15 year ban for man misleading court over £25m property dispute
Paul Edward Fleury disqualified for the maximum period for the fraudulent transfer of assets intended to defeat a Court Order.
Paul Edward Fleury fraudulently transferred the business and assets of one company to a newly incorporated connected company for nothing, in order to defeat a Court Order. He has been disqualified from acting as a director for 15 years.
Following an investigation by the insolvency Service, the Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Mr Fleury on 29 April, not to act as a director of a limited company for 15 years from 20 May.
The investigation found that Mr Fleury was engaged to oversee renovation work on premises belonging to a member of a high net worth family that he had previously assisted in several projects. His role was to check invoices prior to issuing them to the limited company the family used a vehicle for the project. Mr Fleury used Precise as his vehicle to receive his payment for services rendered. The bespoke project was expected to total £25m in renovating a house in London.
The client became suspicious over the sums paid out for work completed, and instructed solicitors. Following an investigation, false invoices in excess of £1.5m were found. As a result, a world wide Freezing Order was obtained over Mr Fleury’s assets, which included any assets in companies where he had a controlling interest. 13 days after the Freezing Order Mr Fleury incorporated a new company and transferred all the assets of Precise, which had a value of at least £180,000, to it for nothing. Mr Fleury then excluded any reference to the new company in the listing of his financial interests provided to the Court under the order.
Mr Fleury’s did not comply with the Freezing Order and was found to be in contempt of court, resulting in a custodial sentence totalling 9 months. The Freezing Order led to the Administration.
Precise Property Services Limited was incorporated on 11 December 2009 and started trading immediately as a provider of building and redevelopment services. Precise entered Administration on 3 March 2014. The Administrator established the company had assets of £227,955 and liabilities totalling £413,687 leading to a deficiency of £190,732.
Commenting on the disqualification, Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
Quite simply, this was deception. Mr Fleury cannot be trusted to use the privilege of limited liability trading as it was intended, falling far short of the standards of competence and integrity expected.
Business operates on the basis of trust, backed by a body law should that trust be broken. Mr Fleury took it upon himself to organise a scheme to divert assets to defeat a Court Order to protect his own financial interests. His actions strike at the heart of the legal and economic system of this country.
The maximum period of disqualification available sends a powerful message to all directors – that where they place their interests above that of any others they will feel the full force of law.
To protect the integrity of the economic system, the Insolvency Service will use its powers to protect the business world when director’s act in this way.
Notes to editors
Precise Property Services Ltd (CRO 07101751) was incorporated on 11 December 2009. Its registered office was Marsland House, Marsland Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 3AQ. It traded as a provider or property services from 6 Warple Mews, London
Precise Property Services Ltd was placed into Administration on 3 March 2014
Paul Fleury lives in Alicante, Spain. His date of birth is 24 February 1968.
The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from on 29 April 2016. The disqualification commences on 20 May 2016.
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
act as a director of a company
take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
be a receiver of a company’s property
In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found here.
The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.
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Published: 27 July 2016
From: The Insolvency Service