Former Rangers director awarded £500k in malicious prosecution action

Charles Green (right) and Imran Ahmad have both received public apologies from Scotland's Lord Advocate over their prosecutions
-Credit: (Image: SNS)

A former Rangers director has been awarded more than £500,000 after suing Scotland's top law officer for malicious prosecution.

Imran Ahmad was among seven arrested in relation to fraud stemming from the club's administration more than a decade ago. The charges against six were dropped and the seventh - Craig Whyte - were cleared at trial. Former lord advocate James Wolffe KC later apologised to Mr Ahmad and Charles Green, saying they should not have been prosecuted.

A letter from Solicitor General Ruth Charteris KC to the Criminal Justice Committee announced the final damages to be awarded to Mr Ahmad on Wednesday. He will be due £517,755.61 for the malicious prosecution following a decision from Lord Harrower on Tuesday. Mr Ahmad had been seeking £60 million, but according to the decision, he offered to settle the case in 2019 in exchange for an apology.

"The malicious prosecutions brought by the Crown following the insolvency of Rangers had been a national scandal," the submissions for Mr Ahmad referred to in the judgment stated. "As early as February 2019, the pursuer had offered to settle his dispute with the Lord Advocate in return for an apology. No reply having been received to that proposal, he was required to raise proceedings.

"These were initially met with a denial. It was not until August 12 2020 that the Scottish Government wrote to the pursuer's then solicitors, admitting that the prosecution was malicious and advising that damages would be paid and an apology issued.

"However, no formal admission of liability was made until October 1 2020. Notwithstanding that admission, the Lord Advocate had never made any sort of offer, whether by way of judicial tender or informally, at any stage."

Submissions for the Lord Advocate referred to in the judgment indicated expenses had been sought on an agent and client, client-paying, basis.

The submissions stated: "She insisted that to have tendered a 'low' sum would have risked increasing the pursuer's sense of injustice."

Lord Harrower said: "I am not persuaded by any of the reasons given by the Lord Advocate for withholding an award of expenses in favour of the pursuer. On the other hand, the circumstances of this case are such that it is necessary to consider whether it would be appropriate to restrict that award.

"The pursuer's false evidence was part of an attempt to portray himself as a budding entrepreneur... The reality, at least as I found it to be, was that his career path had already been determined by his inability to obtain FSA (Financial Services Authority) or FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) approval."

The judge continued: "In all the circumstances of the case, I consider that it would be appropriate to make a single global restriction of the award of expenses in the pursuer's favour of 50%."

Writing to the committee, the Solicitor General said: "I shall be carefully considering the content of the Opinion over the coming days. There remains ongoing the independent consideration by Shelagh McCall KC of allegations of criminal conduct during the original investigation and prosecution. Both the Lord Advocate and I are committed to further accountability and a process of inquiry once all legal proceedings have concluded."

David Whitehouse and Paul Clark, who were appointed joint administrators of Rangers in February 2012, were also among those to have charges against them dropped and were awarded more than £20 million.

The company they worked for was given £15 million and Mr Green received £6.3 million. Audit Scotland reported last year the final bill could top £60 million.

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