Rangers: King group suspends trio from football board

Derek Llambias, Sandy Easdale and Barry Leach
Derek Llambias, Sandy Easdale and Barry Leach in the Ibrox stand

Rangers have suspended Derek Llambias, Barry Leach and Sandy Easdale from their football club board pending an internal investigation.

Former chief executive Llambias and director Leach had already been removed from the parent company board.

Bus company owner Easdale had been chairman of the football board.

Rangers' new controlling consortium had promised an investigation into "various contracts and deals" following their takeover on Friday.

It took control following an extraordinary meeting at which South Africa-based businessman Dave King won a vote among shareholders to oust the plc board.

And on Tuesday it was announced that businessmen John Bennett and Chris Graham have been added to the Rangers International Football Club plc board as non-executive directors.

Solicitor James Blair, a partner in partner in Anderson Strathern, has been appointed company secretary.

Of the departures, Rangers said in a statement: "It is also noted that Mr Llambias and Mr Leach, along with Sandy Easdale, have been advised that a resolution to remove them as directors of the company has been received by the company.

Paul Murray and Dave King
Paul Murray is interim chairman as part of Dave King's controlling group

"A meeting may be required for this purpose, but it is hoped that this will not prove necessary."

The trio have three weeks to respond to their suspension.

They have been replaced with Paul Murray, who was appointed acting chairman of the plc board on Friday, fellow directors Douglas Park and John Gilligan, plus the club's head of football administration, Andrew Dickson.

An Easdale family spokesman said: "We are surprised at Rangers' announcement bearing in mind there is no power in Scottish law to suspend a director. We also note mention of an investigation. Sandy Easdale has absolutely nothing to fear from any investigation."

King plans to eventually become chairman but has held off joining the board until it is determined if the Stock Exchange and Scottish FA approve his appointment.

The previous board raised doubts about the Scot's suitability because of his convictions for tax offences in South Africa.

Bennett, 51, director of European Equities at Henderson Global Investors, and Graham, 38, of Graham Consulting Solutions Limited, join Murray, Gilligan and Park on the plc board.

The former was involved with Murray's Blue Knights consortium, which launched a failed 2012 bid for Rangers.

David Somers, who had been club chairman, and Easdale's brother, James, resigned from the plc board before Friday's meeting.

Llambias and Leach, who was finance director, still have executive contracts with Rangers and are business associates of shareholder Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner.

Ashley's business has a contract to run Rangers' retail operation and the Englishman has also helped keep the Scottish Championship club afloat this season, lending the club £5m in January.

However, his own desire to increase his shareholding in the Glasgow club was thwarted by the Scottish FA, which subsequently fined Ashley £7,500 this month for breaching dual ownership rules because of his interest in Newcastle.