Two bosses of a Bingley-based pub management company that owed almost £1.4 million to creditors have been disqualified from acting as directors for a total of 13 years.
William Dene Lyall, 62, and Joseph Harthen, 51, were disqualified for eight years and five years respectively, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The pair were directors of Inn Take (UK) Ltd, which operated pubs on temporary licences for breweries and pub companies unable to find tenants.
The investigation found that on Lyall’s direction, Inn Take entered into an outsourcing arrangement under which £1.6 million was paid over to cover utility bills and business rates that were never paid.
Lyall subsequently transferred the business of Inn Take to a new company, leaving an outstanding debt of almost £1.4 million to utility companies and local authorities.
They have both given undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to be directors for the duration of their bans, without leave of the court.
Ken Beasley, official receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said: “The conduct of Mr Lyall and Mr Harthen fell well below that expected of a company director.
“It is clear that Mr Harthen, despite being aware of his appointment as a company director, took no interest in the affairs of the company or of his responsibilities to creditors.
“The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to remove culpable directors from doing business.”
The investigation also found that Lyall caused the company to continue to make payments under a supposed outsourcing agreement when he should have been aware that hundreds of thousands of pounds were not being paid over to utility companies and local authorities for outstanding bills.
Harthen was found to have failed to exercise any proper control over the company. Both Lyall and Harthen also failed to maintain or deliver up adequate accounting records with the consequence that investigators were unable to establish the purpose of payments totalling £2.2 million, the investigation found.
Inn Take (UK) Ltd, which was registered to Preachers Mews in Priestthorpe Road, Bingley, was wound up on December 1, 2011, owing creditors £1,378,678.