2014 – Scottish Referendum – State Subversion Denied Scots Their Freedom – Next Time We Will Be Wiser

 

 

Throughout the Scottish Referendum campaign the government in Westminster deployed the Civil Service against the Scottish electorate in direct contravention of the Civil Service Code – Facts supporting the many allegations of misconduct surfaced following many hours of investigation – even when confronted with evidence of State Subversion those responsible either denied the facts or shifted blame. – distribution through the internet of lies disguised as facts was commonplace – directed through the Scotland Office it proved to be a powerful but entirely inappropriate use of on-line media.

The Civil Service will be forever tainted in the minds of the Scottish electorate.

 

 

 

 

Posted 4:36 a.m. – 30 Apr 2014: Scotland. The UK. 10 Myths. 10 Facts.
https://twitter.com/UKGovScotland

Posted 9:31 a.m. 30 Apr 2014: Tweet by Ramsay Jones, UK Government Special Advisor Scotland. Tweets “my own views. Hopefully someone else’s later.” Tweet linked to Buzz-feed article.
Buzz-feed article traced back to the Scotland Office. https://mohkohn.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/the-curious-case-of-youdecide2014-tories-in-neutral-clothing/

posted 9:56 a.m. 30 Apr 2014: http://www.buzzfeed.com/youdecide2014/scotland-the-uk-10-myths-10-facts.

Posted 14:00 p.m. 30 Apr 2014: 10 Downing Street Facebook account. https://www.facebook.com/10downingstreet/posts/10152455544653453?stream_ref=10

The information was then shared or re-tweeted by a variety of Conservative Party SpAd’s, gaining maximum exposure of fantasy portrayed as fact, possibly concocted by Ramsay Jones (SpAd) at the Scotland Office.

https://twitter.com/youdecide2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/scottish-independence-referendum

You can’t get a verified Twitter account except by arrangement with Twitter. Therefore, @YouDecide2014 must be an official account of the Scotland Office. That certainly explains why Tory special advisors were tweeting the Buzz-feed article.

So it’s official: the UK government has attacked the Scottish government on Buzz-feed. Is this a first in international (albeit intrastate) relations?  Will it set a precedent?  Will the next Ukraine crisis negotiations be carried out in the medium of ironic animated GIFs or viral video?

The absence of any clear statements of the UK government’s involvement looks like an attempt to mislead the public. But there are even more serious issues.

Presumably, someone at the Scotland Office wrote the article, as it’s been released through official Government channels. They couldn’t be an ordinary civil servant, who would be bound to impartiality – and if there’s one thing that’s had Unionist politicians and media in a froth of outrage throughout the independence campaign it’s the thought of civil servants being made to act in an improperly political manner.

So this kind of work would have to be carried out by a special adviser. Could it have been one of the special advisers who tweeted the article? (Ramsay Jones) Surely not, as that would breach their code of conduct:

“Special advisers should conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. They should not deceive or knowingly mislead Parliament or the public.

“Special advisers should not use official resources for party political activity.”

“They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.”

“They should avoid anything which might reasonably lead to the criticism that people paid from public funds are being used for party political purposes.”

http://wingsoverscotland.com/picking-up-a-buzz/

 

 

30 April 2014: Scotland. The UK. 10 Myths. 10 Facts.

What would happen to Scotland if it became independent? From global relationships to oil revenues, this blog looks at the myths, and realities, of the Scottish independence debate. Note: The sources quoted contain figures produced by the author in support of their own assertions? Nice try.

1. Myth: Our global relationships won’t change

Fact: Scotland would be a new country. We wouldn’t inherit all the international deals the UK has struck over many years, decades, and even centuries (everything from extradition and trade treaties to the International Declaration Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons). So we’d have to start from scratch, negotiating to join everything from the UN to Nato. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-devolution-and-the-implications-of-scottish-independence

Contrary Fact: I want our global relationships to change. The UK currently resides in America’s back pocket. Over half a million people have been killed in Iraq alone because of this ‘special relationship’. The inherent implication here is that Scotland will find it hard to make friends and strike trade deals. What complete nonsense! Scotland will be welcomed to the family of nations without the political baggage of Westminster.

2. Myth: We’ll still play the National Lottery and share much-loved national institutions with the UK

Fact: It’s called the National Lottery – not the International Lottery. You can’t buy a ticket in France, so why would it run in an independent Scotland? The same goes for everything from the Met Office to the benefits system. We’d have to spend millions setting up new institutions. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-devolution-and-the-implications-of-scottish-independence

Contrary Fact: The National Lottery, seriously? Why not ask residents of Northern Ireland if they’re able to get their hands on Lotto tickets for the Republic of Ireland and vice-versa. I’ll think you’ll find that where there’s a market, there’s always someone ready to meet demand. We’ll have our own lottery anyway in an independent Scotland, with 100% of the good cause money going to Scottish projects.

3. Myth: We’ll be an EU member (and inherit the same terms and conditions that the UK currently enjoys)

Fact: We’d have to apply as a new state and negotiate entry – it’s hard to imagine it would be an easy process (look at how long it took Croatia to join – almost eight years), and even harder to imagine that we’d be given advantageous terms (like the UK rebate or opt-outs, including from the Euro). Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-devolution-and-the-implications-of-scottish-independence

Contrary Facts: Suggest reading this impartial piece published today on New Europe. The residents of Scotland are already EU citizens, we conform with all EU regulations and laws, our fishing grounds are depended upon by 12 EU member states, we’ve got 60% of the EU’s oil reserves, 10% of its renewable energy potential, have ambitious green energy plans, would be one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Need I got on? We’ll be readily welcomed into the EU with open arms, and it’s safe to say it’s within everyone’s best interests (particularly the rest of the UK’s) for our transition to fully-fledged independent member state to go as smoothly as possible. It’ll be easier to fast track us than to create legislation to remove us!

4. Myth: We’ll keep the UK pound

Fact: Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems have all made clear if we leave the UK we’ll also leave the UK pound. A currency union would not work for Scotland or the rest of the UK – it will not happen. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-eu-and-international-issues

Contrary Facts: The pound is an internationally traded currency and we cannot be stopped from using it. Many countries have, and continue to informally use sterling. If you’re so confident that there’ll be no currency union I’d suggest placing a bet with Ladbrokes. Last I heard they were offering odds of 100/1 that there would be no currency union.

5. Myth: We wouldn’t have to bailout our banks – international investors bailed them out before

Fact: During the last crisis the UK taxpayer shelled out £66 billion to bail out the banks – more than £1,000 for every man, woman and child in the UK. Including guarantees, UK taxpayers gave more than £320 billion of support to Royal Bank of Scotland alone. Could we really afford these sorts of sums on our own? Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-financial-services-and-banking

Contrary Facts: The UK government wasn’t able to bail out Barclays to the tune of over half a trillion pounds (about ten times the RBS bail out). The US federal reserve and the Qatar royal family bailed out Barclays.

6. Myth: The answers are in the independence white paper and it all adds up

Fact: The white paper does not answer the key questions. Many of the independence plans, for example on currency and EU membership, are in the hands of foreign governments who would be acting in the interests of their own citizens ahead of Scotland’s. And the white paper does not add up – the plans to cut taxes and extend childcare need £1.6 billion of additional funding. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/unfunded-commitments-in-scotlands-future

Contrary Facts: The white paper is a discussion document. It is impossible to have all bases covered with absolute certainty. Interestingly you raise currency and EU membership. These are two issues that the UK government could help resolve now but refuse to do so in order to create fear and panic, suiting their agenda nicely.

