Leicestershire directors disqualified for financial misconduct

A pair of company directors in Leicestershire have been disqualified for a combined total of 19 years following allegations of financial misconduct.

Savio Gilbert Pereira, who ran Himalayan Zest in Lutterworth, and Sajid Anver Valimohammed of J Dee Designs in Leicester were hit with the penalty following separate investigations by the Insolvency Service.

Pereira was the sole director of Himalayan Zest Takeaway Limited until it went into liquidation in November 2021.

In June 2020, Pereira applied for a Bounce Back Loan on behalf of Himalayan Zest. Under the rules of the scheme, companies could apply for loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to a maximum of 25% of their turnover for 2019.

Pereira stated that Himalayan Zest’s turnover was around £207,500, which allowed the restaurant to receive the maximum £50,000 loan.

When the business went into liquidation the following year owing around £51,500, it triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service which found that Pereira had exaggerated Himalayan Zest’s turnover in order to falsely claim the loan.

It was discovered that the company only had around £54,600 in its bank account following receipt of the loan. Between June and August that year, Pereira had also made a £10,000 payment to himself, £28,000 in various debit payments to an unknown recipient and had withdrawn a total of £16,800 in cash.

He was unable to prove that these transactions were for the economic support of the restaurant.

Sajid Anver Valimohammed ran J Dee Designs Ltd – a fashionwear finisher based on Upper Charnwood Street in Leicester – until it went into liquidation in December 2020.

However, Valimohammed had failed to keep business accounts and was unable to hand them over to the firm’s liquidators.

Investigators discovered that Valimohammed had withdrawn more than £286,000 from the company’s bank account through 199 separate transfers with the reference “Mrref Self FT” while J Dee Design was still trading.

They found that around £315,300 was withdrawn from the company’s bank account during the period – including £30,000 from a Bounce Back Loan that the company had applied for – but Valimohammed could not prove that the transactions were for legitimate trading activity, or whether the loan money had been used for the benefit of the company.

Due to his failure to keep company accounts, investigators were also unable to verify whether J Dee Designs had paid the correct amount of tax it owed, or to ascertain the true financial position of the company when it went into liquidation, including whether liquidators would be able to make any recovery of debts.

Valimohammed did not contest the disqualification order at court and was banned from being a director for 8 years on 9 November. The court also awarded full costs to the Insolvency Service.

Separately, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Savio Pereira in October, after he did not dispute that he had caused his restaurant to falsely apply for a Bounce Back Loan of £50,000 and had failed to use the money for the economic benefit of the company.

Pereira’s disqualification started on 15 November this year and lasts for 11 years.

Dave Elliott, chief examiner at The Insolvency Service, said: “The Insolvency Service takes Bounce Back Loan abuse and the failure to keep, preserve and deliver up books and records very seriously.

“The length of these directors’ bans reflects the gravity of their misconduct, and should serve as a warning to others.”

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