Licence refused for debt-dodging company
He found that the director, Gregory Swartz, had a long history with operator licences. The Traffic Commissioner heard that Mr Swartz had previously been the director of a company revoked at public inquiry in 2014, then the director of another operator which had offered to surrender its licence in October 2022. This company, GMAKX Ltd, had been referred following a DVSA maintenance investigation and Mr Rooney had already made the decision to call it in for another public inquiry.
This case then took a different turn. Submissions for the PI told the commissioner that GMAKX Ltd had been sold to Atherton Corporate Limited on 10 January 2023 and Mr Swartz had been removed as director, having been replaced by a Mr Neville Taylor. As part of that sale, Mr Swartz had been instructed to surrender the licence and dispose of the documents. Concerned, he undertook background research and found hundreds of businesses which appeared to have the same Mr Taylor listed as director albeit with several different dates of birth and addresses. Further investigations found websites touting services to protect reputations from insolvency. GMAKX Ltd had an outstanding bounce-back loan of £40-45,000 plus a VAT liability that it was not in a position to pay. The company had not had the necessary turnover to have been eligible for that bounce-back loan in the first place.
Mr Swartz was then applying for a new licence with a new company.
The commissioner said “By disposing of the company, Mr Swartz has sought to avoid significant liabilities due to the public purse and to allow the taxpayer to pick up the pieces. I cannot determine whether the actions of Mr Swartz were illegal. I do not need to do so. By engaging in an un-regulated act to avoid insolvency proceedings, whether intentionally or recklessly, Mr Swartz has frustrated the statutory insolvency process, seeking to deny the opportunity for his actions as a director to be properly scrutinised and for creditors to achieve any return… If the sale was not illegal, it was certainly unethical.
“Mr Swartz misled me at the public inquiry. He gained a bounce-back loan to which he was not entitled. He has traded whilst insolvent. He has engaged in unethical business practices, seemingly over a number of years since securing the bounce-back loan. He has sought to write-off a substantial debt to the taxpayer… The applicant has failed to establish its good repute.”
Further details can be found here.