Gregory Francis Rudd (53) was the sole director of Keurboom Communications Limited. The company was incorporated in May 2014 and supplied wholesale, self-managed telecom solutions to the call centre market.
Between April 2015 and June 2016, however, the ICO received over 1,000 complaints from members of the public about nuisance calls.
Further enquiries by the ICO found that, between October 2014 and March 2016, up to 99.5 million automated marketing calls were made, through Keurboom’s lines, to people who had not provided their consent.
The calls, made over an 18-month period between October 2014 and March 2016, related to a wide range of subjects including road traffic accident claims and PPI compensation. Some people received repeat calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours.
This is a breach of Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations, which state that automated calls can only be made to persons who give prior consent to such a call from that specific caller.
The telecoms company could not provide information proving that people had consented to receive the calls, and in 2017, the ICO issued Keurboom a then-record £400,000 fine.
Following the ICO’s Notice of Intention to issue the above penalty, Keurboom entered Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in March 2017, and the ICO referred Gregory Rudd’s conduct as director to the Insolvency Service.
On 12 December 2019, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Gregory Rudd after he did not dispute that he failed to ensure Keurboom Communications complied with its responsibilities under PECR regulations.
Effective from 2 January 2020, he cannot, without the permission of the court, be involved in the formation, promotion or management of a company, directly or indirectly, for 6 years.
Mark Bruce, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
“This ban is a warning to other directors, who contribute to the scourge that is nuisance calls, that there are severe repercussions for such behaviour.
I would like to thank my colleagues at the Information Commissioners Office for their hard work and co-operation in achieving this outcome.”
This ban follows two other recent disqualifications secured for breaches of Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations as a result of collaboration between the Insolvency Service and ICO.
In late September, Charlotte McKeever of Advanced VOIP Solutions received a 7-year ban, and in December, Jason Gambling of The Legend Alliance Ltd also began a 7 year disqualification.
Notes to editors
Gregory Francis Rudd is of Cambridge and his date of birth is in February 1966.
Keurboom Communications Limited (09030006).
Mr Rudd signed a Disqualification Undertaking for 6 years on 2 December 2019, which comes into effect on 2 January 2020.
Solely for the purposes consequential to the giving of a disqualification undertaking, he did not dispute the following:
I failed, from 1 October 2014 to 31 March 2016, to ensure that Keurboom Communications Limited (“Keurboom”) complied with its responsibilities under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (“PECR”):
From October 2014 to March 2016, Keurboom permitted (as a subscriber) its lines to be used to send up to 99,535,654 (91,497,411 after 6 April 2015) automated marketing calls to subscribers without their prior consent, in breach of Regulations 19(3) PECR.
Between 29 April 2015 and 7 June 2016, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) received 1,036 complaints. The ICO’s enquiries revealed that the telephone numbers, which were the subject of complaints, were allocated to Keurboom, and that it had accepted responsibility; both for the contents exchanged during the use of the numbers by its users and, generally, for complying with all legal and regulatory rules.
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.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.
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