EX-RANGERS CHIEF HALTS LEGAL ACTION
Former Rangers chief executive Martin Bain has dropped his legal action against the club.
Mr Bain was pursuing the Glasgow club for almost £900,000 in damages, alleging a breach of contract following its takeover by businessman Craig Whyte.
The case at Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session in Edinburgh, was due to be heard in full in August.
Last year a judge told the club, which entered administration in February, to set aside almost £500,000 in the event that Mr Bain won his case.
On Thursday Mr Bain issued a statement via legal firm Levy & McRae in which he stated that he would discontinue the legal action.
He also said he will return the money frozen as part of his case, minus legal expenses, to the administrators "in an effort to help the club".
He further criticised the "shocking" damage he said has been "inflicted" on the club.
Mr Bain's role at Rangers ended after Craig Whyte's takeover in May last year. The stricken Ibrox club went into administration on February 14 after the taxman lodged a petition over the non-payment of around £9 million in PAYE and VAT following the takeover.
Mr Bain today insisted that he would do everything he could to help the club "in these difficult times".
He said: "Everyone close to Rangers Football Club knows that I am and always have been totally committed to the club, and that remains my position.
"As chief executive and part of the independent board, our job was to assess and highlight to all stakeholders if we believed there was uncertainty over the future financial viability of the club under new ownership.
"Unfortunately, the independent board had no legal power to block the transaction and (former owner) Sir David Murray made it plain that he wanted to sell."
Mr Bain stressed that his legal action was a response to Mr Whyte's actions and not those of the Old Firm club.
His statement went on: "I personally strongly recommended on more than one occasion that Craig Whyte should not be allowed to buy the club, based on investigations into the transparency of his background and the responses to the questions asked of him as part of the process.
"Unfortunately that forceful representation was not accepted and when he took over I was suspended and my contract ripped up. With what has subsequently transpired, it is quite obvious why he disposed of me in the manner he did. I was further vilified in the press and continue to be subjected to endless rumours and attacks.
"Events have moved on and the damage inflicted on Rangers Football Club is shocking. I had no option but to pursue a claim based on Craig Whyte's actions; the litigation was a response to his actions and not those of Rangers Football Club.
"I firmly believed it was important to make sure he would have to explain everything he did in a court of law.
"Because of the legal process it has not been possible or appropriate to make public comment, which has been extremely hard given the flow of misinformation and falsehoods both myself and the club had been subjected to."
The former chief executive also said that turnover at the club had increased and the debts were reduced in the time before Mr Whyte "forced" his exit.
He went on: "In the two years since the board restructure in August 2009 and prior to Craig Whyte forcing my removal from the club, turnover had increased, operating costs reduced with net debt more than halved from £31.1 million at June 30, 2009 to £14.1 million at June 30, 2011, while the club had won three consecutive league titles in difficult circumstances. This debt reduction was beyond the targets set by the bank.
"In light of the club's current position, I instructed my lawyers to advise the administrators that I am willing to discontinue the legal action and, subject to recovering the costs associated as a result of this action, I will give over to the administrators the remainder of the money that was arrested as part of my case in an effort to help the club.
"I always have done, and will continue to do, everything I can to help the club in these difficult times."
At the end of last year Rangers reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with former finance director Donald McIntyre who, in a similar legal action, was also suing the club for alleged breach of contract.
Last week administrators Duff and Phelps were at the Court of Session seeking legal directions on whether they could tear up the club's multimillion-pound season ticket deal with Ticketus.
The judge hearing the case did not issue legal guidance on the issue but did decline to give the investment firm preferential treatment as creditors.
Rangers' administrators Duff and Phelps welcomed the former chief executive's decision.
Paul Clark, joint administrator, said: "We are pleased Martin Bain has, in light of the present situation at Rangers, offered to drop his action for damages following his dismissal by Craig Whyte whilst chairman.
"Mr Bain has also agreed to release to the club a significant proportion of the sum that was arrested as part of this action. He has made plain the litigation was a response to the actions of Craig Whyte and not Rangers FC and given developments he now wishes to end the litigation action and do what he can to support the club in these difficult times.
"Duff and Phelps have agreed to settle the litigation with Mr Bain, thereby avoiding the unnecessary costs of continuing with this court action."
The statement went on: "On other litigation matters, on 23 March the High Court in London ordered that in addition to the current proceedings regarding the £3.6million that was transferred into the safekeeping of the administrators' lawyers, Taylor Wessing, the parties with claims against Collyer Bristow (former lawyers to Craig Whyte and Rangers FC) should bring their claims by 16 April 2012.
"This has widened the court proceedings because we have substantially larger claims against Collyer Bristow, which we wish to bring as soon as possible. The original trial dates of 30 March-4 April are now not being utilised as the wider claims are still being formulated.
"A further hearing will take place as soon as possible after the deadline for claims against Collyer Bristow of 16 April.
"As regards the general administration process, we, as the club's administrators, would like to pay tribute to Rangers supporters for their continuing oustanding efforts to support the club at this time.
"We appreciate greatly the contributions made to the Rangers Fighting Fund and welcome the fact that those who are administering the fund have taken the decision to release funds which will offset some of the debts owed by the club to other clubs."
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