Glasgow & West Scotland

Whyte trial hears of 'third party' funding

Craig Whyte arriving at High court in Glasgow
Image caption Craig Whyte denies fraudulently acquiring the Ibrox side

Craig Whyte claimed he told Sir David Murray that he would not be buying Rangers solely from his own funds, a court has heard.

The High Court in Glasgow was shown an email, sent by Mr Whyte two months before he took over the club, in which he said much of the deal would be paid for from a third party fund.

Mr Whyte denies a charge of acquiring Rangers by fraud in May 2011.

He also denies a second charge under the Companies Act.

The court also heard that the ticket firm said to have helped fund Mr Whyte's Rangers takeover wanted their involvement to be kept secret.

Ticketus had concerns it may "embarrass" then Ibrox owner Sir David Murray as well as upset supporters.

The claims emerged as Ross Bryan - a fund manager for Ticketus - gave evidence for a second day.

The 38 year-old was quizzed by Mr Whyte's QC Donald Findlay about the company's involvement in the buy out.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir David Murray sold Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1

Prosecutors state Whyte took out a loan from Ticketus against three years season tickets to help fund the takeover.

Mr Bryan said the firm was not "publicity hungry".

Mr Findlay went on to suggest Ticketus "wanted their involvement kept secret".

The witness agreed and added there was a potential "embarrassment" for Sir David if it became known.

It was also claimed fans may "boycott" buying season tickets if they "objected".

But Mr Findlay went on to state Ticketus were "only interested in securing" their transaction whether it "upset" anyone or not.

The QC: "You wanted this deal to go through?"

Mr Bryan: "Once we got to a certain stage, we expected it to close."

Mr Findlay then suggested it was "celebratory" for Ticketus.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Donald Findlay QC is defending Craig Whyte in the case at Glasgow High Court

The QC said: "All you were interested in was getting this deal done?"

Mr Bryan: "Only in the context of selling the tickets - that's the trade of Ticketus."

The trial also heard that the firm had previously been involved with other major clubs including Manchester United.

Prosecutors allege Mr Whyte pretended to Sir David Murray, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a "controlling and majority stake" in the club.

The Crown alleges Mr Whyte had only £4m available from two sources at the time but took out a £24m loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales.

The court has heard the sale was eventually made to Mr Whyte for £1 but came with obligations to pay an £18m bank debt, a £2.8m "small tax case" bill, £1.7m for stadium repairs, £5m for players and £5m in working capital.

The second charge under the Companies Act centres on the £18m payment between Mr Whyte's Wavetower company and Rangers to clear a bank debt.

The trial before eight men and seven women continues.

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