Four companies effectively controlled by a disqualified company director in Devon have been wound up by the High Court in the public interest, following investigations by Company Investigations of The Insolvency Service.

The investigation found that the four companies were either controlled or likely to be controlled by Eoin Murray who has been disqualified as a director twice and is also bankrupt.

The companies were wound up because of the appreciable risk that they had been set up and were effectively controlled by Mr Murray, who has shown a total disregard for the disabilities imposed on him and so was likely to present a danger to both suppliers and customers in the future.
Mr Murray was first disqualified for six years in 2006, but he started acting as a director while disqualified and was again banned for nine years in 2007. He was made bankrupt on 10 January 2011 and his discharge remains suspended indefinitely for contravening the terms of his bankruptcy.

The four companies are:
* South Devon Construction Limited (South Devon),
* South Devon Services Limited (Services),
* Nationwide Shopfitters Limited (Nationwide) and,
*South Devon Construction Exeter Limited (South Exeter).

A fifth, linked company, South Devon Construction SW Limited (South West) which was also a subject of the same investigation had already been wound up on 14th August 2012.

In addition, the investigation found that Mr Murray had been involved in the running of South West while disqualified and after he was made bankrupt. In particular:
* He had sole control of South Wests online banking facility
* One of South Wests directors and the company secretary was Ms Tracey French, a former girlfriend of Mr Murrays. The other director was a * David Constable a longstanding friend of Mr Murray who attended the companys premises only infrequently. South Wests sole shareholder was Mrs Nancy Murray, Mr Murrays ex-wife.
* The bookkeeper reported to and sought instructions from Mr Murray.
* Invoices and letters from creditors were directed to Mr Murray to deal with.

In winding up the companies the court was satisfied that Mr Murray should be treated as a de facto director of South West and that the other four companies bore the hallmarks of companies that were created as vehicles for the continuation of the business operated by Mr Murray.
There was therefore an appreciable risk that Mr Murray would act in the management of these companies in a manner similar to that he had used in the earlier companies that had become insolvent thus leading to losses for both creditors and customers.

Geoff Hanna, the Case Supervisor for The Insolvency Service, said:
This is a shocking example of how disqualified directors may seek to hide behind other corporate identities with the help of family and friends to allow them to conceal a continuing involvement in managing companies.
Disqualified directors should be aware that there is no escaping the restrictions imposed on them by their disqualification and I am pleased we have removed these companies from the business environment so that they cannot cause any more harm to the public.