Abul Azad, Abul Ashraf, and Abul Khaled, who were in charge at Apurba, Bombay Brasserie and Tandoori Knights, were found to have ‘deliberately or recklessly destroyed or removed sales records in their company accounts in order to avoid paying the full VAT and corporation tax amounts that were due’ following an insolvency investigation.
During the probe into their business dealings, the brothers sought to discredit and place blame on the company’s accountant, who had given written warnings in successive years that the company - A & A (Melton Mowbray) Limited - had inadequate record keeping processes in place and that it was obvious that cash and sales records were going missing.
In some cases, the investigation found, sales identified solely through card payment data was found to be more than their total reported sales, which also included cash payments.
In total, £566,749 was owing to HMRC when the brothers placed the company into liquidation in August 2018.
Azad (57), Ashraf (50), and 44-year-old Khaled have been banned from acting as company directors for seven years, seven years, and three-and-a-half years, respectively.
Cassandra Dowthwaite, deputy head of Insolvent Investigations (North) at the Insolvency Service, said: “This ban should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to conceal sales and withhold taxes, which are needed to fund vital public services, for their own benefit.
“Companies have limited liability, which is a privilege, not a right, and The Insolvency Service have strong enforcement powers which we will not hesitate to use to remove that privilege from dishonest or reckless directors.”
Azad and Ashraf were the longest serving directors, having been in post since the company was incorporated on May 6, 2010.
Khaled, who was only a director of the company for less than two years, admitted to causing or allowing the company to suppress its sales over a period of at least eight months.
A spokesman for the Insolvency Service said: “The disqualification from being a company director is a civil offence.
“But it is possible that this case could be referred in future for criminal prosecution.”