Court imposes business ban on ex-tycoon
Switched assets from failing firm
Troubled businessmanEuan Snowie was last week banned from holding office as a director of any limited company for nine years.
A court heard he had knowingly shifted thousands of pounds of assets from a failing lorry business he ran – to the disadvantage of the firm’s creditors – and was still refusing to hand them over.
Snowie’s truck rental and servicing business Ochil Services Limited went into liquidation on March 16, 2016.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told that only days after being told it was in administration, Snowie transferred all its remaining assets – vehicles and machinery worth over £161,000 – to his agricultural contracting partnership, Euan Snowie Farms, based at his country mansion, Boquhan House, at Kippen, near Stirling.
Solicitor Fiona Tosh, who applied for the disqualification order on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, said Snowie, 50, had shown he was “not a fit and proper person” to hold any office in any limited company.
Miss Tosh said: “This single transaction took place at a date when Mr Snowie knew the company was in liquidation. The liquidator attended the company’s trading premises on March 22 with letters advising of her appointment as liquidator of the company.
“One of the letters set out that no payment should be made from the company’s bank account and no assets should be transferred.
“Mr Snowie was not in the premises at the time but she spoke to his wife [Claire] and left the papers with her and also made a phone call to Mr Snowie, so as of that date he was aware the company was in liquidation. On March 27 assets were transferred to a connected partnership.
The liquidator has continued to make requests for him to deliver the assets to her, but he has failed to do so, which is an aggravating factor and makes this case all the more serious.”
Snowie, who is representing himself in the proceedings, failed to attend court and sent a doctor’s note to seek an adjournment, or “a discharge of the proof ”.
Granting the disqualification decree in his absence, Sheriff David Mackie described the move as “highly unsatisfactory”.
He said: “Mr Snowie should be here. The [doctor’s] certificate indicates that it would be hazardous for Mr Snowie to sit immobile for a long period of time; that doesn’t suggest he wouldn’t be fit to come here and at least stand and move for a discharge of the proof.”
He granted the disqualification decree by default and said: “This was a single transaction – a single occurrence – but that constitutes quite a severe breach of trust. It brings him into the category of persons who have behaved in such a manner that they should be disqualified.”
He said the single transaction was serious enough in itself to justify a nine-year ban.
But he added: “It might be suggested that the conduct is actually continuing. I understand it’s averred that he is still refusing to hand over the assets to the liquidator.
“His continuing refusal to hand back the assets defeats the liquidator’s functions and oppresses the creditors which is serious, and in my view the period sought is well justified.”
On the telephone from his home, Snowie said after the hearing that he had deep vein thrombosis.
He said: “I’m in bed with my leg elevated.
“There’s no way I could be in court. I’m going to appeal against this.”
There’s no way I could be in court. I’m going to appeal
Ban Euan Snowie deemed not a fit and proper person to hold office in a company