Syncro directors disqualified

Three directors of a construction and maintenance company based in Salford Quays have been disqualified for a total of 20 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The company, which held several government and local authority contracts, failed in July 2007 with a deficiency of over £10m.

Kevin Francis Herbert Maxwell, 52, of Park Lane, London, David Dawson, 61 of Cheadle, and David Gordon Maclean, 47 of Simonstone, Lancashire each offered company director disqualification undertakings, the last of which was accepted on the first day of what was listed as a 15 day trial in the High Court, London. The undertakings mean they are each banned from managing or in any way controlling a company or being directors for the duration of their disqualifications.

Maxwell and Dawson are each disqualified for eight years and Maclean for four-and-a-half years. Dawson's disqualification started on 24 June 2011 and Maxwell's and Maclean's will begin on 8 July.

The disqualifications were sought following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found that the directors had inappropriately managed the business affairs of Syncro Limited. This company had two divisions: a construction arm which operated as either the lead contractor or in certain instances sub-contractor on construction and renovating works; and a facilities management division, engaged in the 'hard' maintenance of sites. This side of Syncro operated essential maintenance of heating, electrical, refrigeration and other services at various sites. Additionally, this division was involved in the installation and accreditation of electrical cabling at a number of sites.

The Insolvency Service investigation revealed that:

Payments were made to connected companies, in which the directors had an interest, to the detriment of creditors and at a time when Syncro was insolvent;

In the case of Maxwell and Dawson, 11 such payments were made totalling £2m between 30 January 2007, when they acquired control of the company, and 24 July 2007 when the company went into dministration; five of these 11 payments, totalling £933,000, were made during Maclean's four-month directorship up to 21 May 2007;

As a result of Maxwell and Dawson's failure to maintain and/or preserve accounting records it has not been possible to ascertain the purposes of six further payments totalling £375,875 were also made by Syncro. Five of these 6 payments totalling £304,875 were made while MacLean was a director.

Commenting on the case, Tony Wilkin, the Insolvency Service's Director of Intelligence and Enforcement said: "This was a serious case in which creditors were denied access to significant sums, combined with a disregard for the directors' duty to keep records of the company's transactions. The disqualifications should serve as a reminder; The Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct by company directors and any consequential enforcement action may result in lengthy periods of disqualification as the directors of Syncro have found out."

Syncro Limited was incorporated on 23 August 1995 and the registered offices for the greater part of six months prior to the insolvency were situated at Furness House, Furness Quay, Salford Quays, Salford, Manchester, M50 3XZ.

The proceedings were issued in the Manchester District Registry of the High Court of Justice on 21 July 2009 and subsequently transferred to the High Court in London at the Defendants' request on 24 September 2009. However, following meetings between the various defendants and the Secretary of State's solicitors the matters were settled by disqualification undertakings accepted from Mr Dawson on 3 June 2011 for eight years, from Mr Maxwell on 17 June 2011 also for eight years and from Mr MacLean also on that date for four-and-a-half years due to his lesser role.

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