Singh for AccountancyAge suggests at the time HMRC vetoed the proposed the CVA they were in fact the second largest single creditor. What we do know is that at some point Duff & Phelps added the outstanding potential estimated liability regarding EBT’s to the overall bill due to HMRC. A potential bill which never came to fruition due to the rulings of various Tax Tribunals in favour of Rangers. What is both concerning and alarming is that such “confusion” appears to extend to high level executives within HMRC itself as this Public Accounts Committee Q & A demonstrates. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevi...ral/11443.html In question 54/55, tendered by Anne McGuire MP, Mr Jim Harra – Director General Business Tax HMRC, moves to correct Ms McGuire regarding her apparent “misapprehension” by responding as follows: “It has been in the media. This dispute on employee benefit trusts was not the reason why Rangers went into liquidation. It was for non-payment of their standard pay-as-you-earn and VAT obligations.” No Mr Harra that is not entirely accurate either. That is the reason that Rangers went into administration. The reason Rangers went into liquidation is because, as either the primary or secondary creditor, HMRC the organisation you represent, vetoed the proposal for a CVA. It is really asking too much of HMRC officials, particularly high ranking ones to provide accurate information in response to questions from Members of Parliament who sit on a Public Accounts Committee? Furthermore, just to add some added spice to this bubbling pot of confusion and accusation, the reasons for such refusal are themselves subject to considerable speculation. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/q...0639n.24716091 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...probe.24725771 In the questions aforementioned Ms McGuire also raises the subject of pre-litigation settlement. It is perhaps worth highlighting at this point that Rangers were not the first football club to fall foul of HMRC. In 2005 during Ray Parlour’s divorce proceedings it was revealed that during season 2000/01 Parlour paid tax at a rate of only 22% courtesy of an off shore benefit trust operated by Arsenal. HMRC reacted to this information billing Arsenal for £12 million which they settled in full. While the differing circumstances of each case make a side by side comparison impractical, it does raise the question of why HMRC waited 5 years to pursue Rangers in respect of an EBT payment scheme previously declared in annual accounts) Returning to the subject of settlement Mr Harra responds: “In terms of when we decide to litigate, we have a published litigation and settlements strategy that states we will settle only for what we believe we are due under the law. If we believe that we have a greater than evens chance of getting more by litigating than what we can get by settling, generally speaking that is what we will do: we will litigate. We are proud of the success record that we have in litigation. In avoidance cases, we win about 80% of all the cases that we litigate, but that does mean we are not successful in 20% of them. We are disappointed by the upper-tier tribunal decision in the Rangers case. It is still something that can be the subject of appeal, so I cannot go into too much detail about the litigation itself, but, as I said, we have a very good track record and we may not have reached the end of the line on this one.” Of course such litigation is at public taxpayer’s expense. Perhaps Ms McGuire would care to ask HMRC at the next Q & A why a government agency whose remit is to bring people to account for failing to keep meticulous financial records, cannot themselves keep accurate records with regard to their own operating costs. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...-case.26228807 So in summary we have HMRC continuing to pursue Rangers FC (Oldco) at public expense, having refused an offer of an earlier settlement, in the belief they will be “getting more by litigating than we can by settling” despite the fact HMRC themselves forced the company they are pursuing into liquidation. Perhaps Ms McGuire would care to ask what financial settlement HMRC hope to achieve from a liquidated company. The more you add up the sums the less it makes logical or financial sense, in fact it only serves to add credibility to the accusation that HMRC’s rejection of a CVA was to ensure an investigation into Rangers directors and owners. If the circumstances aforesaid have caused you to utter the words “scandalous” then you may want to re-think your choice of words. In the Rangers Tax Case HMRC considered that the appointment of EBT funds on to a sub-fund or sub-trust for the benefit of a particular employee and/or their family gave rise to a PAYE charge. HMRC were also of the opinion that loans provided from these sub-funds were not loans, but were akin to a bonus available without any chance of repayment and, therefore, again subject to PAYE. What lifts this above even “scandalous” is such arguments have been challenged unsuccessfully before in the cases of Dextra Accessories ([2005] STC 1111) and Sempra Metals ([2007] STC 1559), yet HMRC continue to put forward this argument, at the tax payers expense of course Sometimes “scandalous” is just not enough.