7. Myth: There would be tax cuts and more spending in an independent Scotland

Fact: Scotland spent £12 billion more than it raised in taxes last year (that’s from the Scottish Government’s own figures, including North Sea revenues). So it’s hard to see how we’d be able cut corporation tax and air passenger duty on one hand but still spend more on benefits and create an oil fund on the other.
Source: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GERS

Contrary Facts: The Scottish Government has very little control over what is spent. Westminster controls the vast majority of the budget and so if there was a large deficit last year, they should shoulder the largest portion of the blame. Scotland is currently spending money on things it doesn’t want or need. Are you aware that we are paying roughly £32 million a year on nuclear weapons research & development (not to mention the grotesque amount also being spent on Trident)? That £32 million could be paying the wages of an extra 1,400 staff nurses every year alone. That only scratches the surface of the amount of money being squandered too.

8. Myth: Westminster won’t devolve more powers

Fact: More powers were devolved in the Scotland Act 2012 (the largest devolution of tax powers in the UK’s history). As a result we now set even more of our own laws, from motorway speed limits to regulating air weapons. Plus, all three main UK parties have promised more powers will be devolved in future. Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/11/contents/enacted

Contrary Facts: The extra powers from the Scotland Act 2012 are minimal and don’t present much opportunity. All three main UK parties have promised more powers in future? Yeah, well the Lib Dems promised not to raise tuition fees before the last election. How’d that work out? If any of the three parties were committed to more powers they wouldn’t have fought a ‘devo-max’ option on the ballot and would produce a document with concrete promises instead of dangling an imaginary carrot.

9. Myth: You can’t trust unionists, they’re just negative

Fact: The union has been a huge success story (from joint sporting glory to the amazing scientific collaborations that created Dolly the Sheep!) for more than 300 years – that’s why the rest of the UK doesn’t want us to leave.

Contrary Facts: The union has been a mixed success story. Whilst we have enjoyed certain achievements and advancements we also face a reality in which millions are living in poverty today, many reliant on food-banks.

The limited autonomy we have has shielded us from the privatisation of the NHS, as has happened in England & Wales.

We had to sit back and watch our Royal Mail get sold for a fraction of its worth to George Osborne’s hedge fund mates. We need to take control before the successes of the union are totally robbed from us.

10. Myth: Remaining North Sea oil and gas is worth £1.5 trillion – and at least £6.8 billion in Scottish tax revenues in first year of independence

Fact: The Scottish Government assumes that oil and gas can be produced at zero costs (so rigs and pipelines can be built and run for free, and oil workers don’t need to be paid), despite the remaining oil being further off-shore and deeper under the ocean, so it costs more to extract.

Over the last two years, taxes from the North Sea have been £3 billion below the Scottish Government’s most pessimistic forecast – that’s the same as our entire education budget.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/Energy/OilGas   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statistics-of-government-revenues-from-uk-oil-and-gas-production

Contrary Facts: Even the smallest piece of research into North Sea oil & gas shows this is nonsense.

There has been significant investment in the North Sea in the last few years, and combined with Osborne’s tax raid of the oil industry this has engineered an artificial dip in revenues generated for the state.

Think the UK government wouldn’t lie about how much oil there is?

Do a search for the McCrone report – they suppressed the truth in the 1970s and hid the report for 30 years to make sure the people of Scotland didn’t find out. Lets not fall for the same trick twice!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/youdecide2014/scotland-the-uk-10-myths-10-facts-oykn

 

 

 

10 November 2014: Civil Servants deployed to work for the Scotland Office brag about their role in the referendum campaign

Speaking for the 20+ strong Civil Service Team, Mario Pisani Deputy Director at HM Treasury said:

“In the Treasury, everyone hates you. We don’t get thanks for anything. This is one occasion where we’ve worked with the rest of Whitehall. We all had something in common, we’re trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth. I actually cried when the result came in.

After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award. As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications.

I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised (at the Civil Service Awards), makes me feel just incredibly proud.”

Paul Doyle;

“This award is not just for the Treasury, it’s for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda.

The reality was in all my experience of the civil service, I have never seen the civil service pull together in the way they did behind supporting the UK government in maintaining the United Kingdom. It was a very special event for all of us.”

Shannon Cochrane;

“we’ve learned that it is possible for civil servants to work on things that are inherently political and quite difficult, and you’re very close to the line of what is appropriate, but it’s possible to find your way through and to make a difference.”

William MacFarlane, Deputy Director at HM Treasury, (Budget and Tax Strategy);

“As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign.

We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications.

I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised (at the Civil Service Awards), makes me feel just incredibly proud.”

http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/hm-treasury-team-wins-special-civil-service-award

 

Francesca Osowska

 

 

10 June 2015: Scottish Affairs Committee Meeting – 2015 – Scottish Office – Financial matters – Francesca Osowska OBE, Director, Scotland Office – Response to chairman in regard to duties and staffing deployment af civil servants based in the Scotland office

Chair: It would be helpful if you write to the Committee to explain properly what that £3.3 million did account for. What we are hearing is that this might have been the figure that was used for the referendum campaign, for the “No” campaign, and used by UK Ministers to take part in the referendum. Would that be roughly a correct characterisation of that spending?

Francesca Osowska: In answer to your question, Mr Chairman in relation to “was this a way of the Government funding the ‘No’ campaign?” No!

The finance was used to fund the activities of UK Government civil servants, in line with the civil service code.

All activities undertaken by civil servants in my Department would meet a propriety test, yet I think you would agree that in the run-up to a referendum, obviously when Ministers want to be more visible, when we need to ensure that there is a good flow of public information for example, via the Scotland analysis papers that increases our activity and that is why there was an increase between the 2013-14 out turn and 2014-15 out turn.

But this is not true. Refer to the above: November 2014: Civil Servants deployed to work for the Scotland Office brag about their role in the referendum campaign

 

Sir Jeremy Heywood

 

 

Damn, Damn and Double Damn – What a con – The civil service and their Janus-faced illegal political behaviour

Francesca Osowska in a number of her evasive statements to the Scottish Affairs Committee represented them misleadingly glossing over the expensive and extensive work of a large group of (supposedly politically neutral) Civil Servants who actively supported the objectives of the “Better Together” campaign.

A gross misuse of public finances and Civil Servants presumably authorised by David Cameron and Sir Jeremy Heywood.

The matter of the Scotland Office staffing establishment drew comment but did not address the previously advised 50+ excess staffing of the Scottish Office over the Welsh Office.

So the Scotland Office has retained 50+ unjustified posts the costs of which are charged to Scotland’s block grant at a cost of around 2.5million each year.

The annual slush fund is a never reducing financial nest egg ( it is skimmed off Scotland’s block financial grant) and used, abused by the Scottish Office for purposes such as the UK government anti-devolution leaflet production, printing and distribution.

Hiring of Special Advisors (SpAds), usually sons, daughters, other relations, friends of ministers or other MPs. Temporary secondment of Civil Servants from other Government Departments.

 

Picked up my #50/50by2020 lanyard at #civilservicelive @5050Parliament @5050by2020 http://t.co/BJoX4Tb5B4

 

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Is This the New Dawn? – The Scottish Sun – Times and Sunday Times To Be Autonomous From April 2016

 

 

 

“News Scotland” (formally News Corp) has announced it has been given the freedom from London to govern itself from 7 April 2016.

