Glasgow & West Scotland

Rangers win right to appeal over Imran Ahmad cash freeze

Rangers FC Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rangers have said they may be unable to pay creditors if a forthcoming £4m rights issue fails

Rangers have been granted leave to challenge a decision to freeze £620,000 of club assets in a legal dispute with former commercial director Imran Ahmad.

Mr Ahmad claims he is owed £500,000 for an unpaid bonus and another £120,000 for legal costs from the Ibrox club.

He had cash ring-fenced after the club said it would be unable to pay bills if a planned £4m rights issue failed.

A judge said granting Rangers the right to appeal would help raise fresh cash and ultimately "benefit both parties".

Rangers are still legally obliged to have the cash set aside.

Mr Ahmad, who had twice lost court bids to have Rangers' assets ring-fenced, claims he is owed £500,000 for negotiating deals and wants another £120,000 to cover legal expenses.

'Fresh capital'

His third attempt was successful at the Court of Session on Friday.

Following the judgement, Rangers said there had been an "error of law" and would appeal the decision.

During a hearing at the same court on Tuesday, Lord Stewart decided that granting Rangers the right to appeal would "facilitate the raising of fresh capital" through the open offer and ultimately "benefit both parties".

Image copyright SNS
Image caption Imran Ahmad claims he is owed a £500,000 bonus from Rangers for negotiating the club's kit deal

He also urged Rangers to come to a deal with Mr Ahmad over security for the sum while the sides wait for the case to return to court.

The club's QC Alan Summers told the court that Lord Stewart had taken a different view to two other law lords who have already examined the case and found there was no "substantial risk" of the club going bust.

He also questioned the decision to ring-fence the club's assets when it claimed it would be in a position to pay any costs by the time the case is ultimately resolved in the new year.

Appeal hearing

But Mr Ahmad's lawyer Kenny McBrearty argued that Lord Stewart should ignore those claims because, by the club's own admission, its financial circumstances had changed since the case was heard earlier this year.

In the end, it was Mr Summers' claim that the decision to ring-fence cash may "inconvenience" this month's share issue which persuaded Lord Stewart to grant appeal, although he stressed that decision in "no way" implied any judgement about the strength of Mr Ahmad's claim or the eventual outcome of the case.

The judge said: "The granting of the right to appeal may facilitate the raising of fresh capital through the upcoming rights issue and that would only benefit both parties."

The appeal hearing, however, may not take place until November unless an earlier date can be found.

The full hearing for Mr Ahmad's claim to a 5% bonus for setting up the club's £10m kit deal with Puma is due to take place either that same month or in the following January.

Following Tuesday's decision, Rangers said: "The company confirms that the Court of Session in Edinburgh has granted the company leave to appeal the court's decision to grant an order allowing Mr Ahmad to arrest funds in Rangers bank account or the accounts of others who may be due to pay sums to Rangers.

"This is a procedural step in the appeal process and the court has not yet considered the merits of the appeal.

"If the appeal is successful, the court's decision of 5 September 2014 will be overturned and the funds arrested will be released."

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