  3. The Rangers Supporters Trust wishes to express its concern at what we consider to be a clear attempt by some online elements of the Celtic support to incite trouble ahead of an Old Firm game which already has the potential to be a powder keg fixture. We, along with the vast majority of the Rangers support, noted with some amusement the recent advert taken out by Celtic supporters in a once respected Sunday newspaper. However, what has followed makes us considerably more uneasy. There is now no question that a hardcore element of the Celtic support are not content with the troubles which have plagued our club over the past few years. For them, Rangers Football Club, and by extension its fans, must cease to exist. Whether this stems from an inferiority complex amongst part of a generation who had to live through Nine-In-A Row, or whether it is down to a more ingrained bigotry, a fierce football rivalry is not sufficient for these people. We are extremely concerned that the rhetoric and hatred spewed out by the likes of Phil MacGiollabhain, Angela Haggerty, Paul Brennan’s CQN website and others, is a deliberate attempt to try to stoke sectarian fires and incite violence at the upcoming fixture. One need only view the reaction of some Celtic fans to the recent blog by MacGiollabhain entitled “The ****** Blood Festival” to see how these people operate. MacGiollabhain himself has never challenged the assertion that he is “tarred with a sickening sectarian brush” and he has willing servants in Miss Haggerty, CQN and several other online Celtic sites. We urge all sane Celtic fans to ignore their bile. We hope the upcoming fixture will be fiercely contested. We hope, despite being clear underdogs, that Rangers will win. We also hope that fans of both teams will be able to travel to and watch the match safely. We hope that Police Scotland, as well as policing the day effectively, will take careful note of those who continue to try to incite violence at the upcoming fixture. It would be an odd legal system that arrested people for singing songs but ignored hate speech and incitement of violence. Should the worst happen, we hope the full force of the law will be brought to bear not only on the perpetrators of any trouble but also those who encourage it online. Rangers and our fans have many challenges to face in the months and years ahead. Challenges which are considerably more important to our long term future than this upcoming Old Firm game. We urge Rangers fans to stay safe, behave in a way which can make us all proud of our club and enjoy their day." - See more at: http://www.therst.co.uk/news/rst-concerns-over-upcoming-old-firm-game/#sthash.dvHYDWc2.dpuf
  4. Taken from FF. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/public-accounts-committee/hmrc-standard-report-201314-part-1/oral/11443.html Q50 Austin Mitchell: What is the main problem? Will you ever be able to require these multinationals to pay tax here on the profits they generate here? What is stopping you? Lin Homer: International law. Jim Harra: We have discussed in the Committee before that there is an international framework of laws. There is an OECD project in which the UK is a leading participant. Q51 Chair: Are you working on that? Jim Harra: Yes, the BEPS project. There are 15 action points in that project, the first seven of which are due to report in September this year to the G20, and the remainder in 2015. In there are policy changes aimed at ensuring that profits are allocated to the place where they are earned, and also that there is greater transparency between multinationals and tax authorities about where they operate and where their profits are. Chair: Okay. I will come back to some of these issues; I did warn you before you came to the Committee. I am going to Anne and Guto, and then I will come back on some of the issues arising out of what Austin said. Q52 Mrs McGuire: Could I have some information on one of the high-profile areas of tax avoidance, which is employee benefit trusts? I note that you have had a reasonably good year in terms of pulling back some significant sums. My understanding is that there was a 160% increase in the amount of money that you have managed to pull back. What criteria did you use for settlement opportunities? I understand that the aim of HMRC is to reach a settlement rather than go for an expensive court case. Where are the opportunities for those settlements? Jim Harra: We have published the settlement opportunities that are available to employers who have engaged in employee benefit trust avoidance. A significant number have stepped forward and settled on that basis. I can certainly send you a link to the detailed explanation of that. It gives a settlement opportunity that is within the law, but which is more attractive to the employer than the worst-case scenario if they go into litigation with us and lose. So a number of them have concluded that the best thing to do is to settle on that basis. It brings in an amount of tax that ultimately could be what they are liable for. It saves us a lot of resource, which we can then deploy on those who are fighting us and enables them to move on. There are a significant number of variants of employee benefit trust avoidance. One issue for us is that if we were to try and litigate—unlike marketed avoidance schemes, where you usually have a large number of followers of schemes with exactly the same pretty much in each one—these companies are pretty bespoke, so I think the settlement opportunity is the most effective way of resolving the bulk of these cases. Q53 Mrs McGuire: Can I ask what the current legal status is of employee benefit trusts? Can I turn to a piece of documentation or a link that will give me secure information? Can I be confident that an EBT is in compliance with HMRC rules? Or are they all up for grabs? Jim Harra: Employee benefit trusts are entirely legal. There can be good non-tax reasons why an employer would wish to set one up, but we did see a significant drive a few years ago. One of the key reasons for setting them up was to avoid pay-as-you-earn and national insurance obligations. We have published information about what is and is