The directors of one-time Glasgow-based company George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited have been disqualified for allowing the company to continue to incur liabilities despite knowing a petition to wind the company up was before the court.
George Beattie (senior) signed a seven year disqualification undertaking on the 12 April 2017; Michelle Beattie signed a three years and six month disqualification and George Beattie (junior) was disqualified on 31 May 2017 from acting as a director of a limited company by Order of the Glasgow Sheriff’s Court for seven years.
The sanctions come more than two years after George Hunter (Demolishers) Limited was placed into liquidation with an estimated deficiency to creditors of £1,755,782 on 20 April 2015.
At the time, accountancy firm French Duncan was appointed insolvency practitioner for the firm which had employed around 50 staff at its peak, turning over up to £7 million.
Now, the conclusion of an investigation by the Insolvency Service has revealed that prior to the company’s liquidation on 20 April 2015, the directors had caused or allowed the company to trade to their own benefit and incur further liabilities to the risk and detriment of creditors, despite being in full knowledge that HMRC had already presented a winding up petition to Court on 14 January of that year.
The Insolvency Service found that, between 14 January and 20 April 2015, the directors made net payments of at least £155,310.45 to the benefit of connected parties and further offset liabilities due to the company from the directors and connected companies of at least £457,395.72 against unverified charges to the detriment of creditors as liabilities increased by at least £359,097.33.
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.
Rob Clarke, head of insolvent investigations North, part of the Insolvency Service, said: “This was a cynical attempt by the directors, in the clear knowledge that their company was insolvent, to extract money that should have been paid to other creditors.
“The Insolvency Service will take robust action against this sort of misconduct which is a clear abuse of limited liability.”
Hunter Demolition was founded in 1958 and was reckoned to be one of the oldest demolition companies in the UK. It won the World Demolition Contract of the Year award in 2013 for taking down the former Bank of Scotland building in Glasgow’s Queen Street.