Former Labour councillor siphoned off £600k to avoid paying creditors

Gurpal Atwal

A former Labour councillor in Leicestershire has had his bankruptcy restrictions extended by nine years after he gifted property to family members to avoid paying creditors.

Gurpal Singh Atwal, of Oadby, Leicester was a self-employed taxi driver and former councillor for Oadby and Wigston Borough Council before becoming bankrupt in November 2017, having presented his own petition.

However, investigators from the Insolvency Service found that after the bankruptcy order, Gurpal Atwal transferred £600,000 worth of land he owned in India to family members, as well as gifting £86,410 from the sale of his property in Leicester.

Working alongside Gurpal Atwal’s trustees, who were appointed to his bankruptcy estate, investigators could see that he received no payment and that meant that Gurpal Atwal’s creditors received no benefit from the property transfers despite having a claim.

Gurpal Atwal ought to have been aware that he should not have made these transfers as he would have been notified of the restrictions he was entering into on the making of the bankruptcy order.

The property transfers also took place within two months of an order for payment was made against Gurpal Atwal in October 2017, connected to a business-related claim against him, and which remained unpaid at the time he declared himself bankrupt.

As a result of the Insolvency Service investigation, Gurpal Atwal has had his bankruptcy restrictions extended to nine years and has increased the time he is not allowed to carry out certain activities, such as borrowing money over £500 without first disclosing his status.

Gerard O’Hare, Official Receiver for the Insolvency Service, said: “Mr Atwal on two separate occasions, whilst insolvent, cynically disposed of assets to his relatives and to the detriment of his creditors generally.

“This nine year restriction should act as a deterrent to him and others from acting in the same way.”