not acceptable from a tax point of view, and what we will challenge from a tax point of view, as well as the settlement opportunity that is available to companies if they choose to avail themselves of it. Q54 Mrs McGuire: You’ve lost a pretty high-profile case in Scotland recently. It is in the public domain, so I am not putting out there what has not been in every Scottish newspaper and probably every football newspaper. One of the criticisms from Sir David Murray—or, if not him, certainly his spokesperson—was that you had various opportunities to settle with Rangers football club, but you decided to push to the upper-tier tribunal, which you lost. I know there are four or five outstanding issues to do with a referral back. If you do not want to speak about that particular case, can you tell me what the criteria would have been for not going for a settlement in cases such as that? I am not entirely convinced of all the financial arguments on this point, but the ramifications that have been suggested are that you may, by your action, have put the club into serious financial jeopardy. Jim Harra: First of all, if I can correct that misapprehension, which has been— Q55 Mrs McGuire: That’s fine. This is your opportunity. Jim Harra: It has been in the media. This dispute on employee benefit trusts was not the reason why Rangers went into liquidation. It was for non-payment of their standard pay-as-you-earn and VAT obligations. Q56 Mrs McGuire: That’s why I caveated my question. Jim Harra: In terms of when we decide to litigate, we have a published litigation and settlements strategy that states we will settle only for what we believe we are due under the law. If we believe that we have a greater than evens chance of getting more by litigating than what we can get by settling, generally speaking that is what we will do: we will litigate. We are proud of the success record that we have in litigation. In avoidance cases, we win about 80% of all the cases that we litigate, but that does mean we are not successful in 20% of them. We are disappointed by the upper-tier tribunal decision in the Rangers case. It is still something that can be the subject of appeal, so I cannot go into too much detail about the litigation itself, but, as I said, we have a very good track record and we may not have reached the end of the line on this one. Q57 Mrs McGuire: Given, though, that it is in the public domain that Murray International Holdings wanted to have a settlement, was there any opportunity at all, from your point of view, for some consensus to settle on this case? Or, as some would allege—certainly some supporters of Rangers football club—were you out to take a high profile business to court when you could have actually reached a settlement? Jim Harra: I can’t discuss what discussions we had in that particular case. It certainly is the case that where we receive a settlement offer from large businesses, whether the case workers are minded to accept or reject them, they come to the tax assurance commissioner and two other commissioners to make the decision. That has been the case since 2012, and that would include major EBT cases. It is certainly the case that we reject settlement offers where we believe that the better value for the Exchequer is to proceed with litigation, but we do that in accordance with published criteria. Q58 Mrs McGuire: So you are rejecting the allegation that this was a high-profile case that you could have settled in a different way? Jim Harra: Yes. We certainly don’t decide to take people on because they are high-profile; we use objective criteria for deciding whether to litigate. Sir Amyas Morse: Just for clarity—forgive me, because this is due to my faulty memory, I am sure—you did have exemplary criteria in individual tax avoidance, didn’t you? So if you had an individual who was in a prominent position, that would affect your approach to investigating tax avoidance, or your policy in terms of settlement, or what you would look for in terms of penalties and disclosure. Or is that not a factor at all? Exemplary issues are not a factor for you—is that what you are saying? Jim Harra: I think when it comes to litigating a technical tax issue, that is not a factor for us. There are certainly some people from whom we expect higher standards of behaviour than others, and therefore we can take a tougher line. For example, if an accountant in the tax profession does something, we may decide to penalise them more or to take a criminal approach, whereas if it was a plumber, say, we might have taken a slightly different approach. Lin Homer: Just to be very clear to both of you, no, we do not take cases with a view to the headlines, if that is the suggestion. Indeed, I think quite a lot of our debates with you about taxpayer confidentiality are partly because we believe it is very important that we apply our principles consistently and fairly. That is why it is so important that the published guidelines are applied. Also, it is why we think the tax assurance commissioner role has been a big part of trying to ensure that consistency over the last period, and of course Edward has just published his second report. Q59 Mrs McGuire: Could I ask one final, more general question on EBTs? Reading the professional press, there appears to be a view that some companies involved in promoting EBTs are beginning to feel that it is about time to bite back at HMRC, and collectively they are looking at whether or not they challenge your interpretation of EBTs, as opposed to waiting for you guys to come for them. Obviously, you will be aware of that, given that you will scan the professional press, a bit like ourselves, but do you think that that is a realistic option for some of those companies and firms? Jim Harra: They are perfectly entitled to challenge us; we are no more in the driving seat on litigation than the taxpayer is. At any point a taxpayer can say, “I’ve had enough of talking to you about this, HMRC. I believe you are wrong, and if you don’t concede, I’m taking this to tribunal,” and they are perfectly within their rights to do that. I have to say that to date the trend on EBTs has been to come to us and to settle.
