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Former Gers owner reveals regret
Sir David Murray has admitted making a "huge mistake" in selling Rangers, saying: "I wish I'd never done the deal with Craig Whyte."
Murray insists he was "duped" by the Motherwell-born businessman before he handed over his majority shareholding to him for £1 last May. Since then the club has collapsed in chaos. Rangers entered administration on February 14 after HMRC lodged its petition over non-payment of about £9million in PAYE and VAT following Whyte's takeover.
"I was primarily duped," said Murray. "My advisers were duped, the bank was duped, the shareholders were duped. We've all been duped."
Whyte, previously disqualified as a company director for seven years, admitted selling tranches of future season tickets to the London investment firm Ticketus for £24.4million to effectively finance his takeover, using the money to wipe off Rangers' £18million bank debt to Lloyds Banking Group.
Last Friday administrators Duff and Phelps confirmed management and players had agreed a wage-reduction deal ranging from 75% to 25% to secure jobs throughout the club, which needs to save £1million per month to stave off the threat of liquidation while new owners are sought.
At a press conference at his Edinburgh offices on Tuesday afternoon the former Rangers owner distributed a letter from Whyte's solicitors, Collyer Bristow, dated January 3, assuring Murray that obligations were being met by Whyte, who last week was found by the Scottish Football Association not to be "a fit and proper person" to run a football club.
The letter was signed by Gary Withey, who has since quit as a partner at the firm.
Whyte's pledges included paying off the bank debt and investing money in the squad and stadium but joint-administrator Paul Clark said at the weekend that they could see "no evidence of any investment by Whyte into Rangers".
Asked why he thought Whyte was the right man to take the club forward, after previously saying he would only sell to someone with Rangers' best interests at heart, Murray replied: "Because he met the criteria that were in his offer document. He's quite affable and plausible.
"I always remember someone said, 'Does it pass the sniff test?' He was Scottish, he wasn't a foreigner, he was supposedly a Rangers supporter, he had the money. There is a Stock Exchange offer document there. If you can't believe that, what can you do?"