Did the Directors of Rangers Football Club PLC Mislead the PLUS Stock Exchange re Craig Whyte’s Disqualification?
On 30th November 2011 the Rangers directors issued a statement to the PLUS SX.
The statement read:
The Rangers Football Club P.L.C.
The information in the paragraph below is disclosed pursuant to paragraph 18 of
Appendix 1 of the PLUS Rules.
Craig Whyte was disqualified to act as a director of Vital UK Limited in 2000
for a period of seven years.
The Directors of The Rangers Football Club P.L.C. accept responsibility for
That was the issue which had dogged Mr Whyte since the Mark Daly’s brilliant BBC documentary on him was shown in October, and was a problem as Mr Whyte had failed, allegedly, to declare this to the PLUS SX and to the SFA and SPL. He also, of course, had failed to mention this trifling matter to STV when he was interviewed before the BBC documentary was screened.
However, even in such a brief statement, there seem to be a couple of problems.
First of all, any order disqualifying a director, in terms of The Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, any such disqualification applies to all UK companies, not just a named one. There are circumstances where, for example, shareholders might try to remove a director, but that is different from a ban imposed by the court following an Insolvency Service investigation.
The second issue is the name of the company referred to in the statement.
Vital UK Limited is a name used by more than one company in the past, so I thought I would have a look to see which one it was.
Vital (UK) Ltd of Milton Keynes, Company Number 05123705 was incorporated in 2004 and dissolved in 2005, so it is not that one.
Vital (UK) Ltd of Bristol, Company Number 05706268 was incorporated in 2006 and dissolved in 2010, so it is not that one.
Vital UK Ltd of London Company Number 02919664 was incorporated in 1994 and dissolved in 2003. This looks better, but (a) there is no trace of Mr Whyte having been a director of this company and (b) a Liquidator ran the company from appointment in November 1995 until dissolution.
Mr Whyte is listed however as having been a director of Vital Plant Services Ltd, Company Number 03122782 – dissolved as of 29th Jan 2002; Vital Holdings Ltd, Company Number 03099824 – dissolved as of 26th Apr 2005 and Vital Security Ltd., Company Number 03122730 – dissolved as of 18th Apr 2000.
Vital Security Ltd – this includes amongst its former directors Kevin Sykes, identified by the BBC Inside Story programme as a convicted fraudster, and in Companies House records as a disqualified director, and Kenneth McLeod, the former accountant alleged in the programme to have been struck off. Mr Whyte is listed as a director too.
Vital Plant Services Ltd – Messrs Whyte and McLeod are named amongst the Directors here.
Vital Holdings Ltd – Messrs Whyte and McLeod are named amongst the Directors here as well.
On the basis that a disqualification normally follows an insolvency investigation, this might suggest that it was in fact Vital Security where Mr Whyte’s disqualification stemmed from.
Does it therefore appear that Rangers Football Club PLC have made an incorrect statement to the PLUS SX?
If so, this would be a breach of the rules of the Exchange, as well, I am told, as a breach of company law, and can be punished by the PLUS SX. If the Exchange decides its rules have been breached than the company can be punished by (a) a censure; (b) a published censure; (c) a fine of up to £100,000 or (d) a suspension or cancellation of dealing in the company’s shares.
One would have thought that bearing in mind the furore which resulted in the above statement having to be made then surely someone in Rangers should have checked to see if they had named the correct company otherwise the statement that “Craig Whyte was disqualified to act as a director of Vital UK Limited” would not have been made.
Maybe this is just another mere “technicality”, but I think we’ll just put this one down to an honest mistake…
I suppose when one is a billionaire with wealth off the radar then such details are left to the little people.