Insolvency Service
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Spain-based director of Preston company brought to book in the UK

A Spain-based businessman, David Topping, has been disqualified from acting as a director for eight years for failing to keep adequate accounting records for Cresta Furniture Limited, following a hearing at Preston County Court on 7 February 2013.

David Topping,had resigned as a director of Cresta Furniture Limited (Cresta) based in Preston, Lancashire, on 30 June 2008, transferring the entire shareholding to his Cyprus registered company. Following this transfer, a Paul Vella of Malta was appointed director.

The investigation found detailed evidence that despite having resigned, David Topping continued to be in control of Cresta acting through others, exercising control by email and by phone.

Mr Vella had no involvement in the running of the company and had allowed his name to be used for a fee. He signed a disqualification undertaking for two and a half years on 24 October 2011 in relation to his involvement in the company.

Cresta went into administration on 18 Feb 2010 owing £1,145,277 to creditors and leaving a large number of customers missing the furniture they had ordered.

A key finding of the investigation was that Mr Topping failed to ensure that Cresta kept adequate accounting records as required by law. When the administrators searched the company premises following their appointment, they were unable to locate the company stock or the computer server.

When the computer server was finally delivered up to the administrators they found that it only contained records as far as 2005. As a result the administrators were unable to:

  • contact all creditors notably regarding customer deposits. Only £56,344 of the outstanding £266,666 of customer deposits for furniture were able to be identified and verified.
  • verify the amounts Mr Topping and a former director owed to the company in the Directors’ Loan Account, which was overdrawn by £233,817 as at 30 June 2008.
  • verify its acquisition of stock, sales and the disposal of stock between 01 July 2008 and the date of administration. As at 30 June 2008 Cresta’s stock was £359,294.

Commenting on the case, Claire Entwistle Director of Company Investigations North said:

“ Directors cannot expect to hide behind others in order to disguise their role in running a company. Actions such as these are serious misconduct and customers have lost significant amounts of money .

“The period of disqualification given to Mr Topping is evidence of the how seriously such matters are regarded and The Insolvency Service will investigate all such activities and take action against the perpetrators.”

Notes to Editors

1. David Topping’s date of birth is 5 October 1952 and Paul Vella’s date of birth was 25 December 1947.

2. Cresta Furniture Limited was incorporated on 17 April 1978 and David Topping was appointed a Director on 14 August 1991.

3. Disqualification undertakings have the same effect as disqualification orders made by a court, and are therefore legally binding. Without obtaining permission from a court, a disqualified person may not:

  • act as a director of a company;
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company;
  • be a liquidator or administrator of a company;
  • be a receiver or manager of a company’s property.

4. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found on The Insolvency Service’s website, here.

5. The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. The Service also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession; deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures; assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees; provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds; and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of The Insolvency Service is available from www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency.

6. Further details can be obtained from Kathryn Montague, Media Relations Manager, The Insolvency Service on 020 7674 6910 or Ade Daramy, Press Officer on 020 7596 6187, Floor 4, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT or Sarah Weaver, Press Officer on 020 7637 6422.

7. You can now subscribe to get e-mail alerts from The Insolvency Service. To subscribe, go to our website: http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/news and you will see a button to “sign up for email alerts and newsletters”, or click on the link below and follow the instructions: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKBIS/subscriber/new

The Golden Thread: A study of the contribution of the project profession to the UK’s economy