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Rangers under tax investigation

Thu 29th Apr 2010 | Money & Finance

Rangers have admitted that they are being investigated by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The focus of the investigation is on payments made into off-shore accounts. The club, which has debts of around £30 million, is also on the look-out for a prospective buyer. Businessman Andrew Ellis is a serious candidate and BBC Scotland reports that this investigation is not a deterrent for him. 

A statement released by the club says, "There is an ongoing query raised by HMRC which is part of a pending court case. On the basis of expert tax advice provided to Rangers, the club is robustly defending the matters raised. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

The Rangers are now slated to go directly to the group stages of the Champions League for next season without playing any qualifiers because of Lyon's loss to Bayern Munich in the Tuesday semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Rangers have clarified the status of the ticket income and said that it has not been "ring-fenced" by the club's bank as an effort to deal with the debt. "This is totally incorrect and discussions with the bank in relation to the business plan will take place in the coming weeks. The club would also like to reiterate once again that at no time has director Dave King made an offer to purchase Rangers Football Club."

The club has not bought a player in three transfer windows as its bank, Lloyds Banking Group, is trying to control the debt. Despite the economic bleakness, the club under manager Walter Smith has won two consecutive league titles including the one won on Sunday.

Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston, who is based in the United States, is expected in Scotland next week and will be meeting with Ellis; he is expected to talk to Smith to persuade him to continue in his position. He has said that money will be available for squad strengthening and minimised the impact of the HMRC investigation, which is being dealt with by the parent company of Rangers' owner Sir David Murray. Johnston said, "It is not a new problem. It has been there for a long time, so this just hasn't come up. This is more in the holding company of Murray's. It has been one that the Murray Group has been taking care of and been involved in on a day-to-day basis in the past and I would continue to defer to them on that one."

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