  5. Nacho Novo brands Rangers board 'disgusting' and 'pathetic' for dragging stricken Fernando Ricksen into his Murray Park ban row 16:59, 29 January 2015 By Keith Jackson "Fitness had nothing to do with it – I’d have played for him with two broken legs," insists the fuming former Ibrox striker. NACHO NOVO has branded the Rangers board ‘disgusting’ and slammed them for bringing suffering Fernando Ricksen into his Murray Park banning storm. The Spaniard was officially blackballed from using the club’s training complex on Tuesday and insisted the under-fire board had given him the boot because of his recent high-profile backing of a fans’ group which is demanding regime change. The club responded by issuing a statement in which they denied Novo’s support of Rangers First had any part in the decision - while insisting the striker and former team-mate Peter Lovenkrands had been granted special permission to use the facilities to get in shape for Fernando Ricksen’s fundraiser on Sunday. But Novo hit back today when he told Record Sport Online: “The latest statement from the board is a joke. To use Fernando’s name to make excuses for their own behaviour is not acceptable. It’s disgusting and it sums up everything they do. “Fernando is a good friend of mine. I didn’t need to train at Murray Park to get for his game. I would have played in it if I had two broken legs so fitness had nothing to do with it. “The fact is I have been training at Rangers since the season ended in America in November. I have done the same thing every year since I first left the club to move to Spain in 2010. So for them to say this now is incredible. It has nothing to do with Peter either - he was only around for four days. “Kenny McDowall has already explained he was told to tell me that I was not welcome any more. But the people who run this club don’t have the balls to tell me to my face. They get other people to do their dirty jobs for them. “It’s embarrassing. It’s becoming a joke. These people are not good enough to be in charge of a club like Rangers.” The board’s official statement read: “Rangers today would like to clarify the situation with regard to Nacho Novo following recent reports in the media. “At no time was Nacho instructed to leave Murray Park due to him joining a Rangers supporters’ group. The Club had permitted Nacho and Peter Lovenkrands to train at Murray Park for a number of weeks in the lead up to the Fernando Ricksen Tribute Match to allow them to get match fit. “We would like to wish Nacho all the very best for the upcoming season and thank both him and Peter for taking part in Sunday’s Tribute match for Fernando.” Novo is furious the board have branded him a liar and revealed also he had offered to play for the club for free until he returns to the States for the start of the North American Soccer League next month. He continued: “If I say something then it’s because it’s true. It’s what happened. I don’t need to lie about anything and I also don’t accept their best wishes because they are pathetic. “What annoys me even more is that they used Fernando’s name to make themselves look better. It’s just not good enough. “They are saying I am lying but the truth is, since I came back in November, I was speaking to Ally McCoist and then Kenny also about playing for the club for free until I return to America for the start of the season. It was possible that I could have joined on loan and it would not have cost the club a penny. “Look, maybe I’m too old. Maybe at 35, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything for the team. But I would have given 100 commitment and I would have tried to compete because I wanted to help Rangers. And I wouldn’t have taken a penny. “The supporters know how I feel about this club and like them, all I want is for this club to be put back in safe hands.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/nacho-novo-brands-rangers-board-5066750
  6. ByPAUL THORNTON The Sun Published: 18 minutes ago CHEEKY Celtic fans are planning to light the blue-touch paper on next week’s long-awaited Old Firm clash - with a full page ad explaining why Rangers are a new club. Sections of the Hoops support have clubbed together to take out the message in a Sunday newspaper one week before the tie. The lengthy message sets out why some Celts reckon the Gers are a different outfit from their historic rivals following the oldco’s liquidation in 2012. After organising through forums and supporter sites a group of dozens of fans have clubbed together a four-figure sum to place the statement. The message states: “As Celtic supporters, we regrettably recognise that our club had an association with Rangers (1872) through the collective descriptive term, The Old Firm. We believe this term is now redundant following the liquidation of Rangers (1872). “On 1st February Celtic supporters will support our team in the semifinal against a new club, which came into being in 2012. “This will be the first ever meeting between the two clubs and the purpose of this statement is to place our position on record so that Celtic supporters can enjoy the occasion for what it is and without playing any part in what we see as the Rangers ‘club continuation’ fiction.” The stunt is sure to wind-up Bears who were buoyed by Lord Nimmo Smith’s report which saw Rangers retain their titles in 2013. At the end of December SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster firmed-up that view when he insisted the team were “absolutely” the same club. He said: “It’s the same club, absolutely. “The member club is the entity that participates in our league and we have 42 member clubs. “Those clubs may be owned by a company, sometimes it’s a Private Limited Company, sometimes it’s a PLC, but ultimately, the company is a legal entity in its own right, which owns a member club that participates in the league. “It was put to bed by the Lord Nimmo Smith commission some while ago – it’s the same club.” Bosses at the paper where the ad is due to run contacted Police Scotland to make sure it would not spark trouble between the supports. Last night the force said: “We are aware of the advert.” Rangers declined to comment. But Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham said: “We’ve been over this time and time again. The football authorities have said it’s the same club and Lord Nimmo Smith has said it’s the same club. “I don’t think Rangers fans are paying any special attention to the online crackpots among the Celtic support who continue to put forward this notion. I’d have thought they’d have better things to spend their money on.”
