Two Indian-origin restaurateurs have been banned from the formation, promotion or management of a company without permission of the court over tax evasion, which caused the UK tax department losses of more than 4 million pounds.
Sukdev Gill, 55, signed a "disqualification undertaking" with the UK's Insolvency Service for eight years after admitting that he caused companies he was a director of to conceal value added tax (VAT) over six years, resulting in a loss to the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of 1.97 million pounds.
His business partner, 47-year-old Inderjit Singh, was disqualified for nine years after he also did not dispute that he traded through successor companies while also concealing VAT resulting in a loss of 4.37 million pounds.
The two businessmen's disqualifications come into effect from Friday, from which day onwards they are prohibited from setting up or running any business without legal approval.
"Sukdev Gill and Inderjit Singh have received substantial bans, which will significantly curtail their activities. This should serve as a clear warning to others that if you fail to observe your statutory duties as company directors then the penalties are severe," said Robert Clarke, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service.
"Concealing and failing to pay tax on a grand scale like this was not an administrative error. The two directors knew exactly what they were doing and not only did the exchequer lose out, but their businesses gained an unfair advantage over their competitors," he said.
Sukdev Gill and Inderjit Singh were directors of five companies - Coin De Indes Buffet Limited, Experience India Limited, Salut E Hind, Seeye Diamonds and Hot Flame World Buffett - trading as licensed restaurants in or around the Glasgow area of Scotland.
The five companies were incorporated between 2010 and 2012 but all ceased to exist by March 2018, with each one entering into a form of insolvency, either through compulsory liquidation or Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.
According to the Insolvency Service, HMRC made post-liquidation enquiries into the companies before establishing that all five had participated in some form of tax misconduct, including under-declaring tax, failing to register for VAT and concealing tax owed.
As the companies ceased to operate, Inderjit Singh then proceeded to incorporate successor companies, all of which traded as "Cook and Indi World Buffet" to continue the activities of the five companies that had gone through insolvency.
However, each of the 14 companies succumbed to the same fate as their predecessors and entered into a form of insolvency. Again, HMRC looked at the companies'' activities following their liquidation and discovered that Inderjit Singh allowed the buffet restaurant businesses to conceal millions of unpaid tax from HMRC.
Similar to the actions of their predecessors, the new companies concealed VAT and under-declared tax contributions, while at the same time failed to notify HMRC that new businesses were continuing the work of previous companies.