Former Rangers chairman Dave King has added fuel to the fire of rumours regarding a fallout with the current Ibrox board by suggesting the Gers misled fans regarding a recent £5m loan repayment.
King – who is currently engaged in the sale of his near 20% stake in Rangers to supporters – has released a statement explaining the repayment of a recent loan connected to him.
And the South African-based businessman has claimed a loan in the club’s recent accounts – which detailed losses of £23.5m – was wrongly attributed directly to himself.
Dave King has claimed that his loan – which included interest and has led to some confusion regarding the Rangers shareholder – should’ve been attributed to a family trust company named Laird instead.
King claims South African authorities demanded the loan had interest and claims last year he was approached by the club to give permission to secure loans against club property,
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The ex-Ibrox chairman has also claimed that this loan was only repaid just over a week ago so has asked why this was included in the account payments, saying it had “no impact whatsoever on the Club’s performance”.
It’s pretty explosive stuff and highlights a clear disconnect between the current regime and the South African businessman.
The comments will do little to extinguish rumours of a major fall-out and the statement comes at a challenging time with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard on the verge of joining Aston Villa.
Ex-Rangers chairman Dave King statement in full via Glasgow Times:
“It has been brought to my attention that there is confusion regarding the Club’s recent incorrect statement that a loan plus interest was repaid to “Dave King”.
“There are concerns that this was a previously unreported loan that had somehow compromised Rangers present financial position.
“In addition, I was also forwarded two very similarly worded Club linked media posts that queried whether interest should have been paid on the loan.
“Having been asked to clarify the true position, I have decided that the general release of a statement is the best way for me to do this.
“The loan that was incorrectly attributed (in the June 2021 financial results presentation) as having been paid to me personally is the original loan that was provided by Laird (a company in my family trust structure) shortly before I announced my intention to step down as Rangers Chairman at the AGM in November 2019.
“I disclosed Laird’s loan during my Chairman’s statement at that AGM.
“When seeking approval from the SA authorities, the Club worked with my accountant in SA to provide all the financial information required to support such a loan and the RIFC Board authorised it on the terms that were ultimately approved by the SA authorities.
“At the AGM in 2019, I expressed regret that the authorities in SA would not allow this much needed loan to be made without it attracting a market-related interest rate – but I was pleased that it was granted on an unsecured basis.
“The dramas of the David Murray/Craig Whyte/Mike Ashley eras had most damagingly exposed why the “owners” of the Club at any time should never use the Club’s assets to secure their own investment.
“That ultimately leaves the real risk with the supporters.
“I was determined that would never happen under my watch and was glad that my fellow directors (at that time) agreed with me.
“I explained at the AGM that my regret at interest being paid was that it went completely against the undertakings given by me and my fellow directors (at regime change) not to take director fees and not to receive interest or take security for loans provided to the Club.
“The hardened position of the SA authorities to investment in the Club reinforced the timing of my decision to step down.
“I had achieved my personal objective of removing the Club from its state of crisis and it had become in the best interest of the Club to be guided by individuals in the UK who, I thought, were capable of taking the Club forward in a normalized manner (covid had not yet happened) and who were willing and able to continue to provide any funds that might be required on an unsecured and interest free basis- and thereby honouring the commitment that we collectively made to supporters and shareholders.
“At the Club’s request, the Laird loan that I disclosed was only payable after two years and, indeed, was repaid to Laird a little more than a week ago.
“This is long after the year-end that the Club recently reported on and had no impact whatsoever on the Club’s performance.
“The payment, including agreed interest, had been recognized in all cash forecasting throughout the prior two years and consequently had no impact whatsoever on the Club’s anticipated financial position.
“Shortly before the payment was due to Laird, I was approached to consider an extension of the loan period to assist with the future funding of the Club.
“I advised that it was too late to get approval from the SA authorities to extend the upcoming due date but that I was happy to make application for a new loan – but would require the latest financials for submission.
“I also confirmed that I expected that interest would still be required by the authorities.
“The Club never took me up on this offer, which is completely understandable given that Douglas and John have again reconfirmed their prior commitments (as I understand it) to providing unsecured interest free loans.
“It is essential for supporter’s trust that the commitments made at regime change are never abandoned by those that gave them and it is for that reason that I have made this statement to clarify my own position.
“On a final note, unless I leave the wrong impression, it is only the directors at the time of regime change that I consider bound to provide interest free unsecured loans.
“That commitment can in no way be binding on those that came thereafter unless they specifically committed as such.
“I state this because I was approached last year by the Club to grant permission for loans to be made against the security of Club property- which I understood to be a requirement for certain new director loans.
“My permission was required because the SA authorities only agreed to the Laird loan being unsecured on condition that no subsequent lender could get better terms.
“I refused to even countenance such a request as I considered it against the spirit of everything I had committed to supporters.
“Now that the Laird loan has been repaid the present Board is free to make its own decisions on using Club property as security.”