  7. Strapped in for yet another transfer window? Well, here we go! Graeme Shinnie (Left-back, 23, Inverness Caledonian Thistle) Max Power (attacking midfielder, 21, Tranmere Rovers) Express Graeme Shinnie on wiki
  8. Grant Russell ‏@STVGrant 17s18 seconds ago None of the 55 games Steve Simonsen is accused of betting on were Rangers matches. Chris Jack ‏@Chris_Jack89 47s48 seconds ago Rangers keeper Steve Simonsen issued with a notice of complaint for breaching SFA gambling rules. Has until 29/1 to respond. Hearing 12/2
  9. The Union of Fans is calling on Rangers fans to stage a "mass demonstration" outside Ibrox 45 minutes before kick-off tomorrow night.
  10. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12218558.html
  11. chilledbear

    Egm

    EGM requisition has been delivered to Ibrox within the last couple of minutes. Statement klaxon to follow no doubt.
  12. THERE was a rare moment of unity between Rangers fans groups and the Scottish Football Association when the governing body blocked Mike Ashley’s proposals to increase his stake in the club last month. Then, a Union of Fans statement spoke of the SFA having “done the right thing” in observing their rules on dual ownership by refusing to approve the Newcastle United owner’s bid to increase his Rangers stake from around 9 per cent to 29 per cent. Yet, those same supporters are unlikely to be so taken by the SFA obeying their articles of association should Dave King succeed in his mission to oust the current board. King revealed his intentions on Friday night when he requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting (egm). The South Africa-based businessman, Rangers’ largest single shareholder with a 16 per cent stake, is “confident” he can muster the 50 per cent shareholder support he needs to remove chairman David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach from their directorship. His plan is to replace them with himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan. And therein lies the rub. At an egm, which the current Rangers board could stall for six weeks, King could expect the support of the 20 per cent stake controlled by the Donald Park, George Letham and George Taylor consortium. In addition, he is believed to have the ear of a couple of the hedge funds with a 10 per cent holding between them, while individual supporters whose share totals add up to a further 10 per cent would back his efforts to put the Ibrox club into the hands of supporters. That is all well and good, and Ashley deserves to be removed because of his callous disregard for the club and its followers in this week’s moves to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park. The current board maintain this was in return for the £10 million loan Rangers need to see out the season. But it is important to look beyond Ashley’s game-playing and not forget how we arrived at this point. In the independent inquiry chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith under the auspices of the SFA, the old board were criticised for failing to blow the whistle on Craig Whyte as he sent the club on the road to ruin after taking over in May 2011. King was a member of that board. And it cannot be forgotten either that the reason King was in no position to buy the assets once the old Rangers had been condemned to liquidation the following summer, and save it from the clutches of Charles Green, was that the Castlemilk-born businessman was then in the midst of a decade-long legal battle with the South African Revenue Service. He settled last year by pleading guilty to 42 criminal counts of contravening the country’s tax laws, and kept himself out of prison by plea bargaining on almost 300 other charges, which required him to stump up £41m. As far as failing to meet the SFA’s fit and proper person test, King – who lost £20m he invested in the David Murray Rangers era – does so with bells on. Indeed, it is almost as if the ruling has been written to debar individuals with chequered business careers of King’s ilk. Under section (h) of Article 10.2 that sets out the “considerations” that would be made concerning the board “reserving its discretion” as to whether a person is deemed fit and proper to hold a football directorship, it is stated “[if] he has been convicted within the last ten years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud.” King was liable for a stretch longer than two years had he not plea-bargained. Moreover, he is caught in a double bind over the fit and proper person rules. Because what also counts against those seeking to meet the criteria is having “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”. King and Paul Murray – who was sacked from the Rangers board immediately after Whyte took over – both fall down on this basis. They simply cannot be granted permission by the SFA to take up directorships in any Rangers board if the governing body stands by their own rules, which were tightened up because they had failed to act over Whyte’s dubious business past. King constantly puts it out through sympathetic media sources that he is confident the SFA professional game board would wave him through as a Rangers director in the event of gaining a controlling interest. That sounds like bluster, which, as well as the baggage, has led to legitimate questioning of King’s credentials to lead Rangers out of the mire. At times, though, it must be said he talks a good game. As he did in his statement on Friday in which he claimed that, as well as putting the club on a sound financial footing, a second “important task” would be “to conduct a forensic audit of the management and commercial contracts undertaken over the last few years to determine whether they are truly arm’s length and whether the affairs of the company have been pursued in accordance with the fiduciary obligations of those entrusted with that responsibility”. King thundered at the end of this declaration of intent that “any malfeasance will be pursued aggressively and transparently”. For the South African tax authorities, that might read like a sick joke. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-dave-king-s-move-faces-taxing-questions-1-3664643
  13. BBC's 'The One Show' apologises after 400 viewers complain about Rita Ora's cleavage. Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/rita-ora/82087?#z8uoHhQUWBxgArwP.99
  14. I have read that people with 1% or more worth of shares have been asked to make themselves known. Not been able to read it all, but can only guess this will be to do with a bid. Kieron Prior has complied and just has over 1% River & Mercantile has 5.77% Hopefully more to follow and find out who has been backing who.
