Bankruptcy order on ex-Leeds Utd director Simon Morris extended by a decade

A BANKRUPTCY order against a prominent property developer and former Leeds United director has been extended by 10 years after a court heard he had hidden assets from his creditors.

Simon Morris could now remain an undischarged bankrupt until late 2020 after District Judge Giles, sitting at Leeds County Court, heard evidence the businessman was failing to co-operate with attempts to recover money owed to creditors.

The court order extending bankruptcy said: "The Respondent (Mr Morris) has dealt with monies held in bank accounts in the name of the Respondent before and after the date of the bankruptcy order to the detriment of his bankruptcy creditors.

"The Respondent has failed to provide full disclosure in relation to his financial affairs to his Joint Trustees in Bankruptcy."

A 10-year extension is a rare step in insolvency proceedings, underlining the seriousness of Mr Morris' alleged failure to assist efforts to recover the seven-figure sum he is understood to personally owe.

Kevin Mawer, a KPMG insolvency specialist leading the investigation into Mr Morris' assets, said: "A 10-year suspension of discharge is extremely unusual.

"An individual is normally entitled to an automatic discharge from bankruptcy one year after being made bankrupt. However, a trustee in bankruptcy can make an application to court for that automatic discharge to be suspended in instances where a bankrupt has failed to cooperate with the trustee's enquiries."

Mr Morris's SRM Holdings company and 36 of its subsidiaries collapsed into administration in October 2008 with debts in the region of 50m. He was made bankrupt a year later.

The Serious Fraud Office dropped an inquiry into Mr Morris' business affairs last May on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Last night Mr Morris insisted he expected the order to be overturned quickly and added: "I am co-operating fully and the order is nothing but a technicality."