Scotland’s senior law officer has issued an apology to former Rangers chief executive Charles Green and former director of the club Imran Ahmad for prosecutions taken against them.
The Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said that both men should not have been prosecuted, as he “apologised unreservedly” that they were prosecuted in relation to their roles in matters associated with the club.
The Crown said that it accepts that there was a “failure in its procedures in this case” and that it “should accept corporate responsibility, apologise to each man and seek to settle their claims for damages”.
It explained that the process is ongoing and currently confidential, and said that the basis for the Lord Advocate’s acceptance of liability on behalf of the Crown will become a matter of public record when related matters are resolved and cease to be sub judice.
In a statement, the Lord Advocate said: “Between 2015 and 2016 Mr Imran Ahmad and Mr Charles Green were prosecuted in the High Court concerning matters associated with Rangers Football Club.
“They should not have been prosecuted and, as Lord Advocate and head of the system for the prosecution of crime in Scotland, I have apologised unreservedly that they were.
“I made a statement to the Scottish Parliament following the settlement of two related cases, and I said at that time that there had been profound departures from normal practice.
“Lessons have been learned from what happened and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has taken steps to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.
“I have given a commitment that there will be a judge-led inquiry into these matters once all relevant legal cases have concluded.
“The actions by Mr Ahmad and Mr Green continue with a view to settlement of their financial claims.”
Since the events, the Crown said that it has ‘taken significant steps which safeguard against similar situations arising again’.
It said that new arrangements for managing complex cases have been implemented and are now well established, and which involves closer monitoring of case progress, improved communication and the earlier identification of problems.
The Crown added that there is additional oversight to ensure that this guidance is applied in a consistent manner.
Green had also faced charges of conspiracy, fraud and an offence under Section 190 of the Companies Act 2006.
David Whitehouse and Paul Clark, who were appointed joint administrators of Rangers in February 2012, were among those to have charges against them dropped and were awarded more than £20 million.
Wolffe told the Scottish Parliament in February that a judge-led inquiry would be held and that it had the backing of Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone.
But, a hearing in March – after Whitehouse and Clark launched a civil action against the Crown Office and Police Scotland – heard the former could take a complaint over his malicious prosecution to police or other relevant authorities.
Last month, the Scottish Government said Wolffe and the Solicitor General, Alison Di Rollo, are to resign.
Former first minister Alex Salmond also called for Wolffe to resign from his role in February over the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against him.