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On 30 September 2014, the Court of Session in Scotland made an order disqualifying Craig Whyte, the ex-Chairman of Rangers Football Club (Rangers), to act as a director for 15 years without the permission of the Court, the maximum period permitted by the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
The disqualification takes effect from 21 October 2014, and therefore expires on 20 October 2029.
Mr Whyte had purchased, through corporate vehicles, the controlling interest in Rangers in May 2011 for £1. On 14 February 2012, administrators were appointed in relation to Rangers. Rangers then went into liquidation on 31 October 2012. It was, unsurprisingly, a high profile insolvency which resulted in a great deal of media interest.
According to the Insolvency Service, the disqualification application alleged that Mr Whyte had failed to act in accordance with his duties as a director to promote the interests of Rangers and to avoid conflicts of interest, including causing Rangers to enter into an agreement to effectively fund the purchase of its own shares, conducting the affairs of Rangers without reference to other board directors, therefore preventing Rangers from being subject to proper corporate governance, and causing Rangers to fail to comply with its tax obligations. In relation to a separate company which Mr Whyte had been a director of and which had also been wound up, Tixway UK Ltd (Tixway), the application alleged that Mr Whyte had caused Tixway to fail to maintain or preserve adequate accounting records, or if records were maintained, he failed to cooperate with requests from Tixway’s liquidator to deliver them up.
In response to the disqualification order being made, Business Minister Jo Swinson stated that “such blatant lack of regard for proper corporate behavior and control does not have a place in modern society” and that “directors have a clear, statutory duty to ensure that their companies are run properly, for the benefit of the creditors, shareholders and, in this case, fans who believed in him”.
The BBC has reported that Lord Tyre, the Judge that made the disqualification order, stated in his judgment that the case for imposing a period of disqualification on Mr Whyte was “overwhelming”, that Mr Whyte “deliberately placed his own interests before those of the company”, and that it was necessary and appropriate for him to impose as lengthy period of disqualification as he was empowered to do.
In 2000, a disqualification order was made against Mr Whyte for a period of 7 years.
For more information see BBC News Glasgow and West Scotland 30 September
and Insolvency Service Press Release 30 September
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Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and joined the Restructuring and Insolvency team at Lexis®PSL in September 2014 from Shoosmiths LLP, where he was a senior associate in the restructuring and insolvency team.
Primarily focused on contentious and advisory corporate and personal insolvency work, Stephen’s experience includes acting for office-holders on a wide range of issues, including appointments, investigations and the recovery and realisation of assets (including antecedent transaction claims), and for creditors in respect of the impact on them of the insolvency of debtors and counterparties.
0330 161 1234