Founder quits Fin­ablr as HMRC ac­tion threat­ens firm

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael O’Dwyer

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.”

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