Just when you thought it was safe to take your eyes off Ibrox (except for the roofs) another bombshell detonates over the club, this time via an old source of frustration and annoyance; the Worthington Group, the company often linked to Craig Whyte and which claims actual ownership of Ibrox and Murray Park due to their ministry of the company we know of as Sevco 5088, the one that was legally contracted to buy the assets before they found their way to Sevco Scotland Ltd.
Now, these are matters of huge legal consequence and highly contentious. Aiden Earley, the guy who’s announced this action, isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue. He’s been involved with a lot of bad people and done a lot of bad things. But this, as you’ll well know, doesn’t interfere in the slightest with his own legal rights. If he thinks he’s been conned or libelled he’s perfectly entitled to respond to that, and to seek recourse in the courts.
Well, he’s taking legal action against Dave King, Paul Murray and named others for “tortious interference” – a legal term (which I’ve long suspected could be used against King by Mike Ashley amongst others) which is defined as something that “occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff’s contractual or other business relationships.”
They’re also being sued for fraud. This is in relation to King’s reported purchase of the Charlotte Fakeover documents, which I’ve written about before and which King handed over to prosecutors involved in the Whyte case.
According to Earley, the purpose of leaking these documents was twofold; first to drive down the share price of Sevco, so that King and Murray could grab control for as little outlay as possible. This has been covered on this blog and elsewhere so many times it would be a waste to go over it again, but this kind of activity constitutes fraud. If they did it they committed a crime.
But Earley doesn’t stop there; he alleges that the same information is being used to cast doubt on Worthington, first by continuing to link them to Craig Whyte (as if his own associations with him aren’t enough) and to destabilise their ongoing process of contesting the ownership of the assets of the defunct Rangers.
Let me be blunt; this is a fight you would hope would go on until all parties were a bloody, exhausted mess. You wouldn’t particularly care who won or lost.
There are no “good guys” here, just a bunch of toe-rags fighting over scraps. But in the middle of all this, of course, is Sevco itself. The club is what they are pulling each other’s hair out over and as everyone involved is an unscrupulous sod there’s no telling who might win or what scorched earth tactics they might use on each other.
No other club in the country is facing litigation on so many fronts.
No other club in the land has so many direct and indirect threats to its very existence, multiple sources of potential trauma and extinction level disaster circling them overhead like vultures.
Earley’s legal challenge does seem to bear out much of what we’ve been saying for a while.
It’s now pretty much accepted that King purchased those criminally obtained files and that he did so for the purpose of undermining the former Ibrox board. If he’s used them to attack Worthington then Earley, for all his own sins, is perfectly entitled to challenge that. And Worthington’s claim on the assets of Rangers is still “current” and was referenced in a Worthington press release as recently as October.
(Earley’s report on King and his people was published on his own website, but it is doubtless a Worthington circular.)
In October, the following paragraph appeared in their circular to shareholders about Worthington’s own legal difficulties. (This company is a mess, but it’s still going unlike one we could mention.)
“It remains the view of the Directors that the Company has, through its ownership of Law Financial Limited, claims relating to the administration of Rangers Football Club, the sale of its assets and the liquidation of RFC 2012 Plc.”
Anyone who thought that issue had gone away or that the problems relating to it will hasn’t been following these affairs closely enough. The Sevco accounts still have to state those “ongoing issues” as a potential barrier to any future fund raising measures … and are one of the reasons King might not have been able to launch a share issue even if his board had squeaked over the line and won the vote at the recent AGM.
This club’s problems just keep mounting up … but as we can see here, many of those problems are directly proportionate to the man in the chairman’s office. His penchant for legal drama has become theirs. His inability to stay out of the courts is what puts the club there over and over again, and although he’s been in there for over a year now and gets better press than a man with so many criminal convictions deserves or would expect, there’s never really been a reckoning for the way he was allowed to assume his seat.
But that reckoning has been coming.
Tonight we’re one step closer to it.