Press release

Pub landlord given eight-year ban after short-changing public purse by over £170,000

The former landlord of The Fox and Hounds pub in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for eight years for failing to make tax payments of £178,000 despite transferring over half a million pounds out of his company bank account.

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Nasser Ghesmati, 56, was the director of the company running the pub, however, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service after the company went into liquidation, it was found that he had not kept proper accounting records to explain why £580,530 had left the company bank account between April 2012 and April 2013, despite owing HMRC large amounts for VAT, PAYE and National Insurance payments.

At liquidation in April 2013, the company owed in excess of £178,000 to HMRC in relation to arrears of VAT, PAYE and National Insurance Contributions. These outstanding taxes date back to October 2011 and continued to increase until liquidation.

Mark Bruce, Chief Investigator with the Insolvency Service, said:

This disqualification sends a clear message to other company directors that if you do not take your responsibilities seriously, we will act to disqualify you. In this case, it seems the director took off with over half a million pounds, and short-changed the public purse by £178,000. Hard-working people who pay their taxes will understandably be shocked by this behaviour and that is why we have removed him from the business environment.

Company directors have a statutory duty under the Companies Act to keep suitable accounting records, and amongst other things, allow creditors to be identified should a company go bust.

The eight year disqualification order was made at Southampton County Court following proceedings being brought by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Ghesmati, who failed to appear in court, was also ordered to pay costs in excess of £4,500.

The disqualification order means Ghesmati cannot be a director of a company whether directly or indirectly, or be involved in the management of a company in any way for the duration of his disqualification unless he has permission from Court.

Notes to editors

Nasser Ghesmati, 56, was director of The Fox and Hounds (Lyndhurst) Limited (CRO No. 06145644), which was incorporated in 2007.

Nasser Ghesmati is of Lyndhurst and his date of birth is December 1958.

Mr Ghesmati has been disqualified for a period of 8 years commencing from 30 July 2015. One of the main purposes of the Company Directors Disqualification Act is to ensure that proper standards of conduct of company directors are maintained and to raise those standards where appropriate.

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.

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 8 September 2015