Restaurant owner jailed for dissolving company after claiming £30,000 Covid loan

26 March 2024 by
Restaurant owner jailed for dissolving company after claiming £30,000 Covid loan

The owner of a Turkish restaurant who illegally applied for a £30,000 Covid Bounce Back Loan then tried to dissolve his company without informing creditors has been jailed.

Ilhan Kekec denied charges of fraud by false representation and failing to notify creditors of a voluntary strike-off but was found guilty by a jury in December 2023.

Kekec had run the Derwish Restaurant on St Albans Road, Watford for three years before he opened a second restaurant.

He launched the Derwish Kebab Restaurant inside the food court of the East Shopping Centre in Forest Gate, London in 2020.

However, the new venture only traded for three weeks before the first Covid lockdown, and he was unable to open during that period.

Kekec applied for a £30,000 Bounce Back Loan in May 2020 after falsely claiming the turnover of his new business was £125,000.

He withdrew the funds in cash and later admitted to the Insolvency Service that he spent the money on clearing personal debts.

Kekec applied to dissolve the company in June 2020, claiming it was no longer economically viable for him to run the restaurant.

However, he failed in his statutory duty to inform creditors of his voluntary strike-off application with Companies House.

Kekec was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 18 March and disqualified as a company director for three years.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years each for two counts of fraud by false representation, and two years and four months respectively for offences under the Companies Act.

Julie Barnes, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "Ilhan Kekec saw an opportunity in the early weeks of the pandemic to receive a Covid loan which he never intended to repay.

"His actions were thoroughly dishonest and at no point did he ever own up to his crimes.

"He will now have the chance to reflect on his behaviour from behind bars."

Image: Shutterstock

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