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Pubs directors disqualified for 13 years 18 March 2014

Two directors of a pub management company have been disqualified from acting as company directors for a total of 13 years for failing to pay creditors.

William Lyall and Joseph Harthen of Inn Take (UK) Ltd were banned for eight and five years respectively, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The investigation found that Inn Take had entered in to an outsourcing arrangement under which £1.6 million was paid to cover utility bills and business rates that were never paid.

Lyall then transferred the business of Inn Take to a newly formed company which left an outstanding debt of £1.4m to local authorities and utility companies.

Inn Take, which operated pubs on temporary licences for breweries and pub companies unable to find tenants, was compulsorily wound up on 1 December 2011 with no assets and liabilities of £1,378,678, giving an estimated deficiency to creditors of £1,378,678.

Harthen was found to have failed to exercise any “proper control” over the company.

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.”

Both Lyall and 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 £2.2m.



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