Timeline Two Part 3 – After The Trial was Over – June 2017 to 2019.

Previous Timeline 2 Part 2

• 6 June 2017 Craig Whyte trial ends but during its course it was revealed that the £2.8m liability relating to the wee tax case had been accepted by Rangers and as the CAS ruling on Giannina shows this means an overdue payable existed at 31st March 2011 which conflicts with the main justification given by SFA for granting a licence.
• 25th July to 4th September 2017. Celtic and SFA exchange correspondence in respect of a review of events following the Supreme Court decision on the unlawful use of EBTs by Rangers. Celtic and SFA_Correspondence.pdf

• 7  Sept 2017. It is reported in the Times that Celtic first raised the same issues relating to EBTs and player registration in May 2012. (if you are not a Times subscriber the letter can be read from the Sun link that follows).

• This was copied to UEFA according to  The Sun ( but for those who prefer not to visit that site a clear copy can be read here  )   which begs the question what was UEFA’s response/position? Did it influence Celtic’s subsequent response to Resolution 12?

• 9 September 2017. BBC report that SFA are rejecting request for a wide ranging enquiry but said this on the UEFA licence issue:

“ “Upon considering the action taken in the past six years by all football bodies, and mindful of the ongoing nature of [the Compliance Officer looking at the granting of the UEFA licence in April 2011], the Board of the Scottish FA agreed at its meeting on 10 August 2017 that a further independent review will serve no meaningful purpose and, indeed, could negatively impact upon the ongoing investigations [by the Compliance Officer].” see this BBC Report 

9 January 2018. Following up Regan’s suggestion to approach Lord Nimmo Smith this e mail was sent to Celtic CEO  suggesting that in addition to drawing the attention of Lord Nimmo Smith to  the  short testimony of Sir David Murray at Craig Whyte’s trial he also includes  the HMRC correspondence of February and May 2011 that accused Rangers (Oldco) of deliberate negligent or fraudulent behaviour. The court testimony points clearly to Rangers motivations, i.e  football success in their use of ebts and the HMRC correspondence challenges his Lordship view that there was no question of dishonesty in not revealing the existence of side letters to the SFA when their existence had deliberately been concealed Page 11 of HMRC Document chain   at a time that admitting them in 2005 could have alerted the SFA thereafter to Ranger’s dubious  use of ebts with side letters as result of the questions from HMRC.

In view of the apparent  keenness to have a review it is inexplicable why Sir David Murray’s  court testimony  and his even clearer testimony    to  the First Tier Tribunal in October 2010 was not also brought to Lord Nimmo Smith’s attention in January 2018  or more strangely still by the SPL lawyer himself when the SPL Board were deciding to appeal the Commission’s Decision on 28 February 2013 (see above date)

(Of more relevance to Resolution 12 and status of the wee tax case payment to HMRC  this Tweet based testimony  from the Craig Whyte trial by Sir David Murray and other witness  speaks of an organisation in financial disarray on the matter of paying what HMRC were owed  from October 2010).

• 15 May 2018. After eight and a half months of investigation the BBC report that the SFA have charged Rangers on two counts of non compliance of their Articles in respect of the granting of a UEFA Licence in 2011. Rangers are reported as responding that the SFA accepted they complied with UEFA FFP in respect of the granting at end of March 2011, that accusations made against the club were groundless and consequently the charges relating to the granting period were dropped and Rangers would fiercely resist the reconstructed notice of complaint relating to the monitoring period.

In view of the timeline information provided earlier here relating to the end of March 2011, this response is surprising and extremely troubling. The reasons the SFA were given for so doing have to be explained by the SFA to Celtic and their shareholders in view of the assertions by The Rangers FC that accusations made against the club were groundless.

Who made those accusations? Certainly not Celtic nor their shareholders under Resolution 12 that only asked that the circumstances under which the licence was processed in 2011 be investigated by UEFA CFCB.*

25 June 2018 As consequence of the statement by TRFC that end of March activity by Rangers FC had been excluded from JPDT scrutiny in the Daily Record of 15th May 2018, the Res12 lawyer wrote to SFA Compliance Officer on 25th June 2018 stating reasons why this exclusion was questionable and possibly serious. The seriousness depends on what was said by TRFC to the Compliance Officer during his investigation to require the issue of a new Notice of Complaint where, according to media reports, only the monitoring period was to be subject of JPDT scrutiny as the information provided in the Res12 lawyer letter shows a payable existed at 31st March 2011 which WAS overdue as UEFA define it. What were the reasons TRFC gave the SFA to issue a new Notice  and did they align with the HMRC minutes of 21st March 2011 which were provided to SFA under the Res12 letter of 25th June 2018. ?

29 June 2018: Copies sent to Celtic after close of play having first drawn their attention to the exclusion  issue on 22 May 2018.

