Five companies involved in a scam to inappropriately obtain finance under the ruse of purchasing IT equipment have been wound up in court, according to a UK government press release.
At a hearing at the High Court in Manchester, Deputy District Judge Carter wound up Meat Products Ltd, Fine Car Hire Ltd, Exclusive Worldwide Products Ltd, HSB Trade Ltd and Premier Snax Ltd, the Insolvency Services said.
An official receiver has been appointed as liquidator.
In considering the petitions to wind-up the companies, the court heard that the Insolvency Service (an agency under the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) became aware of the five companies after investigating and taking enforcement action against two associated companies: Direct United (Services) Ltd and Bradwell Communications Ltd.
Following confidential enquiries, investigators established that the five companies had been involved in a scam where they inappropriately obtained, or attempted to obtain, finance under the premise of leasing IT equipment, according to the press release.
Continental Meat Products and Fine Car Hire secured lease agreements totalling just over £134,000 to pay for the leasing of IT equipment that was supposed to be sourced from Premier Snax.
However, when Exclusive Worldwide Products and HSB Trade made attempts to obtain finance using similar tactics the finance company became concerned about all the applications it had processed and declined the latter two applications, according to the press release.
Having been unable to confirm the existence of any IT equipment, the Insolvency Service submitted petitions to the courts on 24 January 2020 to take action against the five companies.
At the hearing of the petitions, the Court wound up the companies on the grounds that all five companies had been abandoned, showed a lack of stewardship and transparency and had failed to cooperate and maintain or deliver up adequate accounting records.
The court also accepted that all five companies had acted with a lack of probity, were used as vehicles for fraudulent trading and that all, with the exception of Premier Snax, had filed false and misleading accounts at Companies House to create a misleading impression of their financial health, according to the press release.
David Hope, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “All five companies have been used as part of an orchestrated and cynical attack on finance companies to extract funds in a wholly inappropriate manner, all while using similar activities to connected companies we had previously taken action against.
“By closing these companies down the court has protected other lenders from their actions and this demonstrates we will act robustly to protect legitimate businesses and prevent such abuse from taking place,” he said.
The five firms
Continental Meat Products Ltd – company registration number 04911278 – was incorporated on 25 September 2003. The company’s registered office is at 2 King Street, Nottingham NG1 2AS.
Fine Car Hire Ltd – company registration number 09384071 – was incorporated on 12 January 2015. The company’s registered office is at 28 North Street, Keighley BD21 3SE.
Exclusive Worldwide Products Ltd – company registration number 10166125 – was incorporated on 6 May 2016. The company’s registered office is at Foxhall Lodge, Foxhall Road, Nottingham NG7 6LH.
HSB Trade Ltd – company registration number 10605765 – was incorporated on 7 February 2017. The company’s registered office is at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU.
Premier Snax Ltd – company registration number 09862306 – was incorporated on 9 November 2015. The company’s registered office is at Ofc 1 2 Parade The Parade, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5BF.