Tag Archives: HBOS

What Does The Fiscal know …

18 Nov

As it stands we all need to be careful.  Screw with “Innocent until Proven Guilty” at your own personal peril.  As it stands four lawyer accountant types are on Bail and a former company Director whereabouts unknown has a arrest warrant out against him.  The Criminal Justice system will deal with these individuals without favour or bias.  Guilt will either be proved beyond a reasonable doubt or the charges will be admolished.  That’s how the Criminal system works, try to prejudge courts or generally interfere with it and YOU end up in the cells.

So it’s with caution I write and would urge you to be careful.  I am not going to argue and say your right or wrong, I am going to say be careful don’t mess with Criminal Legal Processes. 

The Police have investigated conjugated and digested, dug deep into the dealings between Sir David Murray Craig Whyte. They passed information into the Proculator Fiscal who has decided that enough seems wrong to be tested in a court of law. Where beyond a reasonable doubt is the point of guilt.

I wonder if anyone over Hampden way is thinking what did they miss because in open court with the public benches filled with Press the whole sordid affair and timeline will be played out for all to see. The fit and proper person test only has a balance of probabilities proof point. In a way it does not matter what the verdict of Glasgow and Strathkelvin Sheriff Court is, there will be fingers pointing and questions asked of the SFA. Did the SFA/SPL simply trust what they were told by Whyte and Sir David Murray?

SDM facing the deadly duo of both Banks and HMRC chasing him for money. His whole live’s work under threat his company Murray International Holdings. There had to come a point when something had to go and to get Lloyds Banking Group out of your hair on the Vanity Executive Box Folly down the M8 was easy shifted. After years of promising the public he would take care whom he passed Rangers onto well when the heat is wrongly on you it’s easy to see why standards slipped. Sir David may even of been pressured by the bank to take the £1 so they could get their millions. This reduction of his MIH group debt may of been a condition to maintain the rest of his business. Whatever the reason it happened.

The problem for me has always been why the Association who had promised checks and balances of Club ownership after Gretna, failed to be one suspicious. Remember if there is enough for the Proculator Fiscal to press charges then there is surely enough evidence for the balance of probabilities over Hampden way. There has to of been enough free evidence to trigger an investigstion. The claw back of £24 million from comapnies involved in Craig Whyte’s regime begins a careful process of realisation even for the likes of Stewart Regan. At what point did Regan and Doncaster begin to realise that they had been negligent in discharging their stated duty? Surely even today there is enough to revisit as to ensure the security of Scottish Football Clubs.

So whatever and whomever is found Guilty or otherwise in the Palace of Justice that is Glasgow And Strathkelvin Sheriff Court on Clyde Place surely it only increases the pressure on the office bearers within Hampden.

Right now there is half a chance that the whole Rangers affair was a massive con. Proved in an open Scottish Court the whole thing was a fraud. The bare minimum seems to be that the whole transaction was more than dubious. A reasonably solvent business was destroyed by a few (possible con) men and one of the authorities whom had proclaimed it to be their mission to avoid any dubious owners of member clubs, allowed the con to happen.

Entrusting the current Guardians of the game to ensure fair play and ownership of clubs means I expect the Proceeds of Crime Department to be taking ownership of Clubs before anyone over at Hampden digs out the “Fit and Proper Persons Criteria” file. Even with the reduced proof requirement of only balance of probabilities someone looked the other way at worse and was completely incompetent at best.

Even before the Criminal Investigation into the Sale of Rangers to Craig Whyte questions and concerns were being raised regards what exactly constituted “Unfit” in the judgement of SFA/SPL with charges being brought and Criminal proceedings begginging these questions and concerns have blown up in the face of the Association and others.

So the question that should be asked by the Scottish Footballs Powers that be surely is “What does the fiscal know?”

The question asked by the thousands of Rangers fans and to be fair increasingly worried fans of other clubs in Scotland (worried that if a massive aledged con can happen at Rangers then it could happen anywhere) are asking is. What happens now? Already using the SFA SPL own standards the balance of probabilities is that SFA/SPL/SFL compounded and condoned the dodgey dealings of a discredited Director then punished the victim.

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Hearts and The Shysters Charter

21 Jun

Brian Jackson, Neil Patey this close seasons big signings in Scottish Football.  To be fair both have been around a while.  Experienced with proven track record an asset to anyone who requires their skills.  The shame is Brian and Neil are not players they are football finance experts and in a world of internet forums every fan in Scotland is fast becoming competent with the ins and outs of football finance.

I watch with horror as another club looks likely to be liquidated.  Not placed into administration, liquidated.  Every piece of information I have seems to point to the fact Hearts will be liquidated before new season kicks off.  Reasons are simple debts out multiply annual income by over 3.5 times. Three and a half is around the maximum ratio.

Back in the old days when Bank Managers were respected and a mortgage meant a few meetings with this man not a quick hassle free phone call. Banks operated a simple lending plan.  For Joe Public it was simple three times your annual earnings oh and at least a 5% deposit. How we wish in this day and age that this simple financial certainty was still upheld.  Maybe just maybe we wouldn’t have so many state owned banks in 2013 if this was still the way things were done.

The banks with years of careful experience did not just come up with the three multiplied as it was their favourite number.  The banks after decades of experience realised that three was the magic number to lend out savers hard earned cash.

