Three directors from Merseyside have been disqualified for a total of 36 years for unlawfully obtaining and using Skys confidential customer database and misleading people by suggesting a connection to the broadcaster.
Bernard Freeman (70), Paul Marrow (54) both of Liverpool and Michael Sullivan (45) of Southport, were disqualified for 12 years each, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service after legal proceedings by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Sky.
All three men have given undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to act as company directors or take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company until 2025.
The investigation found Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Limited (Digital) and Nationwide Digital Satellite Warranty Services Limited (Nationwide) sold warranty cover to Sky customers for the maintenance and repair of satellite equipment. The companies went in to liquidation on 31 January 2011 with debts in excess of 12million after the FCA presented winding up petitions.
The two companies carried out their business by obtaining and using confidential customer information. Although Mr Freeman was the only formally appointed director of the companies, the Official Receiver also considered that Mr Sullivan and Mr Marrow acted in the capacity of directors.
When questioned about the source of the confidential customer information, Mr Freeman, and Mr Sullivan provided false and misleading explanations to investigators.
At the time, Mr Marrow was subject to a previous eight-year disqualification order which commenced in April 2003 and as such ought not to have had any directorship involvement with a limited company.
Commenting on the disqualifications, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver at the Insolvency Services Public Interest Unit, said:
Mr Freeman, Mr Sullivan and Mr Marrow were all responsible for unfair trading practices. They obtained valuable customer data that they acquired illegally from Skys confidential databases.
Customers were also misled by the companies use of the Sky brand in marketing material that falsely suggested the companies were linked to and authorised by Sky.
The 12-year disqualifications send a message that the Insolvency Service will take strong measures to remove from the business environment, individuals who engage in such dishonest trading activities.