Brazilian restaurant boss skewered by director ban

THE boss of a failed Brazilian restaurant chain has been banned from acting as a company director for seven years after an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Volnei Augusto Borgert, 51, from Chester was found to have caused Camboriu Restaurants to file false VAT returns and for taking £47,280 from the company in the last month of trading, after being told not to by an insolvency practitioner.

The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Mr Borgert on 1 February 2016, not to act as a director of a limited company for 7 years from 22 February 2016.

The investigation found that Mr Borgert caused Camboriu to file three inaccurate VAT returns in 2012 and 2013, resulting in £162,684 not being declared as due. Furthermore, after he had taken advice from an insolvency practitioner that the company wasn’t solvent, he withdrew £47,280 from the company.

Camboriu Restaurants of Cuppin Street, Chester, was incorporated in November 2010 and started trading in 2011 as a chain of Brazilian themed restaurants, under the trading style Tropeiro, latterly in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Sheffield, Nottingham and Chester.

The business went into administration on January 31 2014 with estimated assets of £116,783 and liabilities totalling £1,354,780.

The Insolvency Service investigation also found: When already in arrears with HMRC, Borgert falsified three VAT returns and paid the lesser amount shown on those returns to be due, thereby concealing from HMRC the full extent of the VAT debt. The company’s own records showed that £162,684 was knowingly under-declared;

From 6 December 2013, having been advised by HMRC (on 27 November 2013) that a winding up petition would be issued, and by an Insolvency Practitioner (on 3 December 2013) that the company should be placed into administration and no creditor should get preferential treatment, he withdrew £47,280 for his own benefit

The administrators sold the underlying business to an unconnected party. Mr Borgert was the only director of Camboriu throughout.

Cheryl Lambert, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “This is a significant ban reflecting the seriousness with which the Insolvency Service considers the conduct of the director.

“In overseeing the submission of false data to HMRC, which hid the true position, Mr Borgert allowed the company to continue trading using that undeclared tax as a reservoir of working capital. Despite being made aware of the true position, he wilfully ignored instructions from professionals and extracted money to reduce his personal exposure to loss.

“Directors of companies experiencing financial difficulties have a duty to act in the best interests of creditors, not to mitigate their own position or simply extract what money remains. Mr Bogert’s conduct of Camboriu’s affairs fell short of the standards of competence and integrity expected; to protect the integrity of the Market, the Insolvency Service will use its powers to protect the business world when directors act in this way.”