Firm di­rec­tor sen­tenced for not ex­plain­ing trans­ac­tions

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ @Oliv­erClayRWWN

ACOMPANY boss based in Dares­bury has been banned as a di­rec­tor for seven years and or­dered to com­plete 250 hours un­paid work af­ter he failed to ex­plain £500,000 of ‘sus­pi­cious bank trans­fers and cash with­drawals’.

Lee Smith, 42, who was a di­rec­tor at Smith Waste And Re­cy­cling (SWR) based in Dares­bury Park be­fore the com­pany en­tered into a vol­un­tary liq­ui­da­tion in Novem­ber 2014, was also sen­tenced to 28 weeks in prison, sus­pended for 18 months, and or­dered to pay £8,901 in costs at Liver­pool Crown Court.

A spokesman for The In­sol­vency Ser­vice said in­de­pen­dent in­sol­vency ex­perts were ap­pointed to take charge of liq­ui­dat­ing the com­pany, but Smith, of Wood­church Road, Pren­ton, failed to share ad­e­quate ac­count­ing records de­spite sev­eral re­quests from both the liq­ui­da­tion team and later, In­sol­vency Ser­vice in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The spokesman said fail­ure to de­liver in­for­ma­tion re­quested by the liq­uida­tor while wind­ing up a com­pany was ev­i­dence of mis­con­duct and in Smith’s case, it would have helped to ex­plain the where­abouts of funds from SWR’s ac­counts to­talling more than £517,000.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were un­able to ex­plain cash with­drawals from SWR’s bank ac­counts over the course of a year be­tween Septem­ber 2013 and Septem­ber 2014 to­talling just over £430,000 and whether they rep­re­sented gen­uine busi­ness ex­pen­di­tures.

Due to Smith’s lack of co-op­er­a­tion, in­ves­ti­ga­tors were also un­able to ex­plain more than £86,000 worth of trans­fers be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber 2014 made to the ac­counts of two com­pa­nies con­nected to Lee Smith, as well as his re­mu­ner­a­tion and what were the com­pany’s as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties at liq­ui­da­tion.

At an ear­lier court hear­ing on July 24 at Wir­ral Mag­is­trates’ Court, Smith pleaded guilty to one count of mis­con­duct in the course of wind­ing up and an­other count of fail­ing to keep ac­count­ing records.

Ar­wel Jones, The In­sol­vency Ser­vice’s di­rec­tor of crim­i­nal en­force­ment, said: “Lee Smith’s be­hav­iour through­out the liq­ui­da­tion has been highly un­ac­cept­able.

“Fail­ing to de­liver any form of com­pany records means that his cred­i­tors are at risk of los­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money.

“A seven-year dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion or­der handed down by the courts is a sig­nif­i­cant ban, which should serve as a de­ter­rent to those di­rec­tors who fail to con­duct their busi­ness af­fairs in ac­cor­dance with the law.” ●

Lee Smith ap­peared at Liver­pool Crown Court, pic­tured

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