Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Rangers owner says Ticketus deal with Whyte was not an option for club

By Hilary Duncanson

Sir David Murray said he would "categorically" not have done a deal with Craig Whyte to buy Rangers if he thought the money to clear club debts was coming from future season ticket sales.

The former Rangers owner told a court that it "wasn't in the best interest of the club" and said he believed the majority of the money for the acquisition was coming from Whyte's "own pocket".

Sir David (65) also insisted concerns about Rangers' financial situation before Whyte took over in 2011 had been "grossly exaggerated".

The court was told of an email from Sir David in which he warned the "fallout", if there was no deal to buy the club, would be "really serious".

Whyte (46) is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow where he denies acquiring the club fraudulently in May 2011.

Prosecutors allege Whyte pretended to Sir David, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a "controlling and majority stake'' in the club.

The Crown alleges Whyte had only £4m available from two sources at the time, but took out a £24m loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales.

The court has heard how the club was sold to Whyte for £1, but that it came with "stipulations", including the paying of an £18m bank debt.

Sir David said he became aware there was a "Ticketus deal" in 2012 - the year after Whyte's takeover.

Mr Prentice asked: "Had it been brought to your attention that the money ... came from Ticketus in the form of three years of season ticket sales, what would your reaction have been?"

"Categorically, we would not have done the deal," Sir David said.

Whyte denies the two charges against him, one of fraud and another under the Companies Act.

The trial continues.

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