Press release

Rugby sponsors kicked into touch for £50m tax liability and working with banned director

Two directors of a scrap metal company have been disqualified for a combined 20 years for, among other things, allowing an undischarged bankrupt and already disqualified director to act as a company director.

Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Jody Dean Firth (33) and Albert Leonard Goddard (57) both gave undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to be a director of a limited company for 13 and 7 years respectively.

Mr Firth and Mr Goddard were directors of JKL (Wakefield) Limited which went into Voluntary Liquidation on 26 February 2013 owing creditors and shareholders £52,535,011.

JKL (Wakefield) Ltd traded under the style Eric France Metal Recycling and was the main sponsor of rugby Super League team Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and rugby championship club Dewsbury Rams.

The misconduct uncovered by investigators included that they allowed a connected party who was a disqualified director and un-discharged bankrupt to act as a director of JKL.

Commenting on the disqualification, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said:

These two directors have deprived the taxpaying public of huge amounts of revenue whilst lining their own pockets.

The Insolvency Service will not tolerate dishonest behavior and our investigators will make every effort to expose and deal with such misconduct.

The investigation further found that between 2008 and 2013 JKL (Wakefield) Ltd evaded tax liabilities to HM Revenue & Customs resulting in VAT losses of at least £50,204,505 and losses of £4,888,661 in respect of unpaid PAYE tax and National Insurance whilst Mr Firth and the connected party received £1,250,000 from suppliers which was not accounted for in the company’s books and records. Further, the connected party received a bonus payment from JKL (Wakefield) Ltd of £1,102,147 which was also not accounted for in the company’s books and records.

Notes to editors

Jody Dean Firth is of Wakefield and his date of birth is 11 July 1981.

Albert Leonard Goddard is of Leeds and his date of birth is 3 June 1957.

JKL (Wakefield) Ltd (“JKL”) - CRO No. 06711357 - was incorporated on 3 September 2008. The registered office of JKL is currently situated at KPMG, 1 The Embankment, Neville Street, Leeds. The registered office of JKL prior to the liquidation was situated at 38 Kenton Drive, Durkar, Wakefield, WF4 3PN.Jody Dean Firth gave an undertaking in respect of his conduct in JKL on 22 May 2014 to the Secretary of State not to be a director for 13 years. The undertaking has been accepted and the period of disqualification commenced on 12 June 2014.

Albert Leonard Goddard gave an undertaking in respect of his conduct in JKL on 10 September 2014 to the Secretary of State not to be a director for 7 years. The undertaking has been accepted and the period of disqualification commenced on 1 October 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 * 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. There is further information on director disqualifications and restrictions 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.