Rangers malicious prosecution scandal has cost taxpayer AT LEAST £57m

Paul Clark (right) and David Whitehouse (left) won damages from the Crown Office
Paul Clark (right) and David Whitehouse (left) won damages from the Crown Office worth over £30 million.

By Lucy Ashton

The malicious prosecution scandal relating to the takeover of Rangers has cost the taxpayer at least a “gut-wrenching” £57.4 million – with the true figure even higher.

The Crown has been forced to pay out millions in compensation to figures connected with the purchase of the Ibrox club in 2012.

After Rangers were taken into administration by controversial former owner Craig Whyte, the club’s assets were purchased by a consortium led by Charles Green. It resulted in the Scottish giants being booted out of the top division and having to work their way through the senior pyramid.

The Scottish Daily Express is reporting that a string of figures connected to the takeover were charged in relation to the deal. Among them were David Whitehouse and Paul Clark, who worked for Rangers’ administrators Duff and Phelps – now Kroll – and launched civil proceedings after their charges were dropped.

The Scottish Government has now admitted they were handed £15 million and £14 million respectively after the Crown acknowledged their prosecutions were “malicious”. Kroll as a company received nearly £15.5 million for reputational damage while the club’s former chairman Charles Green walked away with nearly £7 million.

His associate Imran Ahmad is currently waiting for a decision after his own proceedings against the Crown but has received £342,748 so far. Legal fees have reached almost £6 million but as staff costs are not included, the true cost to the taxpayer is not yet known, reports the Scottish Sun.

A public inquiry will be held into the scandal but Scottish Conservative MSP and community safety spokesman Russell Findlay said: “To see the full cost of the Rangers malicious prosecution scandal laid bare is truly shocking.

“With the justice system already feeling the pain of SNP cuts, it’s gut-wrenching that tens of millions of pounds has been wasted on eye-watering compensation payment and bumper paydays for lawyers. The final cost will almost certainly increase, yet no-one has been held to account. Waiting for a public inquiry should not be used as an excuse for inaction.”

Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC,  the Supreme Court and Russell Findlay MSP.

As well as Clark, Whitehouse, Green and Ahmad, Whyte himself was pursued by police and prosecutors and stood trial for fraud in 2017 but was cleared in June that year. David Grier, another executive at Duff and Phelps, is appealing to the Supreme Court after his own compensation bid was knocked back.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, a member of Humza Yousaf’s government cabinet, said: “The Scottish Government have committed to a process of a judge-led inquiry once all legal proceedings relating to the malicious prosecutions are at an end. The exact form and timing of an inquiry will be determined once all legal proceedings are concluded.”

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