Craig Whyte denies using ticket cash to buy Rangers

Craig Whyte Craig Whyte said he would not be reading or buying the Daily Record again

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Rangers owner Craig Whyte has denied using supporters' money to help finance his purchase of the club.

In an open letter to fans, he said the club had borrowed from Ticketus against future season ticket sales but cash to buy Rangers came from his own company.

He accused the Daily Record newspaper, which carried the claims, of trying to "distort and dramatise the matter".

Mr Whyte also described as "not true" claims in the paper that Rangers had not paid £5m in VAT.

The chairman's letter was published on the club's website following Tuesday's Daily Record articles.

Mr Whyte described the stories as "the latest attempt to undermine Rangers" and accused the newspaper of devoting "five pages to trashing our efforts to get this club back on a sensible financial footing".

He said: "I can categorically assure supporters that when I launched a takeover bid for the club it was funded entirely from one of my companies and that was demonstrated clearly to the satisfaction of the previous owner, Lloyds Banking Group and professional advisers.

'Nothing unusual'

"What is true is that Rangers, like many other clubs, has a financing arrangement in place with a company called Ticketus which enables the club to receive revenue from a portion of season ticket sales in advance.

"There is nothing unusual or untoward in this arrangement which was put in place at the club long before my takeover last year and was used by the previous management."

Mr Whyte said that for members of the previous board, who were quoted in the Daily Record stories, "to criticise the use of a scheme they put in place" was "frankly, outrageous".

Daily Record Mr Whyte attacked allegations in Tuesday's Daily Record

He described the financing arrangements as a "perfectly straightforward way of raising working capital for the club".

"The Daily Record's approach to this story sought to distort and dramatise the matter," he said.

"I for one will not be reading or buying the Daily Record again and I'm sure many other Rangers fans will share my disgust at yet another smear on this football club."

The chairman also directed fire against previous board members who he said had "predictably fuelled" the newspaper's allegations.

He said: "I simply ask Rangers fans what these men did for Rangers in the club's hour of need?

"They were all talk and no action and presided over the club as it careered to the brink of financial collapse."

Mr Whyte said the "overarching issue" affecting Rangers financially was the ongoing tax case with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Rangers have appealed against claims from HMRC for alleged unpaid tax and penalties totalling about £49m.

A tax tribunal is expected to issue a ruling on the matter in the next few months.

'Ill-informed'

Mr Whyte also confirmed that the club had agreed a fee with Everton for the transfer of striker Nikica Jelavic.

He said this was because the Croatian wanted to leave and Rangers was "simply not in a financial position to turn down offers for players which give the club a good return on its original investment".

Start Quote

As it stands at the moment Rangers has operating costs of approximately £45m a year and revenues of around £35m”

End Quote Craig Whyte Rangers chairman

The chairman also said much of the "endless debate" on his investment in the playing squad since last summer had been "ill-informed".

Last year, he said, Rangers had "conducted 14 different pieces of transfer business, more than any other club in Scotland".

This now gave the club "a first team squad of 30, which includes 18 full internationalists".

Mr Whyte admitted that while some signing targets were not secured, he has supported manager Ally McCoist in his choice of targets and would continue to do so.

The chairman added: "As it stands at the moment Rangers has operating costs of approximately £45m a year and revenues of around £35m - not including revenue from possible Champions League and Europa League participation.

"As we know, European money cannot be taken for granted and it doesn't take much to work out that without it there is a big financial hole to fill every year - regardless of who owns the club.

"I've said many times that in Scottish football we have to move on from this mindset that you have to keep spending more and more money - that's what got this club into financial trouble before.

"We have to live within our means, continue to develop talent and spend wisely."

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