  15. http://therangersreport.com/2015/01/05/rangers-declines-to-release-fraser-aird-for-u20-tournament/? Daniel Squizzato reported that Canada’s request to add Fraser Aird to their U20 team was declined by Rangers management. The team begins the 2015 CONCACAF U20s Championship this week. It is a three-week tournament that includes twelve nations. The top four qualify for the 2015 U20 World Cup in New Zealand. Squizzato states that “Canada did attempt to add Aird to their tournament roster but Rangers declined the request.” Dundee’s Dylan Carreiro met a similar fate. David Rowaan, of Walking the Red, confirmed that Aird had been invited to the camp leading up to the tournament but he was also not released for that. Rowaan believes that Aird would still be on the radar for the Canadian national team as they prepare for qualifications for the 2018 World Cup. Rangers on-loan center back Luca Gasparotto is expected to play a critical role to Canada’s success as he will be called upon to anchor the Canadian defence.
  16. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11312941/Rangers-chairman-David-Somers-could-face-probe-by-Stock-Market-regulators-for-his-role-in-Mike-Ashley-bid.html Rangers chairman David Somers could face probe by Stock Market regulators for his role in Mike Ashley bid David Somers feared a successful rival bid by David King would mean the end of his chairmanship and also ensure the departure of the Easdale brothers Stock Market regulators have been asked to investigate the conduct of Rangers chairman David Somers during the battle for control at Ibrox between Mike Ashley and Dave King. The move follows the Telegraph’s disclosure of an email from Somers to Mike Ashley’s representative, Justin Barnes, over the proposed terms of a Sports Direct contract which the Rangers chairman feared would tip his fellow directors into supporting a takeover bid by King, a former Ibrox director. In the email, Somers expressed his fears that a successful bid by King would mean the end of his chairmanship and would also ensure the departure of Sandy Easdale, the Rangers football board chairman, and his brother, James Easdale, a Rangers plc director. Somers also threatened to vote for a Stock Exchange announcement to the effect that Rangers would terminate the Sports Direct contracts by which the club’s merchandise is sold through Ashley’s retail chain. In response to the Telegraph’s revelations, King told BBC Scotland: "His actions could be considered a breach of the Companies Act. It would seem from the email that Somers didn't like Ashley's initial proposal, yet that was the option the board finally went for. "It also seems that Somers was prepared to threaten to cancel Rangers' retail agreement with Sports Direct to prompt Ashley to provide an alternative that would protect the positions of himself and the Easdales. Ashley owns less than 10 per cent of the shares, but now seems to control the club.” King – who is based in South Africa - assembled a consortium which proposed a £16 million debt and equity takeover deal. This was rejected by the Ibrox board after Ashley refused to meet King during his visit to the UK in October. Somers has stated that, although King claimed that his consortium had eight members, not all of their identities were disclosed to the Rangers directors. Somers has also insisted that, finally, the choice for a board whose club was close to running out of cash was to accept the offer of a loan from either Ashley or Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy. In the event, the chairman has said, the vote went in Ashley’s favour because the Newcastle United owner offered better terms. However, the Telegraph understands that the contents of the email between Somers and Barnes has perturbed the Scottish Football Association, which announced on Wednesday that it had rejected Ashley’s proposal to increase his Rangers shareholding to 29.9 per cent, which would give him almost total control of the beleaguered club. The request was made in person by Derek Llambias, Ashley’s lieutenant, who was appointed as Rangers’ chief executive last Friday – days after disciplinary charges were brought by the SFA stating that the billionaire businessman had exceeded the terms of an undertaking limiting his influence at Ibrox. The SFA’s refusal has cast serious doubt over the viability of a share issue due to be launched by Rangers in order to raise £8 million needed to meet the club’s financial needs for the next year. Had the SFA agreed to Ashley’s request, he would have underwritten the equity issue but it is now unclear how it will go ahead, if indeed it does go ahead. There are also questions to be answered about why votes were cast by board members against their own proposal, at Rangers’ annual general meeting on Monday, for an open share issue, rather than one principally confined to existing investors, such as Ashley. Meanwhile, one Rangers shareholder has written to the AiM investigations office, as well