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‘An excellent outcome for the creditors’: Collyer Bristow makes £24m settlement over Rangers FC advice

The liquidators for Scottish football club Rangers have confirmed a £24m settlement has been paid by City firm Collyer Bristow over fees they received in relation to the club’s controversial 2011 takeover.

Having entered financial difficulty in the late 2000s, Scottish venture capitalist Craig Whyte bought a controlling interest in the club from its then majority shareholder Sir David Murray in 2011, and subsequently placed the club into administration in 2012 followed by liquidation that same year. Former Collyer Bristow corporate finance partner Gary Withey had acted for Craig Whyte when he bought the club in 2011. Both were accused of deceiving board members about the takeover.

BDO, the liquidators of Rangers, launched a professional negligence claim against Collyer Bristow in May for more than £50m but have now agreed a settlement out of court.

In a statement, BDO said: ‘The joint liquidators are now able to advise that, following protracted negotiations subsequent to a mediation in June of this year, a settlement of the claim has been concluded with Collyer Bristow. The settlement sum has been received in full from [the firm]. The liquidators consider that the settlement represents an excellent outcome for the creditors of the estate.’

Last week, Withey was arrested in relation to the sale of Rangers. He was detained, alongside three employees from Duff & Phelps – which previously acted as the administrator, during dawn raids across the UK.

Collyer Bristow has previously been faced with professional negligence allegations in the high profile Innovator One case, where 555 claimants argued it was in breach of financial services regulations when it advised on schemes promoted as tax efficient investment structures relating to technology products – the Innovator Schemes. Reported to be the largest third-party funded case of 2008 with $8m (£5m) worth of litigation funding secured from Allianz ProzessFinanz (which later withdrew from the European funding market), the claim was dismissed by the High Court in 2012. Leave to appeal was given but Collyer Bristow ended up settling the case in July 2013, just days before it was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal.