Two Rangers litigation cases ongoing as costs top £40m

·2 min read

Two litigation cases against the Crown Office related to the Rangers wrongful prosecution scandal are ongoing, MSPs have been told.

Compensation payments and legal costs have passed £40 million, which auditors described as “significant public spending”.

Administrators David Whitehouse and Paul Clark were arrested in 2014, though the Crown Office later dropped charges and admitted their prosecutions were “malicious”.

The Lord Advocate also admitted Charles Green and Imran Ahmad should never have been prosecuted, with Mr Green receiving more than £6 million in compensation plus legal costs.

Audit Scotland officials gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee on Thursday.

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
MSPs heard from Audit Scotland officials (Jane Barlow/PA)

During the 2020/21 year, costs of £40 million were incurred in relation to a legal case stemming from the prosecutions.

Audit Scotland’s analysis of the Scottish Government’s annual accounts said the Crown Office had overspent its annual budget by £14.6 million due to unplanned costs of ongoing proceedings.

Committee convener Richard Leonard asked the auditors about the Rangers case, saying it accounted for almost all compensation payments made by the Crown Office during the financial year.

He asked if there were “fundamental concerns” about the Crown Office’s financial position.

Auditor General Stephen Boyle said: “It’s a significant amount of public spending.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service accounts are consolidated into the Scottish Government’s accounts.”

He said he was reluctant to carry out further audits of the cases until a judge-led inquiry had taken place.

Senior audit manager Helen Russell told the MSPs: “There are six cases involved, two of which have been fully closed and completed.

“A third case has been settled. I’m sure you will have read in the press that a fourth case has in fact been thrown out by the courts.

“That leaves two cases which remain ongoing at this point.”

Ms Russell said she agreed the amount of money is “significant”.