Supermarket boss banned for avoiding business rates

The director of a Birmingham supermarket business has been banned for eight years after misleading Birmingham City Council to avoid business rates of around £680,000.

Zahir Rasul ran Pak Supermarket in Washwood Heath which, despite having a turnover of more than £35m, only paid £5,000 in rates over a four-year period.

It came to light when the company went into Creditor’s Voluntary Liquidation in January 2015 with an estimated deficiency of more than £2.8m.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service found that the company had provided misleading information to Birmingham City Council between August 2010 and October 2014.

The company had submitted documents to the council relating to eight third-party companies, suggesting these eight companies were, at separate times, the occupants responsible for business rates.

As a result, this information hid that the fact that the true occupant was Pak Supermarket and it was the supermarket that was liable to pay business rates.

Martin Gitner, Deputy Head of Investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Directors have a duty to provide their local council with complete and accurate information with regard to the occupants of trading premises in order to ensure that liability is properly attributed.

“Where information provided is found to be false and/or misleading, resulting in a loss of funds to the Council, directors can expect to be investigated by the Insolvency Service and enforcement action taken to remove them from the market place.”

Zahir Rasul was banned for eight years and a second director, Mohammed Younis, was disqualified for three years.