Rangers boardroom battle: Dave King gets the all-clear from the Stock Exchange to return to Ibrox   

Tuesday 29 October, 2013

Update 2: The article has now been edited to suggest that Dave King may by free to invest in The Rangers International Football Club PLC. Unfortunately for the Daily Record, King does not need financial regulatory approval to spend what money he may or may not have.

Update: It seems the LSE is denying the quotes and that the Daily Record’s story is untrue. I’ve quoted the entire copy of the online article at the bottom in case it gets changed.

Classic Daily Record: headline does not reflect the content of the story and the quotes have been twisted to suit the agenda. John Ferguson writes:

Dave King has been given the go-ahead to return to the Rangers boardroom by the London Stock Exchange.

A spokesman for the LSE last night confirmed the businessman would be free to become chairman so long as Ibrox advisers rubber-stamped the move.

I had a look in the reports and there were these issues in South Africa, the other thing was that he had been on the board previously.

So the question would be whether these things would stop him taking a stake again.

I think the answer on both these points is they wouldn’t.

From the Exchange’s point of view if we are satisfied Rangers’ nominated adviser Daniel Stewart and Company has carried out the correct checks then he would be allowed to make this investment.

Note my emphasis above of the phrase “taking a stake”; it appears that the un-named LSE spokesman only responded to a query about whether King could invest in The Rangers International Football Club PLC, yet Ferguson eagerly reaches the conclusion that the response given means that King can – and will – become chairman of the company.

So, despite the Record’s best attempts, the LSE has not quite said King is free to join the board of The Rangers International Football Club PLC, merely that if the company’s nominated advisers have done their homework and King is clear of any legal impediments, he could invest.

There’s something of the Craig Whyte-esque myth-making about this story, especially the part about King arriving in South Africa “in the 1970s with £10 in his pocket but went on to build up a £200m fortune as a high-powered financial consultant.”

I’m not doubting King’s rise to riches, but as far as I am aware, he was transferred to South Africa in the 1970s by his employer, the Weir Group. It seems unlikely he would have only had £10 in his pocket if he was sent there to work by his employer, but the Daily Record sure loves a rags-to-riches story where Rangers are concerned.

The story also neglects to elaborate on the line about King setting up a stud farm with the famous golfer Gary Player. Only last month, King was forced to settle out of court after claiming Player failed to repay him a R6.1m loan in relation to said stud farm, having originally sued the golfer for R33m.

It seems relevant that a so-called multi-millionaire would be so unsure of his chances of recovering a £350,000 debt that he would be forced to settle out of court.

However, the most telling part of the article is a quote from the current Rangers manager Ally McCoist, who was quizzed following his side’s victory against East Fife at the weekend about King’s business dealings in Scotland:

I haven’t had a chance to talk to him in great detail but effectively it’s none of my business.

Quite right Ally: It’s none of your business.

Fact Howler 1: King did not pay the South African Revenue Service £44.75m. He paid £44.54m.

Fact Howler 2: Dave King did not “strike a deal with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to settle a long-running £227million tax dispute”. He was convicted by the South Africa Prosecuting Authority after pleading guilty to 41 contraventions of section 75 of the South Africa Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 and was sentenced according to his plea agreement.

Entire Daily Record article:

A QUESTION mark had hung over the former Rangers director’s possible return due to his South African tax conviction but a spokesman for the Stock Exchange says the way is clear for King to take his place at Ibrox.

DAVE King has been given the go-ahead to return to the Rangers boardroom by the London Stock Exchange.

A spokesman for the LSE last night confirmed the businessman would be free to become chairman so long as Ibrox advisers rubber-stamped the move.

It had been thought King’s South African tax conviction and his previous board appointment at Ibrox may have stood in the way of a comeback.

But a spokesman for the LSE, where Rangers shares are listed on the Alternative Investments Market (AIM), appeared to clear the way for King to plough money into the club.

He told Record Sport: “I had a look in the reports and there were these issues in South Africa, the other thing was that he had been on the board previously.

“So the question would be whether these things would stop him taking a stake again.

“I think the answer on both these points is they wouldn’t.

“From the Exchange’s point of view if we are satisfied Rangers’ nominated adviser Daniel Stewart and Company has carried out the correct checks then he would be allowed to make this investment.”

King is believed to have met Paul Shackleton of Daniel Stewart yesterday to discuss returning to Ibrox as chairman.

Earlier this year he struck a deal with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to settle a long-running £227million tax dispute.

He agreed to pay SARS £44.75m after admitting he owed income tax, and in return the revenue service agreed to drop prosecutions over dozens of criminal fraud charges.

He pled guilty to having contravened tax legislation by failing to provide correct information about earnings.

The payment agreement was reached as an alternative to an 82-year jail term for 41 counts of breaching tax legislation.

During his 10-year legal battle a judge once said of King: “He has no respect for the truth and does not
hesitate to lie … if he thinks it will be to his advantage. He is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by objective evidence.

“In our assessment he is a glib and shameless liar.”

King arrived in South Africa in the 1970s with £10 in his pocket but went on to build up a £200m fortune as a high-powered financial consultant.

He also had a seaside holiday home, a £165,000 Ferrari, £64,000 Mercedes-Benz and two private jets worth £14m.

King bought up vineyards too and, along with golf legend pal Gary Player, ploughed £1m into a stud farm.

SARS began to ask questions when the tycoon claimed to be earning only £5000 a year.

King’s defence was that nearly everything he had was owned by an offshore company called Ben Nevis.

He flew into Glasgow Airport on Friday to hold meetings with the Rangers board, and was last night thought to have headed to London to continue discussions with the LSE and Daniel Stewart.

Under stock exchange rules, should regulators have any questions about his suitability to be a director, Daniel Stewart and Company would have to signal to AIM that it had carried out due diligence on King before putting him forward as a board member of a publicly listed company.

Meanwhile, Gers boss Ally McCoist said: “I saw Dave briefly at the East Fife game. We exchanged pleasantries and spoke about the match.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him in great detail but effectively it’s none of my business.”

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