Two directors of a Bradford based pub management company that failed to pay its creditors have been disqualified from acting as directors for a total of 13 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The directors have both given undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills not to be directors for the duration of their bans, without leave of the court.
William Dene Lyall (age 62), disqualified for eight years and Joseph Harthen (51), disqualified for five years, were directors of Inn Take (UK) Ltd (“Inn Take”) which operated pubs on temporary licences for breweries and pub companies unable to find tenants. Their disqualifications started on 31 January 2014 and 29 November 2013.
The investigation found that on Mr Lyall’s direction, Inn Take entered in to an outsourcing arrangement under which £1.6 million was paid over to cover utility bills and business rates that were never paid. Mr Lyall subsequently transferred the business of Inn Take to a new company, leaving an outstanding debt of almost £1.4 million to utility companies and local authorities.
Commenting on the disqualification, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver of The Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said:
“The conduct of Mr Lyall and Mr Harthen fell well below that expected of a company director.
“It is clear that Mr Harthen, despite being aware of his appointment as a company director, took no interest in the affairs of the company or of his responsibilities to creditors.
“The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to remove culpable directors from doing business.”
The investigation also found that Mr Lyall caused the company to continue to make payments under a supposed outsourcing agreement when he should have been aware that hundreds of thousands of pounds were not being paid over to utility companies and local authorities for outstanding bills.
Mr Harthen was found to have failed to exercise any proper control over the company. Both Mr Lyall and Mr Harthen also failed to maintain or deliver up adequate accounting records with the consequence that investigators were unable to establish the purpose of payments totalling £2.2million.