Graham John Coate, the sole director of First Class Cars Ltd, a prestige chauffeur service that operated in Luton and other London airports, has been disqualified as a director for eight years for causing the company to continue trading when he knew or ought to have known it could not meet its debts.

First Class Cars Limited was incorporated on 26th August 1999. Mr Coate was the sole director from incorporation until the company was placed in administration on 8th February 2013.

Mr Coate is banned from acting as a director or in any way managing or controlling a company from 8 October 2015 to 2023, without leave of the court, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

For the purpose of his disqualification undertaking, given to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Mr Coates admitted that he caused First Class Cars Ltd to trade whilst insolvent to the detriment of creditors and for his own personal benefit.

Specifically, as early as May 2012, Mr Coate knew of the dangers of First Class Cars Ltds trading whilst insolvent should a directors loan he had taken from the company become irrecoverable. He continued trading regardless and even increased his drawings from the company to pay personal expenses; mainly money owed in divorce proceedings.

On administration, outstanding creditor claims were 464,841 and Mr Coate owed the company 595,652 on his directors loan account.

Mark Bruce, Chief Investigator, Investigation and Enforcement Services at the Insolvency Service, said:

Limited liability protection is a privilege to ensure businesses trade in an open and fair market.

The Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue persons, like Mr Coate, who seek to undermine or abuse this privilege for their own benefit.