as the club’s LSE nominated adviser (NOMAD) and Ian Davidson, the MP whose constituency includes Ibrox, asking them to probe Somers’ conduct. The shareholder wrote: “On Tuesday 23rd December, the Telegraph newspaper online carried a story by journalist Roddy Forsyth, regarding an e-mail sent by the Rangers International Football Club Chairman David Somers to members of the board and surprisingly non-members, including a representative of Sports Direct - Justin Barnes. “The e-mail not only indicated the Chairman’s preference for investment by Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, it actively encouraged this investment, in order, it seems, to secure the Chairman’s position and that of other board members and strangely enough a non-member (one Sandy Easdale), who seems to be party to PLC Board internal communications and - if the e-mail is to be read correctly - acting as a shadow director. “A major concern for shareholders such as myself is, does activity such as this construe a “Concert Party” arrangement between board and non-board members with regards to overall boardroom influence?” The shareholder goes on to ask if Somers’ email is in breach of AiM and corporate governance practice and if it triggered a legal threat from Ashley to the Rangers chairman and/or other directors. The Telegraph understands that other Rangers shareholders are prepared to add their complaints to that already lodged with the financial regulators. All of which compounds the stormy backdrop against which caretaker manager Kenny McDowall – who was ordered by Llambias to take charge of the team after Ally McCoist was placed on gardening leave – must prepare the Rangers players for a tough fixture against Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday. Rangers have lost twice to Hearts and once to Hibs and Queen of the South, their principal rivals for promotion to the Scottish Premiership. They now trail Hearts by 12 points and currently they look set, at best, for the Scottish Championship play-offs – with 12 Ibrox players out of contract at the end of the season.
  17. Sons of Struth Just now · I have just been informed that the lawyer claiming to be acting on behalf of Mr & Mr Easdale, Mr Somers and RIFC has submitted to the crown an action against me and the emails i released last night The action is NOT against authenticity nor publication but he believes the emails have been obtained through illegal means. How could you obtain an email illegally if it were fake? The action in its self proves authenticity. I shared this email with the Rangers fans for one reason and one reason only, to show the members of our board are more interested in self preservation than the future of our club, I done so in the belief that the public had to see the email i was in possession of and without concern to any future action against me, I believe I have done the right thing. I will not be bullied in my attempts to clear our club of those controlling it for their own benefit and wish every man removed who does not put Rangers interests in front of their own I am unsure of the outcome of this action and what i will face tomorrow so i will therefore be taking a break from online activity until this outcome is known and will leave the page to the moderators to oversee with no further posts until things clear up Merry Christmas and happy New year to all in the Rangers Family Craig.
  18. The letter is as follows: We are writing as concerned shareholders regarding the conduct of the upcoming AGM for Rangers International Football Club PLC on Monday 22nd December 2014. At the AGM last year, held in December in the Ibrox Stadium Main Stand, the board used the excuse of the cold weather to cut short questions regarding their running of the company. They left queues of shareholders with questions unanswered. Mr Somers also chose to take multiple questions at a time which did not allow any chance for relevant follow up. Since then, we have seen what we regard as the further mismanagement of the company, inexplicable decisions on financing the company going forward and further undue influence applied to the PLC board by shareholders Sandy Easdale and Mike Ashley. With this in mind, we are writing to ensure that there will be no repeat of the board’s and particularly Mr Somers’ behaviour this year. We expect that all questions from shareholders will be answered, as they are asked, and that follow up questions will be allowed within reason. We do not expect multiple questions to be taken at a time. We do no expect Mr Somers to attempt to cut short shareholders rights on the basis of the weather. The company, and for many of us our football club, is in dire straits. The board remain unwilling to engage properly with their concerned shareholders and customers and this is the only opportunity we may have for another year to get the answers we require on the decisions they have made. We expect your full support in this matter and thank you for it in anticipation.
