Octopus Investments has been caught up in the Glasgow Rangers Football Club administration saga due to concerns about the whereabouts of £24m advanced by a company owned by the financial services firm to the club.
Octopus Investments owns Ticketus, a London-based firm which has provided Rangers with ’working capital’ in exchange for future season ticket sales. Administrator Duff & Phelps believes £24m from Ticketus may not have reached the Rangers’ account.
At a press conference yesterday at Ibrox Stadium, administrator David Whitehouse, of Duff & Phelps, confirmed Rangers owner Craig Whyte had secured the loan on season ticket sales covering a four-year period after he took over Rangers last May. Whitehouse said the administrators were ’trying to understand’ the deal with Ticketus.
He said: “Our understanding is that the funds from Ticketus didn’t come through the company’s account. They went through a parent company account so we haven’t got visibility on that.”
Ticketus has had similar deals in place with English clubs, including Plymouth Argyle, Hull City and Watford. The arrangement with Rangers is thought to involve four years’ season ticket money up until the 2014-15 season.
A spokesman for Octopus Investment says: “Ticketus is one of the many entities into which Octopus Protected EIS invests. Ticketus has purchased tickets for Glasgow Rangers games for a number of seasons in advance, as it has done for a number of years previously with the club.
Rangers owner Craig Whyte is also board secretary at Pritchard Stockbrokers, which was banned from regulated activities by the FSA earlier this week for the way it handled client assets.
The FSA took the action based on “serious concerns” that the stockbroking firm had “failed to arrange adequate protection for clients’ assets when it was responsible for them” and “allowed client money to be used on Pritchard’s own account and not that of clients”.
The suspension means that structured products provider Merchant Capital has been forced to look for another custodian to handle client monies for its structured products division.