10 August 2018. Celtic meet a representatives from Res12shareholders, the Celtic Supporters Association and a representative of bloggers from social media to discuss content of letter of 25th June and lack of SFA response. Two  other well known bloggers  with good Celtic connections were also invited. One declined the invite and the other had an emergency to attend to on the morning of the meeting so missed the following. Celtic were left with a document suggesting UEFA Licence should not have been granted on grounds of breaches of two UEFA rules both of which involved dishonesty/fraud breach of good faith. Celtic were left to consider the document (see here ), suggested they approach UEFA and contemplate next steps if the narrative contained was accurate. A further meeting to be arranged early September to hear response but that was never forthcoming on the merits or demerits of the case not even at the November 2018 AGM.

• 15 November 2018. New SFA Compliance officer was seen in mid October by Celtic : she had not had time to come to grips with issue and could not access previous Compliance Officers In Box. A Copy of 25th Letter was supplied but no word on SFA position at 15th November 2018. Signatories whose e mail address held sent an update by e mail  prior to Celtic AGM on 21st November suggesting UEFA involvement was a way forward based on recent UEFA statements.

• 16 November 2018 Celtic AGM. A number of reservations and questions ( See ) were made from the floor about the SFA position as reported at the AGM where the only assurance was that something was going to CAS but why and when was not known by Celtic.

In respect of the August 10th meeting the CSA representative commented on exit that Celtic had done nothing with documents provided . Had the absent bloggers only attended the August meeting they might have reached  the conclusion that Celtic had no intention of seeing judgement being passed on events in 2011 and blogged as such,  but after the 2018 AGM their absence of comment on social media was noticeable in spite of one at least having seen the evidence that licence had been improperly granted .

• 4 Jan 2019. Following a meeting with Celtic it was agreed shareholders lawyer should provide a note of assistance to the Compliance Officer, who  in September 2018 replaced the previous Compliance Officer  responsible for the non compliance charges of 15 May 2018 relating to June and September 2011 only and which excluded the licence granting period  of end of March/mid April  2011 from Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT) scrutiny,  with no justifying reasoning for the  exclusion that aligns with the information in the HMRC Minutes of 21st March 2011 drawn to her predecessor’s attention on 25th June by the Resolution 12 lawyer.

29 March 2019. Delivery of letter delayed whilst advice sought from an experienced criminal lawyer in relation to March 2011 that has required a change in approach in letter to SFA now under draft.

29 May 2019. After extensive discussion this letter was delivered to the SFA by post seeking answers to questions posed in June 2018 still unanswered ,  asking for confirmation that the basis on which the JPDT decided the matter had to be referred to the Court of Arbitration on Sport (CAS) was contained in the 5 Way Agreement, asking if any progress had been made since October 2018 with the CAS referral and pointing to a precedent case that CAS had to be made aware of in any referral that challenged the SFA decision in March 2018 to drop the end of March 2011 licensing period from JPDT scrutiny.

20 June 2019Reminder letter sent to SFA

28 June 2019.  SFA reply  saying matter is receiving attention and Compliance Officer is awaiting internal instructions and will revert in due course.

27 November 2019.  Shareholders in Celtic have a new resolution tabled for the AGM that proposes  taking investigation  of UEFA licensing events in 2011 away from the SFA and asks that  UEFA  complete said investigation or Celtic take the matter to the police as evidence points to UEFA  licence in March/April 2011 being granted  under false pretence. (see earlier  timeline dates of May and June 2018).

The new shareholder resolution, again Resolution 12,  and Celtic’s response at the end of the Recital justifying the resolution can be read  HERE.  The case for taking the issue from the SFA made from the floor can be read here .

(Edit Jan 2022. Part of the 2019 Resolution above was that Celtic either take the case to UEFA or The City of London Police because of potential false pretence in the Licence application from Rangers FC PLC in 2011. The case for doing so was based  on this advice from a lawyer specialising in criminal law . )

Celtic’s response saying it was not in the Company’s interest to involve UEFA, without explaining why, was not accepted by a group of shareholders who in January wrote to Celtic individually on these lines attaching a report provided by a professional accountant of 19 pages with a supporting Appendix   that in the author’s professional opinion demonstrated not only that the licence had been  granted by deception but that the supporting accounts provided to the SFA failed to meet UEFA FFP “fair presentation” requirements and on both grounds the licence should not have been granted.

(Edit Jan 2022. A full record of Celtic’s verbal response at the 2019 AGM that totally avoided any reference to the grant period where possible fraud occurred (as well as CEO Lawwell’s denial of sight of the Five Way Agreement)  can be read in this Recital  on which basis CST members adopted a Note of Concern Resolution for the 2021 AGM.

However this was amended by CST Trustees to remove reference to the Recital itself containing the reasons for shareholders concern. The Trustee explanation for change have been questioned by CST members HERE  but not answered at time of this edit in Jan 2022.  )

Celtic’s response at the 2019 saying it was not in the Company’s interest to involve UEFA, without explaining why, was not accepted by a group of shareholders who in January wrote to Celtic individually on these lines attaching a report provided by a professional accountant of 19 pages with a supporting Appendix   that in the author’s professional opinion demonstrated not only that the licence had been  granted by deception but that the supporting accounts provided to the SFA failed to meet UEFA FFP “fair presentation” requirements and on both grounds the licence should not have been granted.

