Three hotel directors who ran a family chain of four hotels have been disqualified as directors for a combined period of 28 years.
Brother and sister trio Andrew Christopher Hughes, Stephen Anthony Hughes and Julie Savage were directors of Heritage Properties & Hotels, which traded through the Crab at Chieveley hotel, Berkshire; the Churston Court hotel in Brixham, Devon; the Newbury Manor hotel in Newbury, Devon; and the Park House hotel in Shifnal, Shropshire. Churston Court hotel has since changed hands.
The company went into administration, at which point creditors were owed just over £8m.
The Insolvency Service's investigation found that Andrew Hughes and Stephen Hughes, despite being previously disqualified from doing so, continued to act in the management of Heritage Properties & Hotels Ltd. They negotiated loan agreements of over £3.5m and created obligations for the company, which remained as outstanding liabilities in the administration.
Their sister Julie Savage failed to ensure that adequate trading and accounting records of the company were preserved and delivered for the company. Instead, the records were deliberately destroyed, although it is not clear who was responsible for their destruction.
Andrew Hughes was previously disqualified on 4 October 2010 and Stephen Hughes was disqualified on 25 May 2006. The current disqualification means that they are banned from acting as a director or in any way managing or controlling a company until at least May 2028. Julie Savage is disqualified from acting until 2023.
David Brooks, chief investigator, Investigation and Enforcement Services at the Insolvency Service, said:
"This investigation was hampered by the destruction of records but it was eventually possible to show the involvement of Andrew and Stephen Hughes who were acting in contravention of their disqualifications.
"If people are disqualified but then act or do so through others, the consequences for them are likely to become serious including prosecution and personal liability."
A statement from the Jonathan Smith, the current director of Churston Court Hotel said: "Further to the recent report of the Insolvency Service's disqualification of Andrew Hughes, Stephen Hughes and Julie Savage, we should like to clarify that the business at Churston Court Hotel, Devon, changed hands in October 2016. The new proprietors, and the owner of the freehold property, had no involvement whatsoever with the events giving rise to the disqualifications, and were not part of the Insolvency Service's investigation."