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Directors disqualified for company trading whilst insolvent | Portland

Three directors of a betting investment firm that traded in Northumberland have been disqualified for eight years. Centaur Global Limited, went into liquidation in January 2012 owing creditors more than £2m.....

The company, offered members of the public and institutions the opportunity to invest in gaming-related funds and in gambling.

The Insolvency Service obtained the disqualifications against Andrew Cork and Keith and Hazel Sobey, which prevents them from being company directors for eight years.

The basis for the disqualification was that all three ‘caused or allowed Centaur Global Limited (Global) to trade whilst insolvent and to the detriment of its clients from 1 January 2010 to the date of liquidation’.

Shortfall not reflected in balance sheet

The judgment goes on to say ‘from analysis of Global records, bank and betting accounts, it is apparent that Global had a shortfall in client money resource against the amount that it should have been holding on behalf of its clients. This shortfall of client funds was not reflected in the balance sheets of the annual accounts or within the QuickBooks data. As at end January 2010, this shortfall was £119,476, by end December 2010, it was £697,807 and at end December 2011, it was £1,513,688’.

The judgement also refers to the movement of money between various accounts. Between 1st January, 2010, and the date of liquidation, funds totalling £567,994 from the Global current bank accounts and £1,014,608 from the Global client bank accounts went to the Sobeys’ bank accounts.

In the same period, transfers were made the other way of £885,995 into the Global bank accounts and £318,200 into the Global client bank account, a net difference of £378,407.

Directors who fail in duties and incur significant debt will not be spared by The Insolvency Service

The Insolvency Service is responsible for taking disqualification action against directors it considers to be ‘unfit’ and can obtain disqualification orders for between 2 and 15 years. 

The disqualification prevents an individual from not only being a director of a company, but also involved in the ‘formation, promotion or management’ of a company and a breach of a disqualification order is a criminal offence.

Over recent months The Insolvency Service appears to be taking a more active stance in bringing action against directors it considers to have failed in their duties, the most common target being those who have allowed their companies to have incurred significant debt to the crown, over an extended period.

Directors who are concerned about their company’s financial position should take early professional advice as that can be the best defence to accusations regarding their conduct.

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