Glasgow & West Scotland

Football agent Kenny Moyes 'duped' in Rangers bid

Craig Whyte Image copyright PA
Image caption Craig Whyte is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow

The brother of football manager David Moyes was the "duped" middle man in an apparent "con" to try to buy Rangers before Craig Whyte took over the club.

Kenny Moyes introduced two people who got through the first stage of the buying process by making a bid using a fake bank letter, a court heard.

The evidence emerged in the trial of Mr Whyte who is accused of a fraudulent acquisition of Rangers in 2011.

He denies a charge of fraud and another under the Companies Act.

David Horne - Sir David Murray's lawyer and one of his most senior advisers - was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow.

Mr Horne, 54, was part of the Murray Group team involved in the Rangers sale.

The jury has heard how Whyte, 46, struck a £1 deal to takeover the club from Sir David in 2011. But, prior to that, a number of individuals were said to have shown interest in Rangers.

Kenny Moyes contacted then Ibrox chief executive Martin Bain in 2010 about two people apparently keen to purchase Sir David Murray's controlling stake at the club.

The agent - brother of ex-Manchester United boss David Moyes - introduced English-based Rangers fan Ian Anderson and a Dutch national as being keen on a buyout.

Image caption Several people were said to be interested in buying Rangers before Mr Whyte came forward in 2011

They were said to have up to 50m euros (£42m) to invest with a letter from a Belgian bank that apparently confirmed this.

Mr Horne said "on the face of it" this seemed to be an interest in the club, but said it was discovered that Mr Anderson was a banned director.

The bank letter was then found to be a forgery.

Mr Horne told Craig Whyte's lawyer Donald Findlay QC: "We let Kenny Moyes down gently as I think he was the victim of a con as well."

Mr Findlay: "He had been duped?"

Mr Horne: "I believe so, yes."

A man named as Vladimir Antonov - said to be a chairman of a Lithuanian bank - was also described as being interested in the takeover of Rangers.

Mr Horne said that when the offer came in, he thought: "Oh no."

He believed the reaction of the supporters to such a bid would have been "one of horror".

'Motley crew'

Among other concerns surrounding Mr Antonov were claims the FBI had been looking at a business deal he was involved in, the trial was told.

Mr Horne said "right or not", it had been "certainly of concern".

Mr Findlay said these individuals were part of a "motley crew" of people supposedly keen to buy Rangers before Mr Whyte came forward.

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 Judge Lady Stacey, continues.

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