The disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Mr Higgins, 41, gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on 7 August 2014 not to act as a director or in any way manage or control limited companies from 28 August 2014 until 27 August 2019.
Commenting on the disqualification, Sue MacLeod, Chief Investigator for Insolvent Investigations Midlands and West, said:
Directors who seek to obtain commercial advantage over their competitors in this way, show a total disregard for the business community generally.
This disqualification sends a clear message to other company directors that if they run a business in a way that is detrimental to its creditors, they will be investigated by the Insolvency Service and removed from the business environment.
Mercury FX Limited went into liquidation on 26 February 2013 with liabilities of £107,882.
The investigation found that:
- the company owed HMRC at least £80,024 in respect of Corporation tax and Value Added Tax (VAT). At the same time Mr Higgins owed the company at least £115,680 by way of an outstanding director’s loan.
- between January 2011 and the date of liquidation, Mr Higgins caused Mercury FX Limited to trade to the detriment of HMRC in respect of Corporation Tax and VAT and to his own benefit. In particular, whilst a negligible amount was paid to HMRC during the period, a total of £90,650 was transferred from the company’s bank account to Mr Higgins’ personal account. Of this amount, £13,200 was transferred after HMRC presented a winding up petition in December 2012, in an attempt to recover payment.
Notes to Editors
Mercury FX Limited was incorporated on 16 August 2004 under the name of Darkhorse FX Limited. Mr Craig Antony Higgins was appointed a director of the company on the same day along with two other individuals. The company’s business was that of Graphic design for television and film. On 17 December 2007 the company’s name was changed to Mercury FX and the two other directors resigned leaving Mr Higgins as sole director. Mr Higgins remained in office at the date of liquidation. The company’s trading office was in Chepstow.
Mr Higgins lives in Chepstow and his date of birth is 3 May 1973.
On 7 August 2014 Mr Higgins signed a Disqualification Undertaking banning him from being a company director for a period of five years. This was accepted by the Secretary of State also on 7 August 2014 and the period of disqualification commences on 28 August 2014.
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;
- act as an insolvency practitioner; or
- be a receiver of a company’s property.
In addition 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 at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/information-about-company-director-disqualification
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 from: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service
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