The Information Commissioner’s Office is ramping up its pursuit of the bosses of rogue companies who have deliberately folded their businesses to avoid paying huge fines, insisting it will do everything it can to ensure they cough up.
Just yesterday, Check Point Claims was issued with a £250,000 fine, months after going under and the move follows claims that 14 of the 20 companies the ICO has issued fines to have gone bust in order to escape payment. Nine of these 14 fines remain unpaid.
One of the nine being actively pursued is Reactiv Media and, according to ICO enforcement group manager Andy Curry, the regulator – along with other creditors – has voted to appoint insolvency practitioner Griffins to manage Reactiv’s liquidation proceedings.
Vaishali Sandhu from Griffins explained: “In recent years the UK insolvency landscape has changed to enable insolvency practitioners to pursue rogue directors more effectively.
Following the review, the insolvency practitioner will prepare a director report which is to be filed with the Insolvency Services, and if the report demonstrates unfit conduct, the director can face serious sanctions, including up to ten years imprisonment, a fine or both for fraudulent trading.
“Up to 7 years imprisonment, a fine or both for fraud in anticipation of winding up, including concealment of property or debt, fraudulent removal of property or fraudulently parting with, altering or making omission in any document affecting the company’s affairs.”
“Finally they face up to 2 years imprisonment, a fine or both for transactions that defraud creditors, such as gifts or any transfer made of the company’s property.”
Curry insists that even companies which have stopped trading or try to get themselves struck off cannot escape.
He added: “We will do everything within our power to recover fines on behalf of taxpayers and those millions of people who have been hounded by unwanted calls.”
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