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The mystery backers of Rangers


Rangers FC has partially disclosed information about the backers who rescued the club.  As is not unusual in modern football, they include trusts located in offshore financial havens.

The largest shareholder is Dubai businessman Arif Naqvi.   The chief executive of private equity firm Abraaj Capital, he owns 4 million of the 25.5 million shares through a vehicle called Blue Pitch Holdings.

The second biggest holding is thought to be based in the Turks and Caicos Islands which coincidentally shares the distinction of having the worst international football team in the world with San Marino.  A fund called Margarita Funds Holding Trust has 2.6 million shares.

Finance company Zeus Capital has the largest stake if the shares of three individual shareholders are aggregated.   Imran Ahmad, the commercial director, owns 2.2 million shares.   Manager Ally McCoist holds one million.   Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United, has been cleared by the Scottish Football Association, to take a £1m stake.

Rangers supporters' groups want all the investors to be disclosed, but five investors are reluctant to have information about them revealed.    Supporters understandably want transparency.   This is particularly the case when offshore trusts are involved and the ultimate owners may not be clear.  The other side of the argument is that full disclosure could discourage investors when clubs are desperate for funds.