A chartered accountant has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 12 years after a judge found him guilty of ‘grossly improper’ conduct in respect of his work as liquidator of a large number of companies.
The licensed insolvency practitioner (the respondent) had acted as liquidator of the companies which were set up as part of a tax-saving scheme provided to individuals coming to work in the United Kingdom on a temporary basis.
High Court judge, Mr Justice Newey, said the case was ‘unusual’ because it was not suggested that the respondent was ever a director of any of the companies concerned.
The application for a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 had not, as is usual, been brought by the Official Receiver or by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills but by the current liquidators of some of the companies concerned.
Amongst other wrongdoing, the judge found proved that the respondent had, whilst acting as liquidator of the companies, remitted monies that he had dishonestly obtained from those companies to an offshore vehicle which he controlled.
The respondent had also concealed the fact that he was diverting funds from the companies for his own use by employing a third party to act as a conduit for the funds, the judge said.
Describing the case as ‘particularly serious’, Mr Justice Newey said that the totality of ‘grossly improper’ misconduct that he had found proved against the respondent justified the making of a 12-year disqualification order.
The judge said that the respondent’s misconduct was ‘not confined to an isolated incident or incompetence. He dishonestly caused sums to be paid for his benefit over an extended period in respect of some 36 companies.’