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Asset strippers banned for 29 years 29 June 2011

Roger Stephen Miller and Hugh Heskett Lucie-Smith were disqualified for 15 years and 14 years respectively as directors, after a case was brought against them in the high court by The Insolvency Service.

The court heard that Miller and Lucie-Smith led an elaborate and cynical asset-striping scheme, in which asset rich companies were bought with the sole purpose of stripping them of their assets, thereby leaving them insolvent.

The investigation, carried out by the company investigations unit of The Insolvency Service, proved that creditors were left unpaid, employees lost their jobs and, in some instances, the directors used a target company’s own assets to fund its own purchase.

The court also heard that in some cases, the sellers were either not paid or not in full.

Miller and Lucie-Smith were the latest of a connected group of directors or shadow directors responsible for asset-stripping a several companies for many years.

Since 2007, a further seven directors have accepted undertakings disqualifying them from being directors for a total of 42 years.

David Hill, of the Insolvency Service’s company investigations unit, said: “The disqualifications handed out to Mr Miller and Mr Lucie-Smith reflect the seriousness with which asset-stripping is viewed. And, that The Insolvency Service will investigate and take appropriate action to protect the business community.”

The investigation also showed that Miller, 62 from East Dulwich, London, engaged in these activities despite being subject to a disqualification order following criminal proceedings.

Although not shown as a director of the companies, Miller was nevertheless heavily involved in their running. He controlled them and acted as a director or shadow director as the occasion required.

Lucie-Smith, 67, an accountant, from Worthing, Sussex, falsely claimed to be a chartered certified accountant, and played a crucial role in the acquisition of the companies in question.

He provided false auditors’ reports to facilitate these acquisitions and gave instructions on how the companies should be managed.



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