Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh. Adobe Stock
Police Scotland has settled a claim for damages from two accountants who were the subject of a “malicious prosecution” and wrongly accused of fraud in a case arising from the near collapse of Rangers football club.
Crucially, Wolffe also confirmed that the Chief Constable of Scotland has settled with the two men too. That amount is still to be disclosed.
It will add to the giant bill picked up by taxpayers and will raise further questions about exactly what went on when the police and the Crown Office in Scotland went after David Whitehouse and Paul Clark. They had been appointed as administrators in 2012 when Rangers was sold and then placed in administration.
Last year, the Crown admitted “malicious prosecution” that breached the human rights of Whitehouse and Clark. The case has piled pressure on the Scottish government, headed by Nicola Sturgeon.
Whitehouse and Clark have now been paid a whopping £10.5m each in compensation, plus £3m plus in legal costs.
The Lord Advocate is the senior Scottish Law Officer, “head of the systems for the investigation and prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths,” as the Scottish government puts it, and principal legal adviser to the Scottish government.
The Lord Advocate writes in his letter to Tomkins, dated Friday 5 February 2021:
“Following the admissions of liability on my behalf, mediations took place between each of the two pursuers and my representatives. Following the production, analysis and scrutiny of material vouching the losses sustained by each of the pursuers as a result of their prosecution, an agreement was reached with each pursuer that he would be paid a sum by way of damages of £10.5 million. Each of these pursuers was a very high earning individual, and the settlement figure, in each case, reflected the actual loss which the pursuer was able to demonstrate had been caused to him by the wrongful prosecutions. In addition to these payments by way of damages, interim payments have been made to each of the pursuers in respect of legal expenses. In respect of Mr Whitehouse, that sum is £1,650,000.00 and in respect of Mr Clark, the figure is £1,436,250.00. The final liability in respect of judicial expenses in the civil action has not yet been assessed; and I will confirm the final figures to you in due course.”
He then confirms that the Chief Constable of Police Scotland has also settled claims arising from the scandal:
“I understand that the Chief Constable has also settled the claims against him brought by Mr. Clark and Mr. Whitehouse. I am not party to those settlements, and am unaware of their terms.”
This business gets murkier and murkier, and more expensive for the taxpayer, by the day.