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Rotheram directors banned over ‘fraudulent’ BBL loans

The secretary of state accepted disqualification undertakings from both directors, with Muneef Ihsan banned for 13 years, and Mahir Towid Ul Haque banned for six years

Two Rotherham directors Muneef Ihsan and “close friend” Mahir Towid UI Haque have been imposed a combined total ban of 19 years for fraudulent BBL loans, the Insolvency Service has confirmed.

Ihsan’s companies, Porthart Ltd, Bargain Basement 90 Ltd and Bargains Basement 90 Ltd, were each placed into voluntary liquidation by Ihsan in September 2020.

It revealed Ihsan opened a bank account for each company in June 2020, after the pandemic began, for the sole purpose of fraudulently obtaining three £50k Covid-19 Bounce Back Loans (BBL).

Upon receiving the funds, Ihsan made cash withdrawals from each of the companies’ bank accounts totalling £24,342, transferring the remainder of the BBL funds to companies controlled by Mahir Towid Ul Haque, who he described as “a close friend”, as well as other third parties.

As there was no evidence that any of the companies had ever traded, none of them were eligible for the loans.

Investigators uncovered that similar to Muneef Ihsan, Ul Haque opened a bank account for the company in June 2020 and took out a £50k Covid-19 BBL.

Further enquiries established that Ul Haque used the loan funds by purchasing a Rolex watch, transferred £16k to his personal account, withdrew £8.4k in cash from the company bank account and transferred £12.5k to other third parties.

Robert Clarke, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Abuse of Covid-19 support schemes, which have provided essential financial assistance to millions by helping businesses trade during the pandemic and protecting jobs, cannot be tolerated.”

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