Three directors of Leafybug International Ltd (which traded as Furniture Direct in Cardiff), who each carried out a different VAT scam causing losses of over 3,045,565 to HMRC, have been disqualified for a combined 36 years following an Insolvency Service investigation.
On 23 June 2015 the Court made Orders disqualifying as company directors, Mr Hassan for a period of 13 years, Mr Thomas for 11 years and Mr Mohammed for 12 years.
The Investigation found:
Ihtesham Ali Hassan, 36, caused Leafybug to carry out MTIC VAT Fraud in the period 1 April 2010 to 24 August 2010. Deals conducted by Leafybug in this period caused a loss of at least 2,304,220 to HMRC. The Court found that Mr Hassan must have known he was taking part in a systematic criminal attack on the VAT system. His purported due diligence was a sophisticated attempt to deceive HMRC into believing his trading was legitimate
Clive Thomas, 71, despite prior warnings from HMRC, failed to make sure that adequate due diligence was conducted by Leafybug so that the Company did not participate in transaction chains connected with VAT fraud. Deals conducted by Leafybug in the period 1 March 2012 to 31 May 2012 resulted in a loss of at least 621,018 to HMRC
Waseem Mohammed, 44, failed to disclose to HMRC transactions in the period 8 October 2012 to 15 November 2012. These transactions caused a loss of at least 120,327 to HMRC
Commenting on the disqualifications, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver, said:
Leafybug International Ltd was involved in trading connected with fraudulent VAT schemes which had been costing the UK Exchequer significant amounts of money at the time the frauds were perpetrated.
This is not victimless misconduct, the main impact being on honest tax payers and their families who as a result suffered the effects of funding shortages in healthcare, education and other front line services.
The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to investigate and disqualify directors whose companies defraud the public purse.