Luton coach boss banned for hiding fleet and assets

The director of a coach hire firm has been banned for nine years after intentionally hiding company assets, including three coaches worth almost £40,000, from the liquidator and failing to account for thousands of pounds of payments

Craig Hughes of Luton was the registered director of HL Tours Ltd from July 2013. Based in Bedford, the company provided private hire coach services catering to schools and private clients.

However, the company could not pay its debts and entered into a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) in October 2017, owing its creditors £38,000. An insolvency practitioner was appointed but faced obstacles throughout.

Two months before the company entered into liquidation, Hughes removed the three coaches without the permission of the liquidator and tried to hide them.

Despite letters from the liquidator threatening legal action, Hughes refused to reveal the location of the vehicles. The coaches were eventually found almost a year later but their condition had deteriorated and they had lost value by the time they were sold in the liquidation, to the detriment of the company’s creditors.

Hughes also failed to ensure the company maintained or preserved adequate accounting records or failed to deliver them to the liquidator, which would have explained the position regarding the company’s assets and several financial transactions.

For example, there were no explanations behind almost £133,000 of bank transfers, including £127,000 to an account held by Hughes himself.

Lawrence Zussman, deputy head of investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Craig Hughes thought he could hide assets from the liquidator, three coaches no less, to avoid paying his creditors even in the face of legal action. Thankfully, the coaches were recovered and sold on.

‘Directors have responsibilities to their creditors and a nine-year disqualification demonstrates the consequences of those who put their interests above anyone else.’

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