It is unclear if the new business model includes maintaining the existing “namby pamby” editorial content, providing blanket support for anything that shines a positive light on Westminster and a negative outlook on the Scottish government.

Taking a more positive view it might just be autonomy will be truly genuine and the content of Scottish editions of “News Scotland”newspapers will be truly balanced reflecting the electorate’s views of politics in Scotland. Another false dawn? I hope not.

 

New UK began operations in Scotland in 1985

 

 

8 March 2016:  News UK has declared its commitment to news north of the border by re-naming its Scottish operations News Scotland.

News UK which publishes the Scottish Sun, The Times in Scotland and The Sunday Times Scotland said the rebrand was made to give the management of its Scottish titles more autonomy to operate as its own entity whilst “maintaining close ties” to the business’s London headquarters.

 

 

 

 

Richard Bogie will be joining the company on April 7th as General Manager for Scotland, with responsibility for delivering commercial targets and developing new opportunities for its Scottish business. He will be based in the Glasgow office of News UK, home to The Scottish Sun and the Scottish editions of The Times and The Sunday Times.

Richard has a wealth of experience in publishing, sales and marketing at media companies across the UK. He was previously Assistant Managing Director at Scotsman Publications.

His appointment comes amid plans for fresh editorial innovations at News UK’s Scottish titles, coinciding with the country’s recently invigorated cultural and political scenes.

 

Mike Darcey, Chief Executive Officer of News UK, said:

There is great potential to grow our Scottish business, and I welcome Richard to the team. I have every confidence in his extensive experience in publishing and sales, which will allow us to drive the operation forward and explore new opportunities.”

 

Richard Bogie, General Manager (designate) for Scotland, News UK, said:

“This past year has been an exciting one for Scotland, with the Referendum altering the balance of power in UK politics and I am delighted to be joining News UK at this exciting time for Scotland and the news media industry.”

He added “This is the start of a new chapter for our Scottish business and products and underscores our great belief and confidence in our Scotland operations.

 

“We made huge inroads with our exceptional coverage during the Scottish referendum and general election and this re-brands signals a further commitment to delivering the best news, commentary and analysis for the issues unique to Scotland.”

http://www.news.co.uk/2015/03/news-uk-announces-appointment-of-new-general-manager-for-scotland/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-35754134

 

Richard Bogie

 

 

Women Employees – Betrayed by Glasgow Councillors – the Labour Party and the Unions – Not Worthy of Your Vote

 

 

 

21 March 2014: Glasgow Council Rips Off Female Employees – But the lamb Nips the Lion. Remember this fiasco- and the cost of Attempting to Defend Their Actions

In 2005 Glasgow Councillors guided by Stephen Purcell, with the full support of their Labour Party colleagues, in government, in Scotland created Arms Length External Organizations (ALEOs) and transferred large numbers of Council employees to said organizations.

Evading their responsibilities over equal pay they created “Cordia” a company providing care in the community services and moved a largely female workforce into it in a cynical attempt to locate the bulk of their low paid women workers together locking them into a low wage environment forever.

This would be achieved by implementing the “equal pay act” at the time of the transfer of staff, under ‘TUPE  regulations. The Council calculated that by putting many of its low paid female workers into (Cordia) – that the women would no longer be employed alongside their former higher paid male workers who, in the absence of change would have been used as comparators for equal pay purposes increasing salary costs.

Male employees on a much higher rate of pay, were all placed in their own ALEO (City Building) which was not the same or even an associated employer – so the Council was ‘off the hook’ as far as future equal pay claims were concerned.

 

 

 

The Unions

The unions in Glasgow kept their members in the dark about the huge pay differences between traditional male and female council jobs – and originally sided with the council when these big pay differences were exposed in 2005.

So the trade unions have a credibility problem because of their behaviour in Glasgow which remains to this day – since the trade unions Glasgow also failed to put up any serious resistance over the creation of ALEOs either.

 

 

 

Labour Party MSP’s

Not one of the local Labour MSPs spoke out against these payments at the time – including Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader – whose partner/husband Archie Graham was a senior Labour councillor in Glasgow.

 

 

 

Litigation 2005 – 2014   (10 years of court sessions – Female staff V Glasgow City Council)

Action 4 Equality Scotland took up the case for equal pay for female staff transferred to  Cordia.

Court representation was placed with Fox and Partners Solicitors – and Daphne Romney a leading QC who also represented the staff  during the successful genuine material factor  (GMF) hearing against Glasgow City Council in 2007.

But Glasgow City Council persisted with their argument that they had acted entirely within the Law and in 2013 their solicitors managed to persuade an Employment Tribunal that the newly created ALEOs were not an ‘associated employer’ – in employment law terms.

The significance of which was that staff transferred to Cordia had effectively lost their ability to continue with an equal pay claim – once they had been ‘TUPE transferred’.

Action for Equality Scotland submitted the finding to the “Court of Appeal” arguing that the decision of the Employment Tribunal was unfair – since the council retained control of all ALEO’s.

Said control extending to  extra ‘top-up’ payments to Councillors for overseeing the ALEOs – which to many people, seemed like money for old rope.

The Council maintained their position that female employees could no longer compare themselves to male comparators who remained in the employment of the Council – the plain purpose of the Council’s strategy being to try and evade responsibility for equal pay claims.

 

City Council Leader

 

 

The Court of Appeal (final outcome)

In the Inner House Lords Brodie, Drummond and Philip handed down a major decision affecting more than 2,500 Action 4 Equality Scotland clients with equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow City Council lost a big appeal case, – over whether or not thousands of council workers transferred to various arms length bodies (known as ALEOs) – can continue with their equal pay claims.

The good news is that they can – so hip, hip, hooray – for the 2,700 claimants from Action 4 Equality Scotland who are affected by this decision!

Action 4 Equality Scotland now represents 5,500 clients in the ongoing equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council – whereas the trade unions represent only penny numbers.

Glasgow City Council workers dress as suffragettes to march for equal pay. Picture: Robert Perry

Image result for action for equality scotland images

 

 

Statement – Action for Equality Scotland

Whoever dreamed up this despicable plan – should be sacked forthwith by Glasgow’s ruling ‘socialist’ Labour administration – that is if they have not already departed the scene with an generously enhanced tax-free lump and final salary pension.

“We began this litigation back in 2005 and over the past 10 years we have witnessed Glasgow City Council enter into complicated and costly avoidance measures to escape their responsibilities to low paid.

 

 

 

True to his word during the Scottish election campaign – John Swinney has now put a stop to the practice which has been widely condemned – as a ridiculous waste of public money.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the new rules will end payments to Councillors who sit on bodies known as arms-length external organizations, after a Holyrood committee discovered that Glasgow Councillors had claimed £260,000 between them.

http://action4equalityscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/glasgow-city-council.html
http://www.employmentcasesupdate.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed16273

 

What a bunch!!!!!

 

 

 

The fight continues delay, delay, delay the most invidious form of denial

http://action4equalityscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/glasgow-update.html

 

 

 

 

 

Corruption – Graft – Nepotism – Glasgow Controlled by the Labour Party

 

 

 

 

Sohan Singh – Profile of a Councillor

Councillor Singh apparently attempted to have the Council annul £1400 of private debts he had racked up.

Earlier in the year he participated in a business group aiming to partner with the Council linked to disgraced Council leader Stephen Purcell.

He has operated as a landlord with a licence on homes he bought in the East End from the Council for £1 which was sold on agreement that they would be renovated. They have not been renovated.

