This week, Managing Partner Richard Spector looks at a ‘first-of-its-kind’ judgment involving a company director and Business Secretary Vince Cable.
The Business Secretary was surprised to find out, as we would all be, that he was now a proud director of John Vincent Cable Services Limited.
The catch, however, is that he had no idea what the company was, what they did, and why he would be listed as a shareholder.
Companies House swiftly took action, his name was removed from the register, and MPs, for now at least, thought they would be safe.
But three years later, the mystery business re-emerged under a different name and with a different politician in charge.
This time it was Baroness Neville-Rolfe – the Minister with responsibility for Companies house, as well as James Cleverly MP and an imaginary Israeli national. The business name: Cleverly Clogs Limited.
Again Companies House took action, and the business and its directors were removed from the register in 2016.
The work was later attributed to Kevin Brewer, a businessman from Warwickshire. He is believed to be the first person to be successfully prosecuted for falsifying company information under new corporate laws which came into force in 2009.
The man was ordered to pay more than £12,000 after he pleaded guilty to the offences at a hearing in Redditch Magistrates’ Court in March.
A Companies House spokesperson said: “Deliberately filing false information on the register is a serious offence and people who have been found to have knowingly done this can face prosecution.”
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths added: “This prosecution – the first of its kind in the UK – shows the Government will come down hard on people who knowingly break the law and file false information on the company register.
“Companies House works hard to protect and continually upgrade the company register, identifying potentially criminal activities and working closely with law enforcement bodies to help bring those perpetrators to justice.”
While the case itself could well be a one-off, it is worth taking time to check that all the information that appears under your name on Companies House is true and accurate and that you are not the newest shareholder of an imaginary company.
About Richard Spector: Managing Partner Richard specialises in corporate law and commercial litigation. Richard has acted in a number of high-profile cases and was heavily involved in the litigation that arose from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Richard has been involved in a number of cross-border litigation cases and recently acted successfully for the Claimants in Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd & Anr v Wilkins Kennedy, listed in the Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016.
Latest posts by Richard Spector (see all)
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