Today Joey Barton got an 18 month total ban from football, for betting on over 1200 games in a ten year period.
This was an English FA punishment. When the SFA disciplined him – albeit after his Sevco contract ended – for 44 offences committed whilst he was a player here they banned him for a paltry one match. He is the third Sevco player to be accused of that.
The light this casts on Ibrox is pitiless, especially at a time when Craig Whyte is in one court, HMRC is battling in another, Dave King is facing his own date with the beaks and others loom in the distance. It is astounding to me that so much turmoil and scandal has roots in one place.
It sometimes seems like everyone with any connection to that place is wound up in something.
Even as all this was going on, news broke across Asia that Bill Ng, who had made a bid to buy the assets of the DeadCo at the same time as Green, had been arrested in Singapore for misuse of club funds in relation to two teams he owns over there.
You’ll also recall that one of Green’s proposed investors was on an Interpol wanted list.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Sandy Easdale was, of course, imprisoned for fraud. Zeus Capital, who owned shares in the club and had a major say in the boardroom process, was run by a guy called Richard Hughes. He was charged with tax fraud in January last year.
When Dave King announced that he’d found £5 million to pay off Mike Ashley last year, one of the “named sources” of the cash was a Hong Kong based accountant who had been censured by the Stock Exchange and banned from practicing for three years due to “errors” which led to another fraud investigation.
One of the names missing from the trial rolls is Imran Ahmad, the man Charles Green referred to with a racist epiteph, leading to his own resignation as club chairman. The two of them still face their own criminal case involving the takeover of Rangers assets and the formation of Sevco, not that it matters to Ahmad who fled the jurisdiction and has steadfastly refused to return to Scotland because, he says, he fears being fitted up by the police.
The brokerage firm he and Green appointed to run the club’s share issue – Cenkos Securities – were fined and sanctioned last year for failure to do “due diligence” in a deal they helped put together.
I could talk about the fans, about how one of the co-founders of their biggest supporter organisation is a convicted thug. How their choice as “fan on the board” had to quit after 36 hours because his Twitter feed came to light. Of how an investigation into the organiser of a drive to have fans do maintanence work in the stadium – nice way to get around all those heavy costs and keep their certificate – led to that scheme falling apart, a bit like the ground itself.
It would be remiss not to mention rioting and sectarian singing, of course.
And all of this is to say nothing of Dave King himself, and the 300 plus charges laid against him by the South African tax authorities and for which he should have been banned from sitting on the board of any football club, anywhere in the UK.
No other club that I am aware of has been involved with so many dodgy geezers, and they’re only five years old. Since before they were even set up they have been linked with a variety of scam artists and chancers, and they were established under decidedly abnormal conditions.
Even the firm which carried out the administration of OldCo Rangers found itself and those who handled that case appearing in court under indictment, although all those charges were subsequently dropped. Who knows where that affair might yet end up?
There’s no end in sight to this.
The criminal cases alone could take years.
Civil actions after the fact are certain.
Sevco is in utter turmoil at the moment, and who in their right mind would touch the club?
They cannot escape the stink of scandal … and others are equally tainted.
Stewart Regan springs automatically to mind.