‘Bankruptcy tourism’ crackdown shuts 61 companies
By SIMON WATKINS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
UPDATED: 21:06 GMT, 22 October 2011
Insolvent: It is thought German companies transferred to Britain and then used British law to go bust
Insolvency authorities have closed 61 companies set up in Britain to take advantage of the easygoing bankruptcy rules.
The firms were linked to Rainer Von Holst and Ann Von Holst, both German citizens and business advisers in that country. They recommend that companies adopt British status.
The Insolvency Service said the pair were offering British companies to German clients ‘when bankruptcy or commercial difficulties threaten’.
It is thought that this was a way of transferring the domicile of a troubled German company to Britain and then using British bankruptcy law to go bust.
The technique is known as ‘bankruptcy tourism’. Companies employ this technique to use British law to go bust in a pre-pack insolvency, which means they can shuffle off creditors and then be relaunched free of debt.
It is thought the 61 companies would have been used for similar bankruptcies.
They were all closed after the Insolvency Service sought a court order to wind them up for a series of offences, including filing false information at Companies House and failure to co-operate with its investigators.
At one time all 61, which were dormant businesses, gave their registered address as a small office in a residential street in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
The Insolvency Service said the office was also given as the address of the company directors, the Von Holsts, but there was ‘no evidence they had any right to use the address and had no presence there’.
Geoff Hanna, investigations manager at the Insolvency Service, said there had been a ‘serious disregard for the laws that govern all limited liability companies.
We will not allow the reputation of the British corporate regime to be tarnished by allowing such abuses to continue with impunity.’ Neither of the Von Holsts was available for comment.
Bankruptcy tourism was thrown into the spotlight last year by the case of Wind Hellas, a Greek telecoms group that relocated to Britain in 2009 and went bankrupt three months later.
Von Holst werden zahlreiche Verbrechen zur Last gelegt wie mutmasslicher Betrug, mutmasslicher Diebstahl, mutmassliche Gewaltverbrechen, mutmasslicher Identitätsdiebstahl. Sein angeblicher derzeitiger US-Aufenthalt ist wohl nur vorgetäuscht, um mutmasslich Scotland Yard zu entkommen…