This brings us back to Hearts indeed any football club in Scotland with debt.  What the hell were the banks thinking dishing out increased loans to clubs that would do well to service the interest on the original loan let alone a new increased topped up loan.  A mortgage needed guarantees, collateral to give it its proper name.  A home owner technically does not fully own their home until the mortgage loan is paid off.  So what was put up as guarantee by clubs.

Last year Rangers via what is increasingly seen to be a move by a con man managed to pay off the bank.  The bank happened to have a man on the board and some would suggest in the dash for its cash the bank didn’t care who Rangers were sold too as long as they got paid in full.  Lloyds TSB/HBOS got paid in full and didn’t bat an eye when Craig Whyte then worked his spell over Rangers.  They had there money who cared about due diligence. It seems increasingly obvious that a combination of Craig Whyte and Her Majesties Revenue & Customs pursuit of a failed £100,000,000 claim consigned Rangers ultimately to Division 3.  When the magical EBTs were mainly declared legal HMRC did not say whoops we caused a company to fail via frozen accounts, refusal to compromise and vindictive persecution, no HMRC still convinced its right kept the accounts frozen and appealed the decision.

Hearts though have no powerful other in the picture.  Hearts fans have only one or a series of ones to blame for their predicament.  From the moment Wallace Mercer Sold Hearts the writing was on the wall.  Smart businessmen ignored the good business sense that had made them rich and followed the ideals of the fans.  More, More, More and when you have done that lets have some More. Investment not in reducing the debt, paying it off but servicing the debt.  In credit card terms paying the interest only.  The loans don’t appear to of had a structured repayment plan.  The checks and balances on these loans failed – missed payments tacked on to the loan.  That seems to of been en vogue.  Ambition may bite the nails of success but in this case it destroyed the heart and soul of a club.

Bill McMurdo blogged (http://billmcmurdo.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/way-down-upon-the-swanee-river/) that it appears that Hearts are only the first of a select band of clubs who are destined to call on Brian Jackson and his colleagues.  Bill mentions that unfashionable clubs who have sucked up the pain both publically and privately to ensure that their club runs within its means. Clubs that have put up with beatings and defeats from players opposing teams couldn’t afford are now in pole position to challenge.  As the sneering contemptuous masses of Clubs like Hearts who  looked down on Clubs running good businesses will now find out.  The so called Diddy’s are coming.

Hearts, Aberdeen, Dundee United, Hibs, St Johnstone, Inverness CT and Motherwell all indebted, all looking down from Ivory towers some may be saying there but for the grace of god but all dreading the call from the bank.  All failing to hit the debt being three times income ratio. In these times of reduced media and sponsorship, stands being partially closed due to lack of sales this income is falling as,fast as the interest is being added onto the loans. The lenders are in a panic. The lenders are fed up with multi-million pound liabilities sitting on their books. From a distance and upon forensic inspection these clubs business models don’t add up. The banks are not far from placing a member on the boards of these clubs and a demanding lender approving, disapproving and being in any control of your club is a bad thing indeed(ask a Rangers Fan). Simply put the lenders want out.
The Hearts situation has ramifications for all clubs with debt if a CVA is offered by BDO and the banks think that so many pence in the pound is a good deal they will engineer administration at other clubs to get something back from loans.  Cut losses and run! The flip side if the CVA being created offers in Banks eyes a low pence in pound value, the banks will be battering on the door of chairmen demanding repayment of the loans starting now.  Not cut losses and run more a structured repayment plan that will at best cost each club a players wages a year maybe more. That’s a player not at a club. That’s the double edged sword for most  top division teams.  Not for them cutting their cloth to suit but cutting their throats to pay and pay quickly one way or another.

They are clubs in SPL perfectly well run within means and budgets.  Clubs that have suffered for years destined to finish near the bottom but seen to be happy to be at the party.  Well breaking news they weren’t just at the party they were biding their time waiting for the perfect storm. Who is laughing now.

Sympathy for Hearts is in short supply they bet the farm and lost.  Sympathy should be given however to the countless redundancies being made.  Not the players released because with best will in world players tend to actually profit from being released one way or an other.  no sympathy for the people who today do not have a job and have bills to pay.  The people who worked in offices, answered phones and cleaned to building.  Today jobless going down the job centre after giving years to a reckless club.  Sympathy yeah I am for them.  I wonder if they believed the story given to SPL/SFA at end of last season that Hearts were ok didn’t need Lithuanians.  I wonder if some even bought luxuries thinking this story must be true because the authorities say it is.

The checking facts, Finances, Fit & Proper person investigation department at the SPL/SFA is I am told a room with two rubber stamps sitting on a table. One of the stamps says approved and  the other is a copy in case the first one breaks. That really is the question though.  Who in Authority is carrying out these checks on accounts and is a person fit and proper to run or be on the board of a football club.  Brookes Milestone (Gretna), Craig Whyte (Rangers), Gavin Masterton (Dunfermline) and Vladimir Romanov ( Hearts) all taking over clubs in last decade all the clubs dropped into the smelly stuff.  ALL APPROVED BY THE AUTHORITIES.  Same authorities who approved Stewart Reagan as chief of SFA.

You reap what you sow its true Karma is a bitch all the clichés are coming thick and fast.  As fast it would seem as Heart of Midlothian Football Club falls from top league to given the new structure the Lowland League.  As all Scottish fans should maybe get out of the habit of rejoicing and think who is next.  The Shysters Charter that is Scottish Football is entering the end game.

With the real possibility of two clubs either disappearing from football or relocating in a lower league this weeks fixture lists look more like a fantasy league than a declaration of events.