Unlicensed alcohol sales have been taking place at hotels he owns.

HMRC has taken the step of closing down one of his companies after he racked up huge unpaid bills.

He has recently been charged with perverting the course of justice.

Previously he was convicted for his part in a major VAT bootlegging operation.

He is a regular Labour donor, but was suspended for eight weeks not long after his election for parking in a disabled bay.

All of this information is in the public domain and provides explanatory briefing supporting the generally held public opinion that embattled Singh is not the best example of a public servant.

 

 

 

16 July 1999: The man behind Scotland’s biggest duty-free drink scam is jailed for six years.

Singh was at the centre of a fraudulent operation involving enough whisky and vodka to give every adult in Scotland two drinks each. Singh, 46, from Bishopbriggs, was found guilty of defrauding the country of £1.6m in duty on 16 lorry loads of whisky over a 10-week period. Customs investigators who brought him to justice reckoned the scam involved duty on more than eight million pub measures of whisky and vodka.

Sentenced with Singh at the High Court in Glasgow were two co-accused, James Sanderson, 43, and Craig McAteer, 29. Sanderson, from Nitshill in Glasgow, was found guilty of evading £399,000 in duty, and McAteer, from Motherwell, of evading £376,000 in duty. They were jailed for three years and 30 months respectively.

The case against a fourth man – spirits broker Kevin Burrage, 36, of Shoeburyness near Southend – was found not proven. Another accused, Anthony Sawers, 31, from Hamilton, also walked free from court.

 

 

Scam details

During the trial, the court heard how a series of phoney liquor exporting firms were set up to further the scam. Fake orders for drink were faxed to a London bond. Once paid for – free of duty – the drink was supposed to be exported to Germany, France, Italy and Denmark and Spain. But instead the consignments were driven to Scotland and hidden at secret storage places in Coatbridge, West Calder, Livingstone, Wishaw, Bannockburn, and Glasgow. Lonely farmhouses were also used by the gang. From there, cheap drink was sold in under-the-counter deals to off-licences all over the central belt and distributed in hired vans. Customs and Excise was so concerned at losses of duty and VAT in the west of Scotland that its elite National Investigation Service moved in.

 

 

 

Surveillance operation

The Customs officers secretly took photographs of the participants and the handover of drink to the buyers. They watched off-sales owners drive away with so much whisky and vodka that their cars and vans were down on their springs. On 11 March, 250 Customs officers swooped on 65 premises throughout the UK. Singh and his gang were arrested and charged, and spirits they had not yet sold – worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in duty – were seized. More than £40,000 in cash was ordered to be confiscated by the court. After the trial, Singh was notified of the Crown’s intention to seize his assets. Sentencing Singh, Lord Phillip told him: “You were in overall control in Scotland of a wide-ranging, carefully planned and efficiently run operation designed to defraud the state and you were making large profits.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/396352.stm

 

 
10 April 2005: A Curry shop boss jailed over Scotland’s biggest duty-free fraud has been cleared after the Customs operation against him collapsed in chaos.

Singh, 51, was jailed for six years after being convicted of dodging pounds 1.6 million of tax due on lorry-loads of booze in one ten-week period. But he has been cleared after serious flaws were revealed in the Customs operation.

Singh, who runs the Bombay Blue curry house in Glasgow, spent just 10 months in jail after being convicted along with James Sanderson, who got three years, and Craig McAteer, who got two and a half. They stood trial in 1999 after undercover Customs officers claimed they sold 16 lorry-loads of whisky – meant to be sent abroad duty-free – on the British black market. Customs claimed the staggering haul was enough to give every adult in Scotland two duty-free drinks.

But the cleared Scots are just some of the prosecutions that have collapsed in the wake of the Customs operation. Up to pounds 2 billion was lost in unpaid taxes during the sting operation, centred on a tax-free warehouse called the London City Bond. Customs allowed the fraud to continue in the hope of catching Mr Bigs but the cases have collapsed since their informant was exposed as a main player in the scam.

Singh was released pending his appeal in March 2000. Last night he said: ‘My lawyers appealed against my conviction and my sentence. ‘At that time we didn’t know anything about what the Customs had been doing. ‘That didn’t come out until a court case in Manchester about six months after I had been released. ‘The prosecution were in no hurry for the appeal to go ahead but they eventually had to admit that I was not guilty. My conviction was quashed last year. ‘That means that everything has been scratched from my record. I am completely clear.’

Singh says he is not interested in suing and says compensation is not important. He said: ‘I am very lucky that I don’t have any problems or high blood pressure, despite everything that has happened. ‘I don’t need the money. If I got pounds 50,000 or pounds 100,000 then so what? ‘My children are happy, they are getting a good education and that is far more important to me than compensation.’

Singh was alleged to have been making pounds 40,000 profit on every lorry-load, selling the booze on for between pounds 4 and pounds 5 a bottle. On March 11, 1998, Customs officers ‘knocked’ the operation. More than 250 officers from Scotland and England arrested 21 suspects and executed 55 search warrants.

 

 

False

More than 2500 cases of spirits were seized to add to 4400 cases that had been impounded. Officers also found documents at the LCB showing that at least 15 lorry-loads traced to Scotland had gone overseas. A dozen export forms had false foreign stamps.During his trial, it was revealed that Singh had been a target for some kind of vengeance over a deal which went wrong. In July 1998, while he was on bail, three hooded men walked into his office and systematically clubbed him with baseball bats, breaking both of his legs. Singh’s sentence was a year short of the maximum possible.

The judge Lord Phillip told Singh: ‘You were in control in Scotland of a carefully-planned and efficiently-run operation designed to defraud the state and you were making huge profits.’ In 2000, Singh was released pending his appeal and when it eventually came to court, in June last year, the Crown told the court that they would not be resisting the appeals. Singh and McAteer walked free.

 

 

Hitman

McAteer, one of Singh’s alleged lieutenants, was the best friend of murdered drug dealer Justin McAlroy, shot dead after attending a Labour Party fundraiser at his dad’s club. Hitman William ‘Tiler’ Gage was convicted of McAlroy’s execution last year but the man who paid him has never been caught.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/DUTY+FREED+..SUBH+Curry+king+is+cleared+of+dodging+pounds+1.6m+tax+on…-a0131301077

 

 

 

10 April 2005: UP to 20 Customs officers are under investigation by police after their disastrous operation against LCB.

The profits from the scam – which the fraudsters called ‘The Swerve’ – were enormous. Despite documents claiming they were heading abroad via ferry ports, the lorries full of duty-free vodka and whisky swerved off course and headed to Scotland. Their loads were hidden, mainly at warehouses in Coatbridge, West Calder, Livingston, Wishaw, Bannockburn and Glasgow. From there, plain white vans took the cheap drink to off-licences across the Central Belt.

But convictions linked to the massive operation were overturned after it emerged the key customs witness, Alf Allington – the managing director of LCB – lied under oath about his status as an informant. His customs handlers had turned a blind eye as he helped the huge fraud proceed with an estimated loss of pounds 2 billion in lost duty.

In the appeal of four men at the Court of Appeal in London last year, Customs admitted that they had intelligence that Allington himself was involved in committing frauds and was taking bribes. Customs now admit that Allington should never have been called as a witness ‘relied on by the prosecution’ in the trial in February, 1998. In the case against Singh and McAteer, Customs decided not to use Allington as a witness but to call an employee of his, Raymond Buckledee, instead. But Allington did give evidence in several trials after February 1998 and was still appearing for the prosecution as late as 2000.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Police+to+probe+Customs+fiasco.-a0131301076

 

 

 

14 February 2012: A curry entrepreneur has been accused of stealing £1.46 million of taxpayers’ cash after the £7.3million sale of his upmarket hotel and restaurant, it was reported in the Scottish press recently.

