Case Study

Defence of a 12-year director disqualification ban

3rd January 2024

Defence of a 12-year director disqualification ban

Suky Mann defends a client facing a 12-year ban and compensation order pursued by the Insolvency Service.

Despite facing a top-bracket disqualification period, all allegations were abandoned by the Insolvency Service after evidence that a professional advisor made the application.

Background

Facing a significant period of disqualification, our client instructed Suky in what he thought was the last chance saloon in defending a threatened director disqualification ban of 12 years and a compensation order of £46,000. Having already instructed a solicitor to deal with the investigation, the client felt that little or no progress was being made and was resigned to giving up the fight. However, a chance search on Google led him to Suky.

Our client faced allegations that he had overstated his company's turnover figures to obtain a bounce-back loan that the company was not entitled to. Further, he went on to use those funds for improper purposes.

The legal challenge

Suky demonstrated with relative ease that the bounce-back loan was used for the company's economic benefit, but the circumstances giving rise to the application itself were somewhat more troublesome.

With the benefit of legal advice and hindsight, our client accepted that the turnover had been overstated, but it transpired that he had not completed the application.

In a surprising turn of events, we discovered that our client's accountant used inaccurate figures to apply for the bounce-back loan on our client's behalf. The same accountant had also been instrumental (for a charge) in several applications for other companies. 

Our client faced an uphill battle persuading the Insolvency Service of the accountant's involvement. The accountant immediately denied it, and the Insolvency Service quickly discounted our client's explanations. Whilst the accountant had been wise enough to minimise the evidence of his involvement in the process, Suky was undeterred and set about building a case against the accountant, unearthing enough evidence to undermine the accountant's position.  

Not only was Suky able to provide evidence that the accountant made the application and did so without our client's approval of the turnover figures, but he had also been heavily involved in assisting our client in responding to the Insolvency Service's early enquiries. Suky's approach allowed her to provide evidence that the accountant drafted the responses provided by her client to cover up his involvement, at the direct and serious detriment to our client.

Following receipt of Suky's detailed representations, the Insolvency Service abandoned the disqualification proceedings and compensation order against our client.

Our approach

While Suky was acutely aware of the challenges faced when dealing with conflicting accounts and allegations, she was unwavering in challenging the Insolvency Service's duty to conduct investigations fairly and ensure that appropriate investigations were also made into the conduct and involvement of the accountant.

Suky's experience proved invaluable when getting to the heart of the situation. Suky ensured that the context and factual circumstances behind the application were thoroughly investigated, fully understanding the director's predicament and unique circumstances.

Without Suky's deep analysis of the documentation and correspondence, our client's outcome could have been very different. Suky's meticulous drafting, along with her compassionate approach, resulted in the Insolvency Service dropping all areas of investigation and, most importantly, the compensation order, which would have been financially crippling for our client.

Our client's comments

Understandably, the client was delighted with the outcome. 

"I write to express my sincere and heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for your highly professional and competent service. You were thorough, fair and transparent in fighting my case, saving my reputation and establishing justice for which I will always be grateful. I wish to thank you for your kindness and your excellent work for me. I will totally recommend. Sincerest thanks for everything."

Our thoughts

This case is yet another example of the difference that expert advice can have on the outcome of your case. Understanding how to challenge the facts and the law, despite facing the extensive resources available to the Insolvency Service, is always key. 

Suky has extensive experience defending director disqualification investigations. If you are facing such an investigation, please contact Suky on 01384 327 304 or by email at suky.mann@higgsllp.co.uk.

 

 

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