  19. International Football Club plc ("Rangers" or the "Company") Scottish Professional Football League Limited ("SPFL") Claim. The board of the SPFL has determined that Rangers Football Club Limited (the "Club") is liable to pay the EBT Commission fine of £250,000 levied on RFC 2012 PLC (previously The Rangers Football Club plc) (in liquidation) The SPFL has also decided that this sum will be recovered from the Club by the SPFL withholding broadcasting money and other sums due to the Club but which are paid in the first instance to the SPFL. An appeal has been lodged with the Judicial Panel of the Scottish FA which has confirmed that the decision of the SPFL is suspended pending the outcome of the appeal subject to the SPFL's right to object. The Board is advised that the sum is not due to SPFL and the appeal will be pursued vigorously.
  20. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12183967.html Who in the name of hell thought up this idea ? Put in your notice and receive a significant increase in salary ?
  21. UoF Statement on Retail Deal - 75p in every £10 goes to club "Since the release of the accounts for RIFC PLC, the focus has rightly been on the almost immediate requirement for more cash simply to pay bills and also the board’s wish to raise £8m in equity finance despite recently turning down a valid, fully funded offer for £16m. However, having had the accounts analysed by qualified accountants, we feel it is important to bring Rangers fans' attention to the absolutely disgraceful reality of the retail deal which has been entered into with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. We have become accustomed to David Somers', Comical Ali style proclamations about our club. He stated recently that Rangers "make quite a lot of money" from the Sports Direct deal but that is not how the accounts read in our analysis. In fact, despite the loyalty of the Rangers fans seeing £7.6m spent on retail in the year covered by the accounts, the club's share of that spending is a paltry £590k. That means that for every £10 spent by Rangers fans on merchandise, the club receives only around 75p. The accounts also reveal that Rangers Retail has an obligation to purchase stock at a higher price than it is able to be sold at. In the second half of the year covered by the accounts it appears that the portion of profit due to the club is an unbelievable £2k. For comparative purposes, the much maligned JJB agreement, our previous retail deal, made the club a minimum of £4.8m a year over the term of the deal, over 8x the amount we are making from Sports Direct. Crucially, it is also not clear whether the club has yet received a penny of the £590k it is due or whether it is still retained within Rangers Retail. Indeed, from inception it would appear that the club has only received £100k in dividends from the venture with Sports Direct. Mr Ashley has loaned money to strengthen his stranglehold over our commercial operations, whilst funds due to the club through Rangers Retail, over which Sports Direct has effective control, are retained. We have always feared that the deal Charles Green did with Sports Direct was dreadful for Rangers. Mr Somers' ridiculous defence of it, on behalf of this discredited and incompetent board, can be added to the list of reasons why he, the Easdale brothers, Norman Crighton and Derek Llambias are rightly distrusted by the vast majority of our fans. In light of the information revealed in the accounts we urge fans to stop buying merchandise from club stores, which are now under Mr Ashley’s full control or being shut down, and Sports Direct. Your loyalty is being abused and the club is not benefiting from the money you are pouring into Mr Ashley's pockets."
  22. Rangers Supporters @rangersfctrust · 2h2 hours ago The RST has tonight released the following statement:Read: http://tl.gd/n_1sj12bm The RST has tonight released the following statement: The Rangers Supporters Trust is disgusted to learn that a group of Celtic fans daubed offensive, sectarian graffiti, mocking the Ibrox disaster, on the walls of Tynecastle stadium during a recent visit there. We are even more disgusted by the attitude of Celtic Football Club towards this incident, which is to try to distance themselves from the behaviour of their fans rather than taking responsibility for it. We welcome Ann Budge's recent statement and fully support her attempts to highlight the disgraceful behaviour of a sizeable minority of the Celtic support. The group responsible for this are affiliated with The Green Brigade, who have been encouraged and tolerated by Celtic Football Club officials. This despite outward shows of support for the IRA and various offensive banners including one protesting against Remembrance Sunday. In the past few years we have seen riots in Dundee, wide-scale vandalism and disorder at Fir Park and Tynecastle and various acts of public disorder in Glasgow centred around Celtic fans. Throughout all this, Celtic's PR machine, has sought to quell reporting of these incidents and no substantive action has been taken against the perpetrators by the Celtic Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell. Celtic Football Club has a major, ongoing issue with their fans which their constant denial of facts will not solve. Their official fan groups, including the Celtic Trust, seek to legitimise this behaviour by, for instance, campaigning for the right to display public support for terrorism without penalty. We hope that belatedly, with their fans' disgraceful mocking of the Ibrox disaster, Celtic will start to take their hooliganism problem seriously and the SPFL and SFA will do likewise, despite the strong influence wielded by Celtic in their boardrooms
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