Last week HMRC rubber-stamped the validity of Portsmouth’s administration and Andrew Andronikou’s appointment by Balram Chanrai after initially questioning his independence.
HMRC, which is owed £11.6m in PAYE and VAT, examined Andronikou’s recent past when preparing its legal challenge.
The most damaging criticisim of Andronikou is within a High Court battle in December 2008. The case, Tradition (UK) Ltd v Ahmed & Ors (2008), details an appeal judge overturning an attempt by Shami Ahmed, the founder of clothing chain Joe Bloggs, to avoid bankruptcy through an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), handled by Andronikou.
The judgment said: “Mr Andronikou’s conduct in these proceedings, particulary in relation to evidence filed by him on behalf [of Ahmed and his family] was manifestly inappropriate”. The judge also found that Andronikou “did fail to meet the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent insolvency practitioner.”
Andronikou has also come under fire before in the courts in relation to allegedly negligent advice. The case Griffin v UHY Hacker Young & Partners (A Firm)  involves an allegation that Andronikou failed to advise his client that the winding up of his drinks company would prohibit him from becoming a director or being involved in the management of a future business. The judge ruled in the case: “It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Mr Andronikou to advise Mr Griffin to legitimise what he was doing. It is specifically alleged that he was negligent in failing to do so. Mr Griffin says he would have acted upon such advice.”
Andronikou is also embroiled in an HMRC investigation into the volutary liquidation of Aqua, a London-based commercial laundry company that serviced various top hotels. HMRC disputed a £500,000 debt which the sole director claimed his insolvent company owed him. Last May Andronikou agreed to be replaced as the liquidator ahead of a High Court hearing.
Stephen Hunt, the new liquidator from Griffins chosen by HMRC, has confirmed that he is “investigating the director and Andronikou’s conduct in the run-up to the insolvency.”
HMRC is separately prosecuting former Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie, and Harry Redknapp, former chief executive, for alleged tax offences.