Celtic responded to the individual share holders without addressing the points raised by them  but did send the professional report to the SFA whilst still refusing to press SFA for answers whilst the SFA dithered on whether the matter should be put to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)  because of a clause in the secret 5 Way Agreement of July 2012  that required any disputes concerning Rangers FC and The Rangers FC (Sevco in the 5 Way Agreement ) and the three other parties to it (SPL/SFL/SFA) to be adjudicated by   CAS.

After making the case other shareholders asked questions from the floor including one asking Peter Lawwell if he had seen the secret Five Way Agreement  or had knowledge of it.  The answer to both questions was “No”.

However, the documents provided in next Part and accessible  HERE  part of which has been referred to in the second Edit Jan 2022 above  challenges the response from the CEO.

The accompanying side letter to the 5 Way Agreement that waived sanctions against The Rangers (Newco) for any wrongdoings by The Rangers (Oldco) except any described as Craig Whyte Enduring acts seems reasonable  at the time as the new club could hardly be charged with offences committed by the old club.

However as Craig Whyte only took over The Rangers (Oldco) on 6th May 2011 that might explain why the charges of noncompliance with UEFA FFP  made by the SFA Compliance Officer in May 2018 excluded the end of March 2011  period from Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal scrutiny because only Newco under the 5 Way Agreement side letter could be liable to sanctions for UEFA FFP breaches occurring during the monitoring period June 2011 to Sept 2011 as is evidenced here dated  15 May & 25 June 2018 .

So did the side letter to the 5 Way Agreement, whether intentional or not, prevent the SFA from investigating and charging The Rangers (Newco) for anything before May 2011 and if it did, when did Celtic appreciate the judicial limitations placed on the SFA and why was the new Resolution 12 at the 2019 AGM to take matters to UEFA, who were not constrained by the 5 Way Agreement, not voted FOR by Celtic, who at the 2019 AGM spoke only of seeking advice from UEFA that morning relating to the monitoring period for which sanctions would not fall until 2012 and have never stated privately or publicly their view of events at the end of March 2011?

The SPFL being keen to commit proceedings against Rangers (Oldco) for their use of ebts and side letters (that became the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission) makes Celtic accepting the Agreement understandable in 2012. However as is set out in the  Part 3 of this Timeline from 28 February 2013 to 9 January 2018, although Celtic say they were “surprised”  at the LNS Decision and gave appearance of  supporting  a review of the Commission  via favoured blogs (the Judicial Review that faded away for example) and in their official actions limited to correspondence only, from 19 February 2014 they had sufficient evidence of information kept from the SPL lawyers in March/ April 2012 carrying out a preliminary investigation,  to have the LNS Commission set aside at any time from 2014 had the will existed. Waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the lawfulness of ebts, as was the stance on Celtic friendly social media, allowed the SFA to prepare a legal defence 3 years later when the Supreme Court made is final judgement.

Understandable too was the Court of Arbitration For Sport (CAS) being the body to handle any disputes between the parties to the Agreement which could not have been seen as sinister at the time, certainly for not as long as the  Agreement and side letter were secret.

However as events have shown since, the CAS clause has had serious implications for the pursuit of footballing justice and the authority of the SFA to claim to be fair governors  of Scottish football when they have driven their judicial authority into a cul de sac with no reverse gear as is shown later in the Timeline. This became the basis for pursuing Resolution 12 2013 at the Celtic AGM 2020 under Resolution 11 which is the subject of Part 5 

Finally on the 19th May 2020 two years plus to the day limited charges were first made the SFA Board decided

“A Judicial Panel convened to consider a notice of complaint raised against Rangers FC in 2018 – in relation to alleged new evidence regarding representations received prior to the awarding of a European licence for season 2011/12 – determined at a preliminary hearing that it did not have jurisdiction to determine the matter.

“Instead, it concluded that jurisdiction lay with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“Following consideration of the implications of such a referral, including legal opinion, it was the board’s unanimous position that this matter should not be referred to CAS.

“The Scottish FA now considers the matter to be closed.”

The implications for the fair and honest governance of Scottish Football are staggering in  that in a case where all the evidence points to fraud, the national association who may have been complicit in granting the licence in 2011 under the Licence Committee Chairmanship of Rod Petrie can, under the same person as a President of and member of the SFA Board, close down an investigation into his part in what evidence suggests is fraud. Indeed all actions by SFA since first contacted by Celtic shareholders in 2014 have been that of an organisation trying to cover up what on the evidence provided is fraud, itself wrongful if not criminal behaviour. This included setting terms of reference for the SFA Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT) that omitted the grant period from scrutiny whilst at the same time knowing, as Celtic did since 2012 [link] yet insisted the matter be  dealt with by the SFA, that the SFA had no power to adjudicate because of the CAS Referral clause in the 5 Way Agreement sent to Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell and Director Eric Riley as an attachment to an e mail  from Neil Doncaster SPFL CEO seeking acceptance of the agreement, which was taken as default if no response by the following day.

Celtic made no response to the SFA decision to close down investigation so shareholders prompted one by raising the issue in the 2020 AGM see. Timeline Two Part 4: Events following 2019 AGM to 2020 AGM

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