Scottish Football - Murray: HMRC tax case destroyed Rangers

Sir David Murray insists it is not a time for "triumphalism" in the wake of oldco Rangers winning the 'big tax case' - because it forced the club to be liquidated.

A First Tier Tax Tribunal which heard the club's appeal to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a potential £75million bill for the use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) during Murray's tenure at Ibrox delivered a 2-1 majority verdict on Tuesday that allowed the appeal in principle. The decision, though, came too late to save oldco Rangers, whom Murray sold to former owner Craig Whyte for £1 in May last year, from being wound up.

Murray told The Herald: "Nobody has won, there is no point in me waving a big flag and saying we have won - Rangers has been destroyed."

He added: "What I find amazing is we were guilty until proven innocent. This is the only case in history where awards were given to TV programmes when there hasn't even been a result."

The club was relaunched as a new corporate entity in June when the original company was consigned to liquidation owing £18million in tax, excluding the EBT bill and an historic £3million tax bill. The former Rangers chairman confirmed that Murray International Holdings (MIH), the former majority shareholders of the soon-to-be-liquidated oldco, had offered HMRC an out-of-court settlement two years ago worth more than £10m.

"The amount of time, effort and fees could be seven to eight million quid on top of that. Clearly if that had happened we would not have ended up with Craig Whyte," he said. "The biggest question is why the Revenue knew in August 2011 that Craig Whyte wasn't paying national insurance and tax but didn't put him down - this has so many ramifications for business."

Murray claims MIH have copies of emails which reveal the leaking of confidential details surrounding the tax case.

"There is going to be a lot of litigation now because the leakage on this is frightening," said Murray.

A source told Press Association Sport: "Both parties were aware of the result for three weeks and there were no leaks. Is it not interesting that it suddenly became a private matter then? It looks like HMRC saw Rangers as a trophy success, with a view to it having a domino effect in football, but it has backfired."

Two of the three judges decreed that only some of the payments made to players through EBTs were taxable but that many of them could be described as loans, as the club had argued.