Gurvinder Luthra, director of a restaurant in London’s Covent Garden, has been disqualified from acting as a director for 10 years for submitting false VAT returns, failing to keep records and filing incorrect accounts.
Mr Luthra’s disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Pinnacles (UK) Limited began trading as a restaurant in Covent Garden in 2006. In 2010 the company opened a second restaurant in London. Sales were lower than anticipated and the company struggled to pay high overheads. In November 2013 the company ceased to trade, and on 18 February 2014 it entered into Liquidation.
The investigation found:
- following an inspection of the Company’s records in 2012, HMRC discovered the company had deliberately under-declared the amount of VAT due on returns between September 2010 and May 2012
- Pinnacles failed to file any further returns and did not make any payments to HMRC
- From 1 September 2010 to liquidation Pinnacles received at least £334,456 (including VAT refunds totalling £97,687) and expended £334,461 of which no payments were made to HMRC
- Mr Luthra filed dormant accounts from 2007 to which he knew were inaccurate given that the Company started trading in November 2006
Mr Luthra also failed to ensure that Pinnacles maintained adequate accounting records, and failed to deliver them up to the Liquidator despite requests that he should do so. As a consequence, amongst other things, it has not been possible to establish the recipients of, and reasons for, payments totalling £23,900 from the Company’s bank account and the reasons for payments made to a former company director totalling £28,183. At the date of Liquidation HMRC were owed at least £155,980.
Commenting on the disqualification, Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
Directors who submit false information to HMRC and don’t pay their tax bills can expect to be investigated by the Insolvency Service and enforcement action taken to remove them from the market place.
Mr Luthra caused HMRC to lose nearly £156,000, by filing false returns and not making payments. He also filed false accounts and did not maintain records.
Taking action against Mr Luthra is a warning to directors that they need to consider and take seriously, their duties and obligations.
Notes to editors
Pinnacles (UK) Limited (CRO 05979550) was incorporated on 18 February 2014. Its registered office was 55 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW3 3BN. It traded from 339 Euston Road, London, NW1 3AD and 43 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9BA. Gurvinder Lutha was the only director at the time of Liquidation.
Pinnacles (UK) Limited was placed into Liquidation on 18 February 2014.
Gurvinder Luthra is 55 Bath Road, Houslow, Middlesex, TW3 3BN. His date of birth is 11 June 1952.
The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Gurvinder Luthra on 4 September 2015. The disqualification commences on 25 September 2015.
A disqualification order or undertaking 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.
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: Cheryl Lambert, Head of Outsourced Investigations, Investigations and Enforcement Services, The Insolvency Service, 3rd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London SW1P 2HT. Tel: 0207 596 6117. Email: Cheryl.Lambert@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.
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