Chasing The Dragon

 

To The Right Honourable Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury,

Dear Mr Alexander,

SUBJECT : CONFIDENTIAL LEAKS RANGERS TAX CASE

I write to you as a shareholder in Rangers FC (oldco) and enclose an item of correspondence I sent several months ago to David Gauke.

Mr Gauke, rather than answer me direct, referred my letter to HMRC Ministerial Correspondence Unit. Their initial correspondence to me was a long winded letter which failed to even comment on the question I had asked. Their second letter following a response from me to their initial letter contained the phrase that “HMRC don’t comment on speculation about breaches of confidentiality”.

I would reiterate to you that I am not asking them to comment on such speculation, I’m asking if they reported the leaks of confidential information to the Police, as such conduct by it’s nature is a serious criminal offence, and like any such offence, would warrant a Police enquiry.

Since the date of my letter to Mr Gauke there have been two considerable developments with regard to this case. Firstly, as a consequence of HMRC continued prevarication with regard to this matter I sought legal advice. As a consequence of this I contacted Strathclyde Police in order to raise a criminal complaint in respect of the leaks of confidential information regarding a company in which I was a shareholder. I was contacted personally by Ruaraidh Nicolson, Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police who informed this matter was currently the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The second significant development was the SPL enquiry into Rangers, in particular the summary by Lord Nimmo Smith in his subsequent report into the findings.

[98] Meanwhile, BBC Scotland came, by unknown means, into possession of what they described as “dozens of secret emails, letters and documents”, which we understand were the productions before the Tax Tribunal. These formed the basis of a programme entitled “Rangers – The Men Who Sold the Jerseys”, which was broadcast on 23 May 2012. BBC Scotland also published copious material on its website. The published material included a table containing the names of Rangers players, coaches and staff who were beneficiaries of the MGMRT, and how much they received through that trust. It also listed the names of people where the BBC had seen evidence that they received side-letters. This event appears to have been the trigger for more activity in response to the SPL’s request.

Lord Nimmo Smith refers to documents which were “productions” and thus evidence in the Rangers Tax Case. He quite rightly questions how evidence can be removed and find itself in the possession of the media and other parties. There was only one organisation seizing evidence in the Rangers Tax Case – HMRC.

Mr Alexander, allow me to make something crystal clear. I am not asking this question of HMRC in order to play “amateur detective” nor to mischief make, I have every right as a shareholder whose company’s paperwork has been seized, to not only expect HMRC to take adequate care of confidential documents they have seized, but also where there is a breach of that confidentiality then I expect them to take all reasonable steps to investigate that breach in order that the perpetrator be identified and charged and as a consequence the leaks are stopped.

The legal premise here is quite clear clear – if HMRC have failed to report this matter to the Police then quite simply they have failed to take all reasonable steps expected of them, and thus there is subsequent liability with regard to such a failing.

In view of the developments I now have a number of questions, I would appreciate an answer to, preferably from yourself.

  1. Did HMRC report the leaks in the Rangers Tax Case to the Police ?

  2. Is there a protocol/procedural guidelines within HMRC as to the breach of a clients confidential information. If so have these been adhered to ?

  3. If such procedures have not been adhered to have you, personally, investigated these apparent failings ?

You will have noticed, Mr Alexander, an element of tenacity in my letter writing. Quite simply neither myself nor my fellow shareholders will settle for the unsatisfactory responses to date from HMRC. In all honesty I feel the impoverished nature of their responses makes a mockery of claims of “transparency” in all their dealings.

It is also regrettable that I find myself having to write to you in order to illicit a response to a reasonable question I have asked of others. There is a growing feeling that HMRC’s continued refusal to comment on this matter, thus preventing shareholders from seeking legal redress, is tantamount to an attempt to perverse the course of justice. I will await the findings of the Police investigation prior to seeking further counsel regarding this.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

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