London: An Indian-origin property developer has been banned as a company director for 13 years in the UK after his company was found to have misused investor funds raised towards building student accommodation in the south-west England city of Bristol.
Sanjiv Varma, a director of Grosvenor Property Developments, collected more than 7.7 million pounds from investors between February 2017 and January 2018 along with fellow director, Jonathan England, who has been disqualified for 12 years.
The student accommodation was never completed by the company and investors applied for the liquidation of the company in November 2018. Enquiries by the Insolvency Service found that Varma, 57, used at least 1.3 million pounds to fund travel, gifts and designer clothing.
“Sanjiv Varma and Jonathan England fabricated an extensive renovation project to create student accommodation in Bristol, taking large deposits from investors with the promise of a high quality asset,” said Karen Maxwell, Deputy Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service.
“Instead, Sanjiv Varma took millions from the company and Jonathan England did nothing to stop his co-director from spending their funds on international flights and designer clothing. Both have now been disqualified as company directors for a significant time period,” she said.
Grosvenor Property Developers was wound-up in court on November 14, 2018, and the Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator, which triggered investigations into the conduct of the directors of the property firm.
Enquiries established that funds were diverted into accounts belonging to or companies connected to Sanjiv Varma and that 3.1 million pounds was paid to another company in Dubai also owned by the director.
Investigators also found that planning permission for the student housing was never applied for and titles to the property were never acquired by Grosvenor Property Developers.
In their undertakings to the government, the two directors did not dispute that they caused and/or allowed Grosvenor Property Developers Ltd to misappropriate investor deposits of more than 6.5 million pounds.
Both their bans are effective from 22 February 2021 and the pair are banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company, the Insolvency Service said.
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
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