Property developer twins disqualified

David McCourt

Two brothers, both directors of Blackpool-based Independent Property Consultants, have been disqualified for a total of 22 years for scamming £2.5m from the public.

The disqualifications follow an investigation by The Insolvency Service into the company that marketed property developments in Bulgaria and Cape Verde.

The 52-year old twins Paul John Aspden, of Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire and Peter Keith Aspden, currently a resident in Cape Verde, were joint directors of IPC.

They have now each been disqualified from acting as directors for 11 years, from 4 April 2013 until April 2024, after proceedings that took 12 months.

The Insolvency Service investigation showed that members of the public paid over £1.5m to IPC for properties in four Bulgarian developments, but these properties never materialised.

The Aspden twins also misled clients into almost £1m for apartments in the Sal Vista resort development in Cape Verde. Again, customers did not receive the properties they had paid for.

As well as failing to provide the properties, IPC also failed to properly protect customers' money. Inadequate ring-fencing led to at least £643,244 of clients' funds being lost and investigators were unable to establish where the money had gone.

Ken Beasley, official receiver at the Insolvency Service's public interest unit, said: "The Aspden brothers were responsible for significant financial losses suffered by members of the public who never received the foreign properties they paid for.

"The company misled its customers into making payments for foreign properties and then the directors recklessly failed to protect this money.

"By handing down 11-year disqualifications, the court has shown that such conduct by directors will not be tolerated.

"The Insolvency Service will take tough action to put a stop to companies trading against the public interest and we will seek to remove culpable directors from the business environment."

IPC was wound up by the court on grounds of public interest in May 2010 following an investigation by the Insolvency Service authorised by the secretary of state for business innovation and skills. There were no assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of £2,573,933.

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