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17 September 2014, 06:06
Rangers fans have repeated their call to the Ibrox board demanding football chairman Sandy Easdale be sacked.
The fresh attack from the Union of Fans comes after Malaysian businessman Datuk Faizoull Bin Ahmad, who was photographed leaving a meeting with Easdale in Glasgow last week, poured doubt on claims made by the club he was an associate of convicted fraudster Rafat Rizvi.
Rizvi is being hunted by Interpol on charges of corruption, money laundering and banking crime in Indonesia.
Rangers released a statement after Easdale's meeting with Rizvi and a delegation led by Bin Ahmad was exposed in which they claimed the club did not know Rizvi would be there as well as denying suggestions they were meeting the Far Eastern group over a potential investment deal.
The club - this month forced to launch an emergency share issue to raise desperately needed cash - insisted the Pakistan-born former ally of former Rangers chief executive Charles Green was an associate of Bin Ahmad's party. Rangers said that discussions were only focused on a youth development tie-up with Malaysian outfit Felda United.
But Scottish daily newspapers have quoted Bin Ahmad insisting he did not know who Rizvi was. He also claims one of his compatriots who joined him on the trip to Scotland is interested in buying into the fallen Glasgow giants.
Now supporter umbrella group the Union of Fans has demanded Easdale, who does not sit on the club's PLC board, should be shown the door.
The Union of Fans statement read: "We have already called for the Rangers PLC board to remove Sandy Easdale due to his involvement with convicted fraudster Rafat Rizvi. But instead of acting with the necessary propriety, the board issued a statement denying prior knowledge of any involvement from Rizvi.
"Now, Mr Bin Ahmad of the Malaysian delegation, who the board claimed Rizvi was part of, has also denied all knowledge of him. This further fuels the feeling that the PLC directors are not in fact directing the affairs of the company.
"There are two possibilities if Mr Bin Ahmad is being truthful. The first is that the board was fully aware of Rizvi's meeting with Easdale and is complicit in involving Rizvi in the affairs of the club. The second is that Easdale misled the board over the reason for Rizvi's involvement. Either way, we repeat our call for the PLC board to disassociate itself from Rizvi by removing Easdale immediately from his position as a club director.''
The fans' attack on the McGill's bus tycoon, who was jailed in 1996 after he was found guilty of a £1.5million VAT fraud, continued: "If the board refuse to remove Mr Easdale then fans and shareholders will be within their rights to assume that they condone the involvement of Rizvi.
"The board may be able to do little about the block of anonymous shareholders who Easdale represents. However, they can stop him from controlling the affairs of the club, on behalf of those shareholders, through his directorship.
"Mr Easdale has claimed that he wishes to leave his past behind him and show that he has been rehabilitated. When asked about his conviction for VAT fraud recently, he said: 'To cast up 17 years ago seems silly when everybody else has moved on. Let's look at what is happening now'.
"Well, we are looking at what is happening now and we find it extremely difficult to ignore his past when he consorts with a convicted fraudster on the Interpol wanted list. If the board and Mr Easdale think this issue is going to go away, they are sadly mistaken.''
Rangers announced last week the club had raised £3.13million after selling 15.6 million new shares, confirming further fresh investment will be required to solve its cash-flow crises.