02:00PM, Friday 13 March 2020
A businessman has been banned from being a director for 11 years after gifting £4million of investments as an undischarged bankrupt.
Neil Leslie Burns, from Windsor, failed to attend the High Court hearing last month, where Judge Catherine Burton issued the ban in his absence.
The court heard that the 57-year-old was a director of B52 Investments – which was charged with holding and managing investments Snoozebox Holdings Plc – a pop-up hotel company which used recycled shipping containers.
Burns had been bankrupt three times, the latest from 2013, which means he was banned from managing companies.
Despite this Burns transferred more than six million shares B52 Investments held in Snoozebox Holdings Plc to connected third parties which resulted in the company’s liquidation.
He also agreed deals with third parties for investments earmarked to purchase vehicles for re-sale – however the £253,000 worth of investments were transferred to connected parties and family members.
A lack of books and records meant he could not explain £5m of receipts and what had happened to £3.9m of payments.
Chief investigator for the Insolvency Service Mark Bruce said Burns ‘obstructed our investigations’ throughout its enquiry so it ‘wouldn’t be able to discover what he’d done’.
He said: “Fortunately, our investigators were able to find evidence that showed not only was he an undischarged bankrupt but that Neil Burns had used investors’ funds for his own personal benefit and those he was closely acquainted with.
“An 11-year disqualification is a significant ban and should serve as a warning to other directors that failing to deliver up the company records will not stop the Insolvency Service carrying out a full and thorough investigation and discovering serious misconduct.”
He has now been banned from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved in managing companies without the permission of the court.
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