By James Black
Celtic largest individual shareholder Dermot Desmond has demanded to know if a journalist is a Rangers fan – after the Irish billionaire was implicated in the so-called “Paradise Papers.”
Desmond made the demand after being challenged by the BBC’s Mark Daly about his business’ tax affairs following an allegation a private jet company that he owned was set up to avoid paying tax.
After denying the allegations in person when challenged outside Celtic Park before the recent Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, Desmond contacted Daly by letter insisting that he refrain from any further allegations or face legal action.
Desmond also criticised the investigative journalist for “ambushing” him on his way to watch his side play the German champions.
“Are you a Rangers supporter?” Desmond wrote, as quoted by the BBC.
“You ambushed me last night on the way to a Celtic game in the company of my family and friends.
“This was unwarranted and showed no respect for my privacy.”
Leaked Paradise Papers documents allege Execujet – owned at the time by Desmond – asked a law firm to open an Isle of Man company in 2012 to avoid Swiss taxes.
Mr Desmond strongly denied his former company may have avoided tax, saying in his letter: “It is part of due diligence criteria for all my investments that they are tax and regulatory compliant.
“You are trying to create something that does not exist.”
Daly is the same journalist who made the BBC documentary ‘The Men Who Sold The Jerseys’ which investigated Rangers’ financial meltdown of 2012.
Irish billionaire Desmond owns 39% of the Glasgow giants after first investing in the Hoops when Fergus McCann bought the club in 1994.
Celtic currently sit top of the Scottish Premiership – three points ahead of Aberdeen – and have a Scottish League Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden later this month.
The Hoops’ most recent annual accounts showed a huge 74% increase in turnover to a record £90.6million.
In other Celtic news, Bayern Munich have sent Celtic a birthday message