Press release

Demolition company directors buried under long ban

The directors of George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited have been disqualified for allowing the company to continue to incur liabilities despite knowing a petition to wind the company up was before the court.

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George Beattie (senior) signed a seven year disqualification undertaking on the 12 April 2017; Michelle Beattie signed a three years and six month disqualification and George Beattie (junior) was disqualified on 31 May 2017 from acting as a director of a limited company by Order of the Glasgow Sheriff’s Court for seven years.

On 20 April 2015, George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited was placed into Liquidation with an estimated deficiency to creditors of £1,755,782.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service revealed the directors had caused or allowed the company to trade to their own benefit and incur further liabilities to the risk and detriment of creditors in full knowledge that HMRC had presented a winding up petition to Court on 14 January 2015 and the company’s liquidation on 20 April 2015.

Despite knowing this, the directors made net payments of at least £155,310.45 to the benefit of connected parties and further offset liabilities due to the company from the directors and connected companies of at least £457,395.72 against unverified charges to the detriment of creditors as liabilities increased by at least £359,097.33.

Rob Clarke, Head of Insolvent Investigations North, part of the Insolvency Service, said:

This was a cynical attempt by the directors, in the clear knowledge that their company was insolvent, to extract money that should have been paid to other creditors.

The Insolvency Service will take robust action against this sort of misconduct which is a clear abuse of limited liability

Notes to editors

George Beattie (senior) and Michelle Beattie were appointed as directors of George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited on 2 April 2003 and remained directors to the company’s Liquidation on 20 April 2015.

George Beattie (junior) was appointed as a director of the company on 1 June 2012 and remained a director to the company’s Liquidation on 20 April 2015.

George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited (company number SC032889) went into liquidation on 20 April 2015 with an estimated deficiency to creditors of £1,755,782. The company operated as demolition contractors.

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

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.

The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies. The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, 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.

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Published 9 August 2017