Founder quits Finablr as HMRC action threatens firm
THE founder of Finablr has resigned as joint chairman of the payments company as UK tax officials move to shut down parts of the ailing business.
BR Shetty, the Indian former billionaire, stepped down from the board of the company that is battling for survival after the discovery of more than $1bn (£764m) of undisclosed debt and a hit to its currency exchange business during the pandemic.
The HMRC intervention is the latest blow to Mr Shetty’s crumbling empire after NMC Health, the FTSE 100 hospital firm he founded in the Seventies, was placed into administration in April after the undisclosed debts were found.
Finablr, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, yesterday said HMRC had notified it that the business registrations of two of its subsidiaries could be suspended. Tax officials notified the company that the registration of its Xpress Money Services Limited would be suspended, and also proposed halting the registration of another subsidiary, UAE Exchange UK Limited.
Finablr said: “Suspension of business registration would result in cessation of business by the relevant entities unless and until the suspension is lifted. The company intends to work with HMRC to attempt to restore the registrations.”
The London-listed company warned in March that it was in danger of going bust. It called in US law firm Skadden last month to pursue potential claims backed by litigation funders to bankroll any legal action. More than 1,300 jobs were lost when its Travelex business was rescued through a pre-pack administration earlier this month.
Mr Shetty declined to comment on his resignation. He claimed in April that his lawyers had found evidence of “serious fraud and wrongdoing” at Finablr. EY resigned as Finablr’s auditor in March after disagreements over corporate governance at the firm.
A spokesman for HMRC said: “We cannot comment on identifiable taxpayers.”