Friday, November 11, 2011

Road Haulage Bosses Receive Bans Totalling Thirty Two Years

Insolvency Service Shows Its Teeth after 'Breathtaking Dishonesty'
Shipping News Feature

UK – The three corrupt directors of a road haulage company have received disqualifications of up to fifteen years for what was described as their ‘breathtaking dishonesty’ including a deliberate fraud during which they obtained fuel knowing they had no means to pay for it. The three will not be allowed to become involved in the promotion, formation or management of any company for the duration of the term.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service revealed serious flaws in the affairs of Westcountry Storage & Distribution Limited (WSD), Hawktree Farm, East Anstey, Tiverton and then Barham Close, Bridgwater which was set up by the three, one of whom had been bankrupt twice. Shaun John Standen received a maximum 15-year ban and Andrew John Lovelock 10 years from 1st December 2011 following a seven-year disqualification undertaking signed by Kevin Edward Standen, which commenced on 2nd May 2011.

Although Mr Shaun Standen was not formally appointed a director of WSD after 1st October 2006, he was directly involved in the management of the company until October 2008. This was despite both his second bankruptcy (which ended on 1st April 2009) and a ban on acting as a director from September 2007 for four years by Honiton Magistrates Court after a conviction for both forming WSD and acting in the management of the previous company, West Country Transport Ltd. His brother Kevin Standen admitted knowingly allowing Shaun Standen to act in this manner.

All three directors were further found culpable in the events of 31st October 2008 to 2nd November 2008 in which £27,881 of credit was obtained on a trade account by undertaking 66 fuel transactions at a single unmanned filling station on anticipation of that credit facility being withdrawn. In his judgment, District Judge Harvey stated that there was strong evidence of a carefully planned effort at the last possible opportunity, concluding that he was satisfied that both Shaun Standen and Andrew Lovelock planned and controlled the actions in question.

Shaun Standen was finally found guilty of misconduct in his failure to keep or preserve the company accounting records, which were allegedly destroyed in a ‘fire’ on 26th June 2010. Commenting on the Court's order of 10th November 2011, Official Receiver Carol Butler said:

“The Court has agreed with the Insolvency Service's contention that the defendants have acted with breathtaking dishonesty as directors of Westcountry Storage & Distribution Limited and I welcome the lengthy periods of disqualification which their behaviours have warranted.”