Archie Sharif, 43, sold the Lorne Hotel and Bukharah restaurant in Glasgow after his business hit the rocks. But instead of handing over £1.46 million in VAT from the sale, he is accused of transferring the cash to a bank in Pakistan. HM Revenue & Customs foiled the alleged fraud days after Sharif travelled to Karachi to try to access the money in November.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland then took Sharif to the Court of Session where judge Lord Brailsford agreed to freeze the businessman’s assets under proceeds of crime laws. One source said: “Glasgow criminals have been at the epicentre of the VAT fraud crimewave which has cost the UK economy billions of pounds. “It makes a welcome change if the taxman has managed to prevent one from taking place.”

Pakistan-born Sharif bought the A-listed Lorne hotel in Glasgow’s west end in 2007 after it had lain derelict for six years. Bankrolled with £11million from private investors and the Royal Bank of Scotland, he turned it into an upmarket 102-bedroom hotel, Indian restaurant and cocktail bar. At the time, he said: “This is the biggest thing I’ve taken on but I am proud to own this hotel and I want to restore it to its former glory.”

Two years ago, he admitted trading conditions were tough but saw the Bukharah named restaurant of the year at the Scottish Curry Awards. Just three months later, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed.

Sharif later sold the building for £7.3million to Bellhill Ltd, whose director is well-known curry restaurateur Sohan Singh. Singh, 58, has been chosen by Labour as a possible candidate in local elections later this year. He was jailed along with drug dealer Craig McAteer, 42, and another man in 1999 for a £1.6 million duty-free tax fraud but Singh’s conviction was overturned on appeal.

A petition lodged at the Court of Session accused Sharif of selling the hotel but failing to pay the VAT. The cash was instead sent to an account at the Standard Chartered bank in Karachi. On November 18, Sharif was accused of travelling to Pakistan to access the funds but HMRC flagged up their probe with bank bosses. Standard Chartered then returned the cash to a United National bank account in London.

The Lorne Hotel and the adjoining restaurant has become a favourite haunt of north Glasgow crime clan head Jamie Daniel and his mob. It was also where the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council Stephen Purcell, 39, held a party last week. The meal was staged to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute Purcell over alleged corruption and drug use. But Purcell spent the night of the party in a police cell following his arrest after a disturbance at his flat.

On November 25, Lord Brailsford agreed to freeze the United National account plus two others controlled by Sharif – one at Bank of Scotland branch in St Vincent Street, Glasgow, and another at RBS in Milngavie. It is not known how much money is held in the three accounts. The judge also agreed to freeze the sale of Sharif’s home in Newton Mearns, Glasgow, but allowed him to operate another bank account for “reasonable living expenses”. Sharif was personally bankrupted last July but the sequestration was recalled in September. HMRC refuse to reveal how much taxpayers are owed in connection with Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd.

http://www.menumagazine.co.uk/archive/feb2012/curryman.html

 

 
25 May 2012: A new Labour councillor and prominent businessman was operating as an illegal landlord for at least 11 months up until his election.

Singh was renting out some of the 28 properties in a block of flats in the north of Glasgow, which he bought from the city council for just £1 around 10 years ago. However, just over a month before the local elections a few weeks ago, neither the flats nor the landlord were registered with Glasgow City Council –despite having tenants for at least a year.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13059214.Labour_councillor_operated_as_illegal_landlord/

 

sohan SINGH: Failed to appear at meeting of licensing board.

 
15 October 2012: Police target councillor over licence breaches at hotel

A Labour councillor exposed as operating unlawfully as a landlord has been targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches at a hotel and claims of hampering criminal enquiries. Sohan Singh, a member of Glasgow’s ruling Labour administration, has been issued with a written warning by his own council after Strathclyde Police called on licensing chiefs to take action against his Lorne Hotel in the city’s west end.

Police complained that, in breach of alcohol laws, staff had not been trained, management structures were non-existent and staff were unable to help officers access CCTV footage following a string of assaults at the venue. Officers complained staff at the hotel could not give any contact details for managers when the police called on several occasions and that one supposed manager worked in a newsagents facing the hotel.

During the meeting it also emerged that Singh was employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen following the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Singh at a loss of about £4m last year but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money to a bank in Pakistan from the sale.

Lord Brailsford froze the businessman’s assets under proceeds of crime laws late last year, as well as freezing the sale of Sharif’s home in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire.

Just before the sale to Singh, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed. Singh failed to appear at a meeting of Glasgow’s licensing board yesterday, to the obvious irritation of councillor colleagues on the body, with the company represented by Mr Sharif.

The Herald revealed during the summer how Singh, a well-known restaurateur, had been operating without a licence as a landlord for flats he had bought from the council for just £1 a decade earlier.

Singh had already been selected as a Labour candidate at the time and was operating unlawfully despite warnings from the council leader “rogue landlords” would be fined £50,000. He resigned from his ceremonial role as a city bailie – essentially a stand-in Lord Provost – as a result.

The latest brush with the authorities over failure to adhere to legislation will heap more embarrassment on Labour, with many in the party uneasy about Singh’s selection as a candidate. The 58-year-old was jailed along with two other men in 1999 for a £1.6m duty-free tax fraud, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. At yesterday’s meeting, board chairman and Labour councillor Malcolm Cunning said: “It seems there was a laxity in management, which existed on paper but not in reality.”

Archie Maciver, Singh’s legal representative, acknowledged the shambolic management but said this had been resolved with the installation of Mr Sharif as manager. The Lorne was the venue for the wake of notorious gangland figure Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll, who was murdered in 2010. It was also where Stephen Purcell, the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, held a party to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute him over alleged corruption and drug use.

 

12_5_all_change_2

 

 

 

22 October 2012: Calls for city councillor to be expelled

Pressure is growing for a Labour councillor to be expelled from the party after he was allegedly caught using a blue badge belonging to a relative to access a disabled parking space.Sohan Singh, a prominent businessman elected to Glasgow City Council earlier this year and already stripped of a ceremonial role, will be interviewed by party enforcers tomorrow after his second brush with the authorities in a week.

Singh was representing Glasgow at the Strathclyde Fire Board at South Lanarkshire Council in Hamilton when he was spotted using the disabled bay, to the fury of his boss, city council leader Gordon Matheson. He is understood to have told colleagues that the blue badge belonged to a niece. Fraudulent use of the badge can carry a penalty of up to £1000.

Just last weekend, The Herald revealed how Singh’s hotel, the Lorne in Glasgow’s west end, had been sanctioned amid a variety of breaches of alcohol laws and claims of hampering police investigations, while it also emerged his manager had recently had his assets frozen under proceeds of crime laws. And just after his election in May it came to light that he had been operating illegally as a landlord in flats he had bought from the council for just £1. Sources within the Labour administration said that, while the party has procedures to adhere to, they expect “serious action” as the city’s leadership is “not at all happy”.

But despite promises of a “thorough investigation”, opposition politicians on the council have called for Singh’s removal from frontline politics. SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: “Since being approved as a Labour candidate Singh has shown himself to have little regard for licensing laws in terms of housing and the sale of alcohol as well as showing a contempt for the disabled by abusing the blue badge scheme. “Surely he has now reached the end of the line with the Labour party and Mr Matheson will move to have him expelled from the Labour Group. If not, the public will wonder just what Labour regard as their so called A Team.”

