Press release

Logged-off: Director of web-hosting company who diverted company money is disqualified

Mr Keith Hawker, the sole director of Ontinuity Ltd, a bespoke web hosting company, has been disqualified for 8 years for failing to deal with the company’s tax affairs and for diverting money to a company of which he was director and main shareholder.

The disqualification, from 26 May 2015 follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service and means that Mr Hawker is banned from acting as a director or in any way managing or controlling a company until May 2019.

Mr Hawker gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills not be involved in managing, controlling a company or being a director for the duration of his ban.

Ontinuity Ltd was placed in liquidation on 27 February 2013 with a liability of £81,856 outstanding to HMRC on account of its tax. The liability dated back to when the company commenced trading and continued to accrue till it was placed in liquidation.

Prior to liquidation, Mr Hawker (59) had negotiated a time to pay agreement with HMRC to deal with Ontinuity’s tax. However, he failed to honour this agreement. Investigations found that before placing Ontinuity Ltd in Liquidation, Mr Hawker diverted £194,268 to an associated company of which he remained a director and majority shareholder.

Commenting on these disqualifications, Mark Bruce, Chief Examiner, Investigation and Enforcement Services at the Insolvency Service, said:

The Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue company directors who seek to benefit themselves ahead of their creditors by extracting company funds when others are not being paid.

Limited liability protection is only available to those who comply with their obligations as company directors. If those obligations are ignored, that protection will be withdrawn.

Notes to Editors

Ontinuity Limited (CRO No. 04934598) was incorporated on 16 October 2003 and was placed into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation on 27 February 2013.

Mr Hawker provided a disqualification undertaking to the Secretary of State on 5 May 2015. The disqualification commences on 26 May 2015.

Ontinuity Ltd traded from trading premises at Unit G. Mill Green Business Park, Mill Green Road, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 4HT, providing web-hosting and computer related activities to its clients.

Mr Hawker is of East Grinstead and his date of birth is 27 March 1956.

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.