Let’s talk, for a minute, about the Known Known’s, as Donald Rumsfeld once called them, which is to say, let’s talk about the things we know we know.
For over a decade, Rangers operated a system called EBT’s.
It was a tax scam. Tax avoidance, to use the lawyerly term which hides a multitude of sins. The legal profession is great at that. We know this happened. There’ve been enough articles and documentaries and statements about it that the fact of it is not in the slightest doubt.
We also know that in an effort to conceal what they were doing, Rangers withheld that information from the governing bodies.
We know there were two tax cases, one big and one small.
The Discounted Options Scheme was not simply a tax dodge, it was a fraud. It was tax evasion, the ugly older brother of avoidance. It was against the law. It was ruled as such in advance of the Big Tax Case, the one which is before the courts. Its legality is not in the slightest doubt any longer.
We know that the bill for this act of tax avoidance was sent to Ibrox, that it was not disputed by the board, that it should have been paid and that it remained unpaid when the club was given a European license in 2011, in spite of having a “tax payable due.”
We know Lord Nimmo Smith did not differentiate between the two separate tax cases, although they were separate issues, one ruled illegal, one still being contested in law. We know the basis of his decision not to strip titles was based on a misapplication of the law; he said that because these schemes were legal – remember that one wasn’t – any club could have used them. This was the basis of “no sporting advantage.”
We know that’s a sham. We always have.
Next week, the Supreme Court will fill in the last of the blanks. If they rule, as most of expect, that the Big Tax Case was a tax fraud the final underpinning of the LNS ruling collapses beneath it. Even if that verdict were not already a scandal and the inquiry tainted and rendered irrelevant by the failure to separate the two different tax schemes, it will be destroyed if the highest court in the land says that what Rangers were involved in was tax evasion.
This is the very definition of a “game-changer.”
I’ll be on holiday next week, but a full and detailed examination on this will be ready to go in the event the Supreme Court brings in the verdict we expect. The dominos will fall quick on this one. If the club doesn’t make a statement the fans will be appalled.
If a new inquiry isn’t proposed and set up it will be an outrage on top of the rest.
There is no hiding from this. If our game is to be based on openness and fairness, if it is to respect the meaning of the phrase “sporting integrity” this has to be done. Sevco fans will wail. Their board will react in fury, but that’s just too damned bad.
They’ve evaded this for five long years but it was never going to end the way they wanted it to.
If Rangers are found guilty those titles have to go.
There’s one week to go.
All of you, get ready for it.