Tory councillor David Meikle added: “It seems every week there is a scandal involving Sohan Singh and people are now rightly demanding that Labour take action against him. If they don’t, they will be right to wonder who or what is protecting him.” The Herald is aware of councillors from across the political spectrum having received letters from constituents expressing “disgust” that Singh has not been asked to resign.

Just weeks after being elected, Singh stood down as a city bailie – a ceremonial role which could have seen him stand in for the Lord Provost at official engagements – when it emerged that while a candidate for Glasgow North East he operated illegally as a landlord. He failed to register in a mandatory scheme, despite the council leader warning “rogue landlords” would be fined £50,000. During last week’s licensing board meeting it also emerged that Singh was employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen following the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Singh at a loss of about £4m last year but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money from the sale to a bank in Pakistan.

Singh himself faces a court sequestration action in December over a £100,000 loan and could have his political career halted if he is made bankrupt. A Labour group spokesman said: “Abuse of blue badges is an extremely serious matter and the council’s business manager will carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13077954.Calls_for_city_councillor_to_be_expelled/

 

 

 

24 October 2012: Glasgow Councillor suspended from the labour party

Glasgow City Council’s Labour group booted out Sohan Singh for eight weeks after he parked illegally using his niece’s disabled blue badge. The restaurant and hotel tycoon was also removed from the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue board. He was at a committee meeting in Hamilton when he parked his Mercedes in a disabled bay.

Singh, 59, is a pal of shamed ex-Glasgow council leader Steven Purcell. Earlier this month, Singh’s Lorne Hotel in the city’s west end was rapped for breaching booze laws. In May, just after he was elected, it emerged he had been operating as an illegal landlord. He also faces a bankruptcy action in December over an alleged £100,000 loan. A Labour spokesman said: “Councillor Singh committed a serious breach by failing to uphold standards.” Singh said: “I accept full responsibility and apologise unreservedly.”

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/scottishnews/4606046/Labour-axes-car-row-dad-Sohan-Singh.html

 

 
21 February 2013: RBS blames Crieff closure on Drummond Arms Hotel ruin

The state of a crumbling Perthshire hotel has come under attack after a bank was forced to close its doors as a result of structural damage. The Royal Bank of Scotland said that the deterioration of the Drummond Arms Hotel in Crieff’s James Square means it can no longer safely serve the people of the town. The bank has been operating from temporary premises but says that, as there is no solution in sight, it has decided to close in the summer. “Despite our best efforts, we cannot safely reopen the branch because of the disrepair of the Drummond Arms hotel,” said an RBS spokesman. “As an interim measure, we have been renting a portable building from the council. However, this is not a long-term solution and, as a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on June 19. “We have advised staff and will be helping our customers to make alternative arrangements. A mobile bank will provide regular banking services in Crieff.”

MSP Roseanna Cunningham expressed anger at the situation and laid the blame at the door of a Glasgow councillor who owned the hotel. “I had been in touch with the local manager trying to arrange a meeting to discuss their situation, since it was clearly unsustainable for them to continue to carry out their business from a portable building, but this news has come as an absolute bombshell,” she said. “My anger, however, is not directed so much at the RBS as at the owner — or immediate past owner — of the Drummond Arms Hotel, whose abject failure to maintain, let alone redevelop as promised, this historic Crieff building has to a great extent forced the hand of RBS. “Sohan Singh, who is a Labour councillor in Glasgow, bought the Drummond Arms and promised much, but delivered absolutely nothing.”

However, Mr Singh was adamant that he was not to blame for the situation. He said: “I have not owned the hotel since March 2012. Throughout my ownership, I sought support to redevelop the hotel, even speaking with RBS, but without success. “I regret that, given the recession, funding proved impossible. I sold the hotel to others who assured me of their desire to bring the building back into use.There has been no sleight of hand on my part. “I have had no correspondence from Roseanna Cunningham about the hotel when I owned it, so I am confused about why she has only now chosen to speak out and her accusations about me have no foundation. “If Ms Cunningham had spoken to me when I was the owner, then she would have understood what happened and the problems that I, along with others, faced in these economic conditions. “I regret that, as with so many other businesses in the recession, my business plans did not work out. “I am sorry that Crieff is losing out as a result. I can only hope that RBS can find a solution to ensure that it remains in Crieff.”

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/perth-kinross/rbs-blames-crieff-closure-on-drummond-arms-hotel-ruin-1.70152

 


16 July 2013: Scandal-hit councillor Sohan Singh involved in new row over unpaid bill which officials wanted to write off

A Controversial councillor is embroiled in a new row over an unpaid bill – which officials tried to write off. Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh’s Lorne Hotel in Finnieston owed almost £1400 to the council-owned Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. Despite repeated requests, the bill was not paid. And after four months, officials at the agency recommended to their board – which includes council leader Gordon Matheson – that the debt be written off.

But it was pointed out there could be a conflict of interest because the debtor was a councillor. A source said: “Gordon Matheson looked horrified when he realised whose business it was.” The hotel finally cleared their tab after the Daily Record approached Singh, 60, who said he had been unaware of the debt.

Singh, who was jailed in 1999 for tax fraud before being cleared on appeal, has been involved in a string of controversies over illegally-rented flats and using disabled bays unlawfully.

Tory councillor David Meikle said: “It’s a shame it took the Record’s intervention for Councillor Singh to do the right thing. “I hope in future he ensures that all his businesses pay up and the council take all steps to recoup bad debts.”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scandal-hit-councillor-involved-new-row-2056459

 

 

 

27 August 2013: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has moved to wind up one of a raft of companies owned by a controversial Labour politician

In the latest in a string of revelations about his businesses which have embarrassed party bosses and colleagues, HMRC has presented a petition to the courts to wind up Bellhill Limited, one of a raft of companies owned by Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh. Bellhill is the vehicle for Singh’s Lorne Hotel in Glasgow’s west end. It has previously been targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches and claims of hampering criminal enquiries, leading to Singh’s own local authority issuing him with a written warning.

A notice in the Edinburgh Gazette, an official publication of the UK Government which includes insolvency and bankruptcy announcements, said HMRC was calling on the court to appoint a liquidator to the company. The 60-year-old is listed as the sole director of Bellhill. Singh was recently suspended by the Labour Party after police moved on another of his Glasgow hotels, Artto, when it came to light it had been selling alcohol without a licence for over a year.

The Lorne Hotel has also been the subject of speculation among Singh’s estranged political colleagues after it emerged its electricity was being provided, at least partly, by a mobile generator parked outside the Sauchiehall Street venue. In little over a year in frontline politics Singh, who represents the north-east of Glasgow, has been affected by constant revelations.

It emerged he had operated unlawfully as a landlord in flats bought for £1 from the council, he was temporarily suspended by the council’s Labour administration for admitting to parking in a disabled bay while on council businesses and he quit the ceremonial post of bailie for the council. He also racked up debts to the city council’s marketing bureau and was accused by a Scottish Government minister of being responsible for the closure of a Perthshire bank because of the state of the adjoining property which he owns.

One source said: “This really does make it easier for Labour to keep Sohan out and close all doors to a return. It may not be the defining thing but as he continues to embarrass people he’s just hammering nails into his own coffin. “I can only begin to speculate how much he owes HMRC but it must be a considerable wedge if they’re seeking to liquidate. The generator outside the Lorne has been a topic of conversation for some time now.”

