Former directors of Bradford food firm Mumtaz disqualified over '£970k gold bullion purchase'

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Five former directors of a food firm have been disqualified following the managing director's purchase of gold bullion "for his sole benefit".

The family members were banned from being company directors for a total of 16 years after an Insolvency Service investigation into Bradford-based Greentabs Ltd, previously known as Mumtaz Food Industries.

The Insolvency Service said the company's managing director, Dr Gul-Nawaz Khan Akbar, was disqualified for six years.

An Insolvency Service spokesperson said: "He failed to act in the best interest of the company by purchasing gold bullion to the value of £976,055 with company funds for his sole benefit whilst creditors amounting to £447,997 remained unpaid."

Dr Akbar’s two brothers, Mumtaz Khan Akbar and Rab Nawaz Khan Akbar, were each disqualified for three years after being aware of the transaction and allowing it to happen.

Dr Akbar’s wife, Fameeda Akbar, and Mumtaz Khan Akbar’s wife, Kauser Akbar, were each disqualified for two years for "not upholding corporate governance requirements."

The disqualification orders, which were made in the High Court in Leeds on November 16 and came into force on December 8, were announced today by the Insolvency Service.

Investigators found that the gold bullion was purchased by Mumtaz Food Industries, which traded as a restaurant and food manufacturing plant at Great Horton Road, Bradford, between November 30 and December 11, 2012.

Company board minutes showed that "it was agreed by Dr Akbar, Mumtaz Khan Akbar and Rab Nawaz Khan Akbar that the title to that gold would pass solely to Dr Akbar via the use of an employee benefit trust."

Before the gold was bought, £447,997 was owed to six creditors. The amount remained outstanding at the time of the liquidation of the company.

Mumtaz Food Industries changed its name to Greentabs Ltd in February 2013. The company went into voluntary liquidation on May 24, 2013, with an estimated £805,630 owed to creditors.

Robert Clarke, Group Leader of Insolvent Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: "Directors who put their own personal financial interests above those of creditors, or who fail to take their directorial responsibilities seriously, damage confidence in doing business and are corrosive to the health of the local economy.

"It sends a clear message to other company directors that if you run a company in a way that is detrimental to either its customers or its creditors you may be investigated by the Insolvency Service and as a result removed from the corporate trading environment."

The Mumtaz chain has restaurants on Great Horton Road, Bradford, and Clarence Dock, Leeds.