Feb 22 2012 By Tristan Stewart-Robertson
Rangers Judge Nimmo Image 2
ONE of the judges who rejected an appeal by the Lockerbie bomber is to lead an inquiry into the crisis at Rangers.
Lord Nimmo Smith’s appointment came as Gers chairman Craig Whyte admitted he used funds from future season ticket sales to buy the club last year.
He said he was “personally on the line for £27.5million in guarantees and cash” from the purchase but dismissed claims he was trying to “make a fast buck” as “ludicrous”.
The administrators said they were investigating the purchase of the club and transfer of funds.
Lord Smith, who was one of five judges on the appeal by Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in 2002, will chair the SFA probe.
It will look particularly at whether club officials are “fit and proper” to hold such positions.
Last week, the Ibrox club was plunged into administration. Since then, they have been docked 10 points by the SPL and further questions have been raised about the team’s finances.
While more than 50,000 filled Ibrox on Saturday for the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock, administrators admitted there was an “invisible” £24million they were trying to trace at the club.
As well as a £9million unpaid PAYE and VAT bill, Rangers are awaiting the outcome of a first-tier tribunal tax dispute with HMRC over years of money allegedly owed to the taxman.
Questions about money at the club include payments of more than £160,000 in eight months to Rangers director Phil Betts.
Another £250,000 was paid by Rangers to a company run by a former bankrupt, our sister paper the Daily Record revealed on Monday.
Administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse, of firm Duff and Phelps, said they did not believe HMRC wanted to close the club.
Mr Clark said: “If HMRC had been looking to close Rangers then last week they wouldn’t have issued an administration order – they would have issued a winding-up petition.”
Former Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston has also passed information to Strathclyde Police and called for an investigation of Whyte’s takeover of the club.
But Whyte insisted: “I have absolutely nothing to fear. Any fair investigation will prove that I have always acted in the best interests of Rangers and been involved in no criminal wrong-doing whatsoever.”