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Saturday 14 December 2019

Rangers can appeal £620,000 assets freeze

Rangers will play in the Third Division next season
Rangers will play in the Third Division next season

Andy Newport

Rangers have been granted leave to appeal the decision to freeze £620,000 of the club's assets.

But their battle with former commercial director Imran Ahmad could rumble on to November, when the case is next set to be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Ahmad is claiming £500,000 for an unpaid bonus and another £120,000 for legal costs.

He successfully had that cash ring-fenced last Friday after the club announced it would not be able to pay its creditors should a rights issue, to be launched later this month, fail.

But Lord Stewart decided that granting Rangers the right to appeal would "facilitate the raising of fresh capital" through the open offer and ultimately "benefit both parties".

He also urged Rangers to come to a deal with Ahmad over security for the sum while the sides wait for the case to return to court.

The warrant freezing the cash has also been lifted while a date for the appeal is set.

The fallen Glasgow giants launched their appeal after claiming the judge had "erred in law" by freezing the cash.

The club's QC Alan Summers told the court that Lord Stewart had taken a different view to two other law lords who have already examined the case and found there was no "substantial risk" of the club going bust.

He also questioned the decision to ring-fence the club's assets when it claimed it would be in a position to pay any costs by the time the case is ultimately resolved in the new year.

But Ahmad's lawyer Kenny McBrearty argued that Lord Stewart should ignore those claims because, by the club's own admission, its financial circumstances had changed since the case was heard earlier this year.

In the end, it was Mr Summers' claim that the decision to ring-fence cash may "inconvenience" this month's share issue which persuaded Lord Stewart to grant appeal, although he stressed that decision in "no way" implied any judgement about the strength of Ahmad's claim or the eventual outcome of the case.

The judge said: "The granting of the right to appeal may facilitate the raising of fresh capital through the upcoming rights issue and that would only benefit both parties."

The appeal hearing, however, may not take place until November unless an earlier date can be found.

The full hearing for Ahmad's claim to a 5 per cent bonus for setting up the club's £10million kit deal with PUMA is due to take place either that same month or in the following January.

Ahmad had twice failed to have the cash frozen while the club battles to keep the lights on at Ibrox.

But he was finally granted a warrant to ring-fence the money after the Scottish League One champions were forced to turn to shareholders in a bid to raise £4m after losing around 15,000 season-ticket holders over the summer.

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