Press release

Ban for directors of West Midlands based company involved in VAT fraud

Two directors of West Midlands based Aspect Associates Limited, who involved the company in deals traced back to fraudulent tax losses, have been disqualified from acting as directors for a total of twenty-three and a half years, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

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Robin Emmerson Charles Lees (aged 63) of Bristol, formerly Lichfield, Staffordshire and David Anthony Yeomans (55) of Birmingham gave disqualification undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) not to promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2029 and 2026 respectively. The undertakings given by Mr Lees and Yeomans followed court proceedings brought by the Official Receiver.

The company traded as a wholesaler of household goods and was wound-up by the Court on 10 September 2011, owing £635,883 to creditors.

In giving the undertakings, Messrs Lees and Yeomans did not dispute that they caused or allowed Aspect to participate in transactions which were connected to the fraudulent evasion of VAT, which they either knew or should have known about, and that Aspect wrongfully claimed VAT from HMRC totalling £749,624.

Commenting on the disqualifications, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said:

The directors of Aspect Associates Limited were well aware of the risks but nonetheless the company entered into transactions involved in the fraudulent evasion of VAT and sought to wrongfully reclaim VAT input tax.

VAT fraud is an attack on the public purse and the periods of disqualification reflect the serious view taken of the misconduct in this case.

The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to disqualify directors involved in schemes aimed at defrauding HMRC.

Notes to Editors

Aspect Associates Ltd (Aspect) was incorporated on 7 September 2009 with the registered number 07011041. The company’s registered office was at 1 Coleshill Street, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B72 1SD.

The petition to wind up Aspect was presented by HMRC on 18 July 2011. The winding up order was made on 19 September 2011. There were no known assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of £635,883. The issued and paid up share capital was £200 giving an overall deficiency as regards creditors and members of £636,083.

On 18 December 2015, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Robin Emmerson Charles Lees for 13 years, from 8 January 2016.

On 11 December 2015 the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from David Anthony Yeomans for 10 years and 6 months, from 1 January 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 is available.

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 26 January 2016