Channel 4’s Alex Thomson again criticises section of Scottish media over their role in probing Rangers FC’s downfall

By Hamish Mackay |

June 15, 2012 | 4 min read

Channel 4 News’s chief correspondent, Alex Thomson, has again criticised sections of the Scottish media over its coverage of the tangled financial affairs of Rangers FC which went into liquidation this week.

And Thomson, who claimed he was threatened by a Scottish journalist in Glasgow while covering the Rangers story, has revealed that HMRC was always intent on liquidating the club.

He reports on his blog: “It is not often that you are on holiday and find your plans are interrupted by the Voice of the Taxman, and it is hardly ever anything but bad news, I would imagine.

“But I have to report barely concealed joy and enthusiasm from my contact in HMRC who once memorably told me, referring to Rangers FC: ‘Remember our Eleventh Commandment, Alex – Thou Shalt Not Get Away with It’.

“Not the kind of language HMRC regularly employs, but Rangers was always going to be big for them. Very big. An example. A test case. A litmus test. Take your image, but you get their drift."

Thomson continues: “So now it is all about a proper investigation. Bluntly, a CVA (company voluntary arrangement) would have allowed far too much to be simply swept under the carpet.

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“Years of evidence, allegations, arguably an entire Ibrox culture of funny money and living beyond everyone’s means, can, as the HMRC put it … “now be properly investigated – and let me say there is no way we could have done that under any proposed CVA deal”.

Points out Thomson: “In short, this is a warrant for the proper, detailed, lengthy and forensic investigation of just what David Murray, and to some extent Craig Whyte, were doing at Rangers and – yes – all those men who walked away from the club they professed to cherish and love and have run from any serious kind of questions ever since in the celebrated style of Glasgow football, largely unencumbered by any pursuit and awkward questions from the compliant press of that city who cannot handle the idea that Rangers was after so many years too corrupted to survive liquidation.

“Well, now it is time to get used to the truth and reality so widely predicted and investigated online and by those notable journalists in broadcasting and papers around Glasgow who bucked the trend. They can all hold their heads high today after all the years of abuse.

“The succulent lamb just went off. The stench will hang around Rangers for years to come.

“So a CVL (creditors’ voluntary liquidation) is, the HMRC believes, a way of taking the gloves off, and getting to grips with, the former directors which a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) could never have done, in their view.

“Getting away with it just became very, very much more difficult for all the directors involved with Rangers over the past 15 years or so, and nobody – least of all Rangers fans – can possibly do anything but welcome that fact, whatever it means for the club.”

Thomson claims that several Scottish MSPs and First Minister Alex Salmond need to answer questions about ….”Their blatant political interference with the HMRC – several MSPs blatantly and publicly attempting to pressure the taxman away from any liquidation.

“I know from sources within HMRC that basically all they managed to achieve was to antagonise the taxman who simply wanted everyone to play by the rules and for there to be no special case, no exceptions and no special pleadings.

“At the time when Channel 4 News dared question whether or not their actions might not be counter-productive, given that Holyrood has no powers over HMRC, the hue and cry from said MSPs and Mr Salmond’s minders was long and loud.

“I wonder if they are re-examining their actions today?”

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