Director ban for tax-avoiding football tour operator

Kenneth Moyes, who ran a company organising pre-season tours for top division football clubs, has been disqualified for five years from acting as a director after he withdrew cash from the company to avoid over £250,000 in tax payments

Moyes’ disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service into Glasgow-based Professional Pre Season Tours Ltd (PPST) which ceased trading in April 2014 and was placed into liquidation in October 2014.

The company had been involved in arranging pre-season tours for various football clubs, including Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Norwich City, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Celtic.

The investigation found that Moyes transferred over £300,000 from the company to himself as a ‘bonus payment’ shortly before the company stopped trading. However according to the company accounts, no money was actually transferred, although it allowed him to claim a loan account debt was settled. In reality, this money had already been withdrawn for his personal use.

Investigators established that he withdrew at least £420,400 in cash from the company while it was trading, but failed to declare the full amount.

Because the fictitious transfer resulted in a nominal asset of the company being turned into a liability, it was unable to pay its obligations to HMRC in terms of PAYE and National Insurance contributions. At liquidation it owed £271,180 to creditors, of which all but £4,067 of which was to HMRC.

Cheryl Lambert, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: ‘This is a simple case of a director trying to avoid repaying their loans to a company and avoiding their proper tax payments. It was a cynical attempt to maintain personal wealth, with the consequence of depriving the public of tax receipts, and he abused the privileges and benefits of limited liability trading.

‘Kenneth Moyes also kept HMRC in the dark by not filing all returns on time, including partially paying VAT assessments at a sufficient level to avoid attracting priority attention.

‘Taking action against him is a warning to all directors that such behaviour will result in a very significant sanction, with a personal consequence. A limited company is not a personal piggy bank for directors.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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