A Leeds restaurant boss has been struck off as a director for a second time after he flouted laws to stop him from running a company.
Mahmood Hashmi, 61, of Alwoodley, Leeds, has also been ordered to personally pay off creditors almost £700,000 in unpaid debts as he “acted while disqualified” .
Hashmi – who for a time ran Da Mario Pizzeria on The Headrow; Bellini’s at Adel; Fat Franco’s at Horsforth; and Pinocchio’s at Harrogate – was banned as a company director for 14 years at the Manchester High Court.
He was similarly disqualified in 2003 after a stint as a director with Bellini’s Restaurants Ltd.
At this time it was found that he had taken £112,000 out of Dreamblue Limited trading as Fat Franco’s, shortly before it was placed into liquidation in 2001 and without paying off its debts.
Instead the cash was paid into Bellini’s, and Hashmi sold Dreamblue to his company Boomtown Ltd, which continued trading as Fat Franco’s.
Despite his eight-year ban, in 2004 Hashmi jointly acquired Campagna Restaurants Ltd (Da Mario’s), and in 2005 jointly took over Julden Limited (Pinnochio’s).
While he was never formally appointed a director, The Insolvency Service has now proved he was involved in the day-to-day running of Da Mario’s, Pinocchio’s, Fat Franco’s and Bellini’s as a manager and decision-maker.
Its investigation was sparked in 2008 when all four restaurants were wound up, owing thousands of pounds to creditors.
Only Da Mario’s continues to trade today.
The inquiry also revealed that banned Hashmi also transferred £86,500 from Fat Franco’s shortly before it was placed into liquidation in 2008, once again leaving a list of unpaid creditors.
Having done this while disqualified, Hashmi is now personally liable for the debts.
Claire Entwistle, head of The Insolvency Service’s Company Investigations North, said: “The disqualification regime exists to protect others from the improper actions of directors.
“As this case demonstrates, The Insolvency Service will deal robustly with those found to have acted in the management of a company while disqualified.”
Executive chef Alistair Sampson, 44, of Armley, Leeds, has also been banned as a director for a period of six years for his involvement in the receiving of money at Boomtown’s Fat Franco’s in 2008.