Glasgow SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: “Cllr Singh’s track record is simply awful and an almost daily embarrassment to his political masters. I hope those controlling Glasgow Labour bring this rather sad episode to an end soon for all our sakes.”

It is also the second time the Lorne has been in trouble with HMRC. It emerged last year  Singh had been employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen after the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Mr Singh at a loss of about £4m in 2011 but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money to a bank in Pakistan from the sale. Just before the sale to Singh, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed.

HMRC said that while the figures owed to it would be publicly available when the matter came to court it could not comment on individual cases and reveal the extent of the debt.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13120058.Bid_to_wind_up_politician_s_firm/

 

 
7 September 2013: A Scottish Labour politician, currently suspended by the party, has appeared in court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh appeared on petition at the city’s Sheriff Court 10 days ago, along with another man, Mahesh Sharda. Singh, 60, made no plea or declaration and was bailed. No date has been set for Singh’s next court appearance. Mr Sharda was similarly bailed after making no plea or declaration.

Singh was only elected to Glasgow City Council in May 2012 and represents the North East ward. A well-known businessman before becoming the first Sikh elected to political office in Scotland, he owns a raft of hotels, including Artto in Glasgow city centre and the Lorne Hotel in the west end.

He had been suspended from the Labour group on the council in late 2012 after admitting to using a disabled parking space while on business for the local authority. His current suspension from Scottish Labour is not related to his Glasgow Sheriff Court appearance on August 28.

http://www.heraldscotland.com news/13121679.Controversial_Labour_councillor_charged/

 


30 September 2013: Glasgow and a tale of its first Sikh councillor

Sitting in the cubicles of one of his prime hotel properties on bustling Hope Street, a dapper-looking billionaire entrepreneur Sohan Singh has been busy drawing up the list of Indian dignitaries coming to attend the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2014 in Glasgow. The 60-year-old, who had brought the Queen’s baton from India to Scotland last year, is the first Sikh to be elected to Glasgow as the city’s councillor. He ran the elections on Scottish Labour Party in 2012. He now sits on Glasgow’s CWG committee as its member.

“Being a councillor with my Indian and Sikh roots is a privilege for me. The Commonwealth Games represent a huge opportunity for Glasgow, especially in terms of the social and economic benefits and lasting legacy they will leave for the community of this city. It is the biggest event the city is ever likely to stage and I’m really looking forward to my role of showcasing Glasgow to the world and to my Indian colleagues,” Singh said

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/nri-achievers/Glasgow-scotches-a-tale-of-1st-Sikh-councilor-3-8m-gurudwara/articleshow/23280146.cms

 


19 Jun 2015: In Crieff, the Drummond Arms Hotel has become a derelict eyesore in this picturesque Perthshire town.

Crieff Community Trust (CCT) had been in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland with a view to establishing a Community Right to Buy (CRTB) that would enable a long-term solution to be found for the hotel.

Ailsa Campbell, chairman of CCT, expressed her exasperation to BQ about how a positive scheme – supported by 22% of the local electoral role in Crieff – had become stuck. “We’ve had massive local support to do something about the hotel. We’ve won the Community Right to Buy yet we have hit a brick wall. It has all been depressing. At the moment, we have a ‘watching brief’.”

The group sent its proposal, along with required signatures contained in a petition, to the Scottish Government, with the aim of finding a community or multi-purpose use for the James Square premises. Last December, a meeting between the trust’s representatives, Perth and Kinross Council, and Strathfare Ltd, the current owner of the derelict hotel, took place at Crieff Hydro.

Mrs Campbell said that the Royal Bank of Scotland, rather than helping the local community, closed the branch attached to the hotel and sold it to Strathfare.

Ranjeet Singh, a Strathfare director, and Sohan Singh, its former owner, told the meeting they intend to have the building wind, watertight and structurally safe, by the end of April, although the trust maintain the hotel is in a sorry state.

The building, estimated to be worth between £450,000 to £500,000, is not up for sale or being marketed, as the owners say the market isn’t conducive to achieving what they believe it is worth. Mrs Campbell reckons a further £4m will be required to refurbish the building and bring it back to life.

According to a minute “The owners made it clear that, for now, they did not intend to do anything that would trigger the CRTB, as they would be looking to achieve significantly greater than its current market value, and they would be happy to retain the property for years, until the property market had improved.”

 


14 December 2015: Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh cleared of perverting course of justice, following row over Hindu priest

A Glasgow councillor has been found not guilty of allegations of attempting to pervert the course of justice in a row involving a senior religious figure. Sohan Singh could now be in line for a Labour comeback after a long–term suspension was imposed on him due to an unrelated controversy.

Singh, who is behind the Artto hotel and popular Bombay Blues restaurant in the city, was elected as a Labour councillor for Glasgow North East in 2012. However, he was suspended by the party within months of getting elected over claims he misused a disabled parking badge at a fire board meeting in Hamilton. The councillor said of the incident at the time: “I fully accept my behaviour has fallen short of the standards expected of elected officials.”

Singh then appeared in court to face serious criminal allegations. He was on trial this year charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after allegedly informing a woman that her immigration status would be affected if she continued a complaint against a Hindu priest.In evidence, the woman alleged that the priest had made inappropriate comments towards her and asked her to spend a night away with him.

She claimed she contacted Singh, a Sikh, after he was recommended to her about helping with her visa application. The woman claimed she met Singh at the Artto Hotel and alleged in court that he “started a conversation about the Hindu priest case”. She alleged he told her that it “shouldn’t go to court” and that “we should talk and resolve this matter”.

The woman also told the court: “He said that it can affect your visa status as well.” However, Singh denied the charges and was found not guilty on November 27 by a sheriff. A co-accused was acquitted.

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14142406.Glasgow_councillor_Sohan_Singh_

cleared_of_perverting_course_of_justice__following_row_over_Hindu_priest/

 

 
A Scottish hotel has ended up with the rudest name imaginable after its Facebook page was C-bombed. The three-star Lorne Hotel in Glasgow was changed on the social media site to the C*** Hotel. The hotel’s page was hacked in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Lorne Hotel’s recent history has been as colourful as its new name, including serving as the venue for the wake of murdered gangster Kevin ‘Gerbil’ Carroll.

The change in Facebook name has not-so-funny potential consequences for unwitting visitors. Those who have in the past ‘checked-in’ to the hotel on Facebook are now listed as visiting the ‘C*** Hotel Glasgow’ on their own pages. And those who have tagged the establishment in pictures now may have to answer bemused questions from family and friends who will see that they stayed the night at the ‘C*** Hotel’.

The duty manager, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘We are aware of this matter. Obviously as admins we can see it. ‘But once a name is changed on Facebook you can’t physically change it for two weeks. We have been in contact with Facebook to get it changed back as soon as possible.

As well as serving as the venue for ‘Gerbil’s’ wake in 2010, it was also where Steven Purcell, the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, held a party to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute him over alleged corruption and drug use.

Previous owner Sohan Singh, a former member of Glasgow’s ruling Labour administration, was targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches at the hotel in 2012. He was issued with a written warning by his own council after Strathclyde Police called on licensing chiefs to take action. Archie Maciver, Singh’s legal representative, acknowledged the shambolic management but said this had been resolved.

