Dear Mr Fitzpatrick,
Thank you for your letter of 11.09.2013, which enclosed a copy of a response you have received from David Gauke MP regarding the Rangers Tax Case. Whilst I am extremely disappointed with the content of that letter, I am however glad that you personally have now experienced the type of evasion and prevarication which gave rise to me contacting you in the first place, and which myself and many thousands of Rangers supporters, many shareholders with a vested financial interest, have also experienced.
Before I proceed further however, I must take this opportunity to thank you personally for your efforts in this matter. Whilst Mr Gauke’s response leaves a lot to be desired at least you managed to elucidate a response. I honestly do wonder however, if Mr Gauke and HMRC think we in Scotland “zip up at the back of the heid” for want of a better expression. ( I’m sorely tempted to send Mr Gauke my curriculum vitae and direct him to the part under training which states “Advanced Detective Training Scottish Police College”
Perhaps dealing with Mr Gauke’s response is the most fruitful way to proceed :-
“As I’m sure you will understand I am unable to comment on the tax affairs of individual companies as doing so would be a breach of taxpayer confidentiality”
We most certainly do understand – in fact it’s breaches of such confidentiality which give rise to our concerns and questions, which I note Mr Gauke, like HMRC before him, has chosen to avoid answering.
Mr Fitzpatrick if you look at the previous correspondence I sent you, you will note that my questions centred around the conduct of HMRC and Westminster MP’s with responsibility thereto, following the breaches of confidentiality in the Rangers Tax Case. The questions I have been asking HMRC and those Ministers are summarised as follows :-
1. When the leaks in the Rangers Tax Case entered the public domain did HMRC conduct an internal audit or investigation to determine the source of these leaks ?
2. What was the conclusion of such investigation ?
3. Did HMRC cross reference the content of such leaks in the catalogue of evidence they had seized for the Rangers Tax Case to determine if there was a match ?
4. Are there protocols and procedures within HMRC for breaches of confidentiality and if so were they adhered to in the Rangers Tax Case ? Furthermore did Westminster MP’s with ministerial responsibility for HMRC, personally check that the protocols and investigations had been carried out by HMRC when the the Rangers Tax Case Leaks appeared in the public domain ?
5. Did HMRC contact the Police to report these apparent breaches of confidentiality which constituted a grave crime in Scotland ? If not why not ?
“I understand a case management hearing before the Upper Tax tribunal was set for 19 July 2013 after which HMRC expects to learn more about when the appeal is likely to be heard”
This deals with the ongoing legal process and has no bearing whatsover on the questions I have asked, or HMRC’s failure to respond.
“As HMRC has previously advised it cannot comment on the affairs of any business or individual due to it’s legal obligations of confidentiality”
More or less a repeat of the 2nd Paragraph. However it’s interesting that the phrase “legal obligations” is mentioned. The jist of my enquiries as can be seen from the questions asked are not to probe confidential information relative to the Rangers Tax Case but to determine if the investigatory body has fulfilled its legal obligations in view of a breach of that confidentiality.
“However I can confirm that these matters are being investigated by Police Service of Scotland in conjunction with HMRC and the PF West of Scotland”
I must admit this paragraph made me laugh. They are only subject to such criminal investigation because Sir David Murray and myself lodged criminal complaints in respect of these leaks post Tax Tribunal Verdict. The real question is why didn’t HMRC initiate such a complaint sooner ?
It is quite clear that HMRC, and given the content of Mr Gauke’s letter I suspect a number of MP’s are hiding behind this “breach of confidentiality” to avoid answering very awkward questions. It is a master class in prevarication and evasion.
It is blatantly apparent from the way I have presented the questions that they are an examination of the conduct of the Investigatory Body (HMRC) in the Rangers Tax Case following confidential information being leaked to a number of outlets, not any desire to seek information which would obviously be confidential concerning Rangers Tax Case.
Finally I would refer to Section 98 of Lord Nimmo Smith’s report into the SPL Investigation into Rangers where he concludes :-
 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.
Mr Fitzpatrick we have a situation here now where a one of the most legal and respected legal brains in Scotland is alluding to the very evidence in the Rangers Tax Case being stolen and passed to BBC Scotland and the Investigatory Body (HMRC) responsible for the seizing and care of such productions refuse to comment.
I’m sure you would agree this situation is totally unacceptable. In fact there is a sinister element of deliberate avoidance emerging. In no way does it breach confidentiality to examine the conduct, and ask questions of an investigatory agency in what has been the highest profile tax case ever in Scotland, and where the evidence has been appropriated and passed on allowing considerable breaches of confidentiality.
As you can perhaps determine from the tone and content of this letter I feel the response from Mr Gauke to both you and I is totally unsatisfactory. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on proceeding with this.
Do you think further correspondence would be fruitful or do you think the concerns raised in this letter and our collective experiences are worthy of further debate within Holyrood itself ?
I look forward to hearing from you.