Andrew Godfrey John Lazell, the director of a company that provided unregulated insolvency advice and services, has been disqualified from being a director for five years for failure to keep proper records, following an investigation by the Public Interest Unit (North), part of The Insolvency Service.
Mr Lazell, 72, was a director of Frazer and Frazer Limited, which provided services to individuals and businesses. He gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) not to promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2017.
Mr Lazell did not dispute that he failed to exercise control over the affairs of Frazer and Frazer Limited whilst he was a director, and that he failed to make sufficient enquiries into the affairs of the company.
The company was wound-up on 2 August 2010 owing creditors 115,213 following a petition by a creditor owed 66,049.
The investigation showed that Mr Lazell:
failed in his duties to ascertain the financial position of the company on his appointment as the sole director on 29 September 2009, or at any point thereafter.
neglected his duties as a director by playing no or very little, part in the management of the companys affairs until it was placed into compulsory liquidation;
prepared draft accounts for the companys first period of trading without reference to any prime records of trading;
The investigation also showed that the accounts were signed and submitted to Companies House by an unknown third party in breach of company legislation. Mr Lazell was unable to explain who this person was. In addition, an analysis of the available trading records showed total cleared receipts of only 22,242, which was 757,415 less than the turnover showed in the accounts filed at Companies House.
The investigation also showed that Mr Lazell exercised no control over his personal work email account and in dealings with potential investors. In one such instance, a potential investor was provided with a copy of the filed accounts from Mr Lazells email account, without his knowledge by an unnamed person.
The investor relied on what appeared to be the companys financial position and paid Frazer and Frazer Limited a total of 17,825 to become a licensed partner of the company. The investor received little or no benefit for that investment.
Commenting on the disqualification, Ken Beasley, the Official Receiver of Public Interest Unit said:
As the sole director of Frazer and Frazer Limited, Mr Lazell did not exert proper control over the companys affairs and, in failing to do so, his conduct fell far below that expected of a director of a limited company.
Any companies that operate in the unregulated insolvency advice market and mislead members of the public can expect to be investigated by The Insolvency Service.
The Insolvency Service has strong enforcement powers and we will not hesitate to use them to remove from the business environment, companies and directors who fail to discharge their responsibilities.