At the time, board chairman and Labour councillor Malcolm Cunning said: ‘It seems there was a laxity in management, which existed on paper but not in reality.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3360668/Glasgow-hotel-receives-world-s-rudest-thanks-Facebook-hack.html

 

Fraud – Corruption in Public Office – Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games Legacy

 

Glasgow Labour councillor in 'nepotism' row abandons Holyrood bid

Councillor Yvonne Kucuk (Calton Ward)

 

 

22 November 2015: Labour mired in ‘nepotism’ and ‘cronyism’ claims over Commonwealth Games legacy project run by Glasgow councillor Yvonne Kucuk

A £3.5 Million Commonwealth Games legacy project is embroiled in nepotism claims over a string of posts occupied by a local Labour councillor’s friends and family.

The project was overseen from the beginning by the People’s Development Trust (PDT), a charity that runs the Hub and which hired Kucuk as the £35,000-a-year regeneration manager. Another Labour councillor, Maureen Burke, also declares a paid job at the Trust.

Kucuk took up her post in 2011 and her cousin Alan Kennedy was appointed to the P.D.T. board in the same year. He left in July 2014 and his son Robert joined the board weeks later. Kucuk’s husband is also working at the Hub.

One of her local political allies, David Stewart, joined the board in 2011 as an 18-year-old before leaving last year. He describes himself on social media as a “founding director” of the PDT and has blogged on how he helped campaign for McAveety and his local councillors “I was actively involved in canvassing for my then local MSP Frank McAveety in the 2011 election and then again for my local Labour councillors in the local government elections of 2012.”

George Redmond, the only other Labour councillor who represents the Calton ward, was also on the PDT board for a spell. His cousin William Faulds has a job at the Hub and Kenneth Edward Faulds – the son of another of Redmond’s cousins – was briefly a PDT board member. Redmond said: “The entire Redmond family, inspired by the example and commitment of my late parents, have been active in community work in Bridgeton – Dalmarnock my entire life.”

 

Yvonne Kucuk  George Redmond (Centre)

 

* Malfeasance In Public Office At Glasgow City Council: The Case For A Public Inquiry. a dossier of available evidence compiled by the 100 Promises Community Campaign. George Redmond – Profile of a councillor.

Information we have gathered from an academics private investigations shows Councillor George Redmond owns 33 houses. The vast majority of landlords within Glasgow according to the Council’s own figures on the private rented sector own a handful of properties.

Of the 36,000 or so private rented properties there are only a handful of landlords with several dozens of properties available for rent.

We are unaware of whether Councillor Redmond rents out the majority of his own homes, but we know that most were acquired through right to buy arrangements and then sold to him.

His private residence has been valued at £430,000. Councillor George Redmond is a wealthy man. His career began in politics, and all of his private commercial appointments were preceded by his election as a Councillor.

Most of his commercial appointments concern his long term interest in regeneration, land and the housing market, and there is a strong cross over between his leadership in these fields and his role as a senior Councillor, and so it could well be said that his considerable personal wealth owes much to his public tenure.

That he has been able to leverage such considerable personal wealth from his public tenure is clearly not illegal, but it is also clearly not at the behest of his constituents.

His control of a housing association and a credit union, alongside his ownership of capital, and strategic involvement in regeneration also speak to a man who has very considerable commercial and public power, particularly in and around his constituency.

That his actions have frequently been instrumental in a range of the submissions of malfeasance to this dossier are why we have chosen to single him out and highlight his personal wealth and investments.

Yvonne Kucuk (Centre)

 

A complaint has been made to the council about the P.D.T.’s governance. The recruitment process that led to Kucuk’s appointment in 2011 was carried out by the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency (G.E.R.A.), a charity set up to tackle poverty.

In 2012, it was reported that outgoing G.E.R.A. chief executive Ronnie Saez had been given a golden goodbye worth £500,000 by Labour councillors.

A charity watchdog ruled that part of the pay-off agreed by G.E.R.A. amounted to “misconduct”.

David Meikle, a Tory councillor in the city, said “The Dalmarnock Legacy Hub was about regenerating the East End and helping local people – not employment opportunities for Labour councillors’ relatives.

It smacks of utter cronyism and nepotism. We need to see evidence of the PDT’s recruitment process for board members and employees. I think the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator may need to look into this.”

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14095299.Labour_mired_in__nepotism__and

__cronyism__claims_over_Commonwealth_Games_legacy_project/

 

The opening of the Legacy Hub in Dalmarnock Councillor Kucuk  second from right

 

 

29 November 2015: Glasgow Labour councillor in ‘nepotism’ row abandons Holyrood bid

A Labour councillor embroiled in a nepotism row has pulled out of the race to become a party candidate for Holyrood. Yvonne Kucuk, who has faced scrutiny over the number of relatives linked to a community centre she helps run, has not applied to be on the Glasgow Shettleston shortlist.

Kucuk, who represents the Calton ward on Glasgow city council, had been the favourite in the internal contest after Frank McAveety relinquished the candidacy due to becoming council leader again. However, senior party figures were said to be unenthusiastic about her winning the selection and re-opened the applications process.

Scottish Labour headquarters stated that the original shortlist did not “reflect the aspirations” of the party in respect of diversity. Kucuk was then at the centre of a storm over a Commonwealth Games legacy project she helped deliver in the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow.

SNP MSP John Mason said: “I’m not surprised. If Labour are now being more careful about who they select as candidates, I would welcome that.”

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14111239.Glasgow_Labour_councillor_in__

nepotism__row_abandons_Holyrood_bid/

 

Frank McAveety

 

 

25 February 2016: International firm of auditors to investigate a Commonwealth Games legacy project managed by a Labour councillor in Glasgow.

The Big Lottery Fund (B.L.F.) called in outside help after reviewing how its £1.3m award for the multi-purpose Dalmarnock ‘Hub’ had been spent.

The project has been overseen by a charity – the People’s Development Trust – and a key staff member is Calton councillor Yvonne Kucuk, who was appointed as the P.D.T.’s £35,000 a year “regeneration manager”.

The Legacy Hub, located in the shadows of the Emirates arena in the east end, benefited from £3m from the Scottish Government and £1,295,000 from the B.L.F., while Glasgow city council sold land to the Trust for £1. Around £840,000 of the award was to part-fund the Hub’s construction and £455,000 was for four years’ operating costs.

However, the flagship scheme has been marred by splits. Board members, Reverend Alison Davidge, Nancy Clunie and Daniel Bradley quit their posts and a fourth individual quit as directors. The B.L.F. was notified about the departures by the individuals afore-named…

The quango subsequently launched a review to examine whether its funding had been used in line with its grant agreement. The probe escalated after the B.L.F.’s internal audit department contracted Mazars, one of Europe’s largest accounting firms, to carry out checks.

A B.L.F. spokesman said: “It’s a term and condition of our grant that we know our funds are being spent appropriately and in line with our agreement. With this in mind our internal audit department has appointed Mazars, an independent organisation who will begin their assessment mid next week with a view to report back to us in approximately a month’s time.”

Local SNP MSP John Mason said: “There is a general concern that Labour treats Glasgow as its personal fiefdom, where friends get positions and jobs and not in a transparent way. “It is the councillor’s dual role in this project that is concerning.

You should be a local councillor, or part of the development project. Or, you should have the development role and not be the local councillor. A sensible person would surely conclude that you cannot do both roles. It is about public perception.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14299992.Auditors_probe_Commonwealth_

Games_project_managed_by_Labour_councillor/

 

A Glasgow street scene captured by Raymond Depardon in 1980. Picture: Magnum