The £40m payout to former Rangers chiefs was 40 times the total England bill

The £40m compensation paid to former Rangers managers for botched legal attempts was 40 times the total England annual bill to settle similar cases.

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has demanded an explanation of why Crown Office officials in Scotland agreed to pay the eye-watering taxpayer-funded sums after receiving comparable statistics from the Crown Prosecution Service in London.

Financial experts David Whitehouse and Paul Clark were wrongfully arrested in 2014 and Crown Office lawyers later admitted the prosecution, linked to the financial collapse and sale of Rangers, had been “malicious”.

Both launched a claim and were each awarded £10.5million in damages from the Crown and millions more in legal costs.

Former Rangers CEO Charles Green was also awarded £6.3m plus costs after a claim.

Kenny MacAskill

Scottish Government accounts show the total bill stands at £39.9m and could rise further.

But figures obtained by MacAskill show that the comparable bill for all malicious prosecutions in England is only a tiny fraction of that.

Between 2015 and 2021, the CPS paid out just £5.9 million, or £983,000 per year on average.

MacAskill, Alba MP for East Lothian, said: ‘The amount of money the Crown has paid into the fallout from the Rangers liquidation debacle is extraordinary and mind-boggling. No victim of crime would receive anything like these millions.

“Nor is it the case of a victim of a work accident or even life-altering medical negligence.

David White House
David White House

“The figures paid are also considerably higher than what is paid in England.

“It is Scottish taxpayers’ money and the citizens, not to mention the victims, have a right to know how such incredible sums were calculated and agreed upon.”

A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service spokesman said: ‘The damages paid in this case reflect the position of the prosecutors as high earners.

“COPFS is committed to strengthening public accountability and establishing an investigation process once all litigation is resolved.”

Paul Clark

It recently emerged that around £400,000 has been spent by the government on legal advice and ‘litigation support’ in relation to civil cases.

With other cases pending, it is feared the total cost to the taxpayer could exceed £100million.

An investigation will be carried out and could be led by a judge outside Scotland.

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