UK: Indian Restaurant Owner Sentenced for Misusing Covid Loan Funds

1 month ago

Last Updated: March 04, 2024, 21:35 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

The 53-year-old broke UK company law before securing a loan by applying to dissolve his business, even though it had been trading in the previous three months. (Representative image/Shutterstock)

The 53-year-old broke UK company law before securing a loan by applying to dissolve his business, even though it had been trading in the previous three months. (Representative image/Shutterstock)

Indian restaurant owner in the UK sentenced and banned for misusing COVID loan funds. Owner diverted loan into personal accounts, faces two-year director ban

The owner of an Indian restaurant who used funds from the UK government’s COVID Bounce Back Loan for personal gain has been sentenced and banned as a company director for two years.

Zaman Shaa’s Shaa Ventures Limited ran Chutneys Indian takeaway food restaurant in Salisbury, southern England. The 53-year-old broke UK company law before securing a loan by applying to dissolve his business, even though it had been trading in the previous three months.

Last month at Winchester Crown Court, Shaa was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison, which has been suspended for 18 months under strict conditions and was disqualified as a company director for two years. “Zaman Shaa exploited a scheme intended to help businesses during a national emergency for his gain,” said Pete Fulham, Chief Investigator at the UK’s Insolvency Service.

“His actions cannot simply be dismissed as something he did in the spur of the moment. They required a degree of planning and sophistication over several weeks to execute. The sentence and disqualification order for Shaa demonstrate we will not hesitate to take action against directors who have abused COVID financial support in such a manner,” he said.

Shaa was also ordered to pay GBP 6,000 (USD 7,614) in costs, at a rate of GBP 250 (USD 317) per month, at the same hearing on February 23. The court heard that he had applied for a GBP 30,000 (USD 38071) Bounce Back Loan in August 2020 when he was the director of Shaa Ventures Ltd. He failed to fulfil his legal requirement to inform creditors that he had applied to dissolve the company.

Insolvency Service analysis of Shaa’s transactions indicated he transferred the funds into his personal accounts, sent some of the money abroad using a remittance service, and withdrew significant amounts in cash. The disqualification order prevents Shaa from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court before February 2026.

In the UK, eateries serving cuisine associated with countries in the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, are often referred to as Indian restaurants. The Insolvency Service said Shaa no longer has any involvement with Chutneys Indian after being convicted of unlawful application for voluntary strike-off, contrary to Section 1004 of the UK’s Companies Act 2006; failure to inform a creditor of striking off application, contrary to Section 1007 of the Companies Act 2006; and fraud by false representation, contrary to Section 2 of the UK’s Fraud Act 2006.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - PTI)

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