County Durham directors receive lengthy bans after overstating sales by over £1bn

John and Carmel Billany were disqualified as directors for nine years and three years six months respectively after they had inflated the company’s turnover from around £3 million, to an annual turnover of £1.2 billion in order to obtain finance.

The company, which supplied hydraulic components, became insolvent in September 2013 after owing money to a finance company.

The disqualifications follow an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce a Chief Investigator with the Insolvency Service, said:

These disqualifications should demonstrate to company directors that the Insolvency Service will investigate all forms of misconduct, no matter how complicated the evidence or how long the paper trail is.

We will always look to remove from the business community those directors who act below the standards that should be expected of them.

Both provided disqualification undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Solely for the purposes of the undertaking, John Billany did not dispute that he caused Linden Group raise false sales invoices, and Carmel Billany did not dispute that she neglected her duties as a director and allowed this to happen.

Linden’s records for the year ended 31 December 2012 show a turnover of over £1billion, and records for the period from January to May 2013 show a turnover of more than £100million per month. Linden’s real turnover was in the region of £3m per year.

Following the insolvency, the trade of Linden Group was sold by the liquidator to an unconnected company which continues the business using a similar name. John and Carmel Billany have no connection with that company.

The disqualification means that Mr and Mrs Billany may not be directors of a company or be involved in the management of a company in any way for the duration of the disqualifications unless they have permission from Court.

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