Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Nicholas Pratt and Luke Parker, the directors of Ashperry Ltd and Carbris Leisure Ltd, have been disqualified for 9 years each. Mr Pratt and Mr Parker caused or allowed Ashperry and Carbris to misuse the Annual Accounting Scheme for VAT and also caused the companies to trade to the detriment of HMRC.

Mr Pratt has given a disqualification undertaking to the Secretary Of State which runs from 4 June 2015 until 3 June 2024.

Mr Parker has given an undertaking to the Secretary Of State which runs from 13 July 2015 until 12 July 2024.

The investigation also found that:
The directors took advantage of a scheme designed for smaller businesses in order to accrue large VAT debts undetected by HMRC. In the case of Carbris, HMRC had been advised that the expected turnover would be 78,000 and HMRC had estimated the annual VAT at 10,000
The directors failed to tell HMRC that the turnover had exceeded this level within a week of trading and after nine months of trading the turnover was over 5.4m, leading to a VAT liability of 392,775

Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, a Chief Investigator for The Insolvency Service said:

Directly as a result of the directors actions, money which had been charged to customers or deducted from employees totalling over 1.25million, which should have been paid to HMRC, was unfairly kept by the company to finance its trading.

Limited liability protection is a privilege to ensure businesses trade in an open and fair market. Such protection is only available to those who comply with their obligations. If those obligations are ignored, that protection will be withdrawn.