Building boss banned for covid loan abuse

Grant Prior 3 weeks ago

A London-based builder has been disqualified as a company director for ten years after he overstated his company’s turnover to claim the maximum Bounce Back Loan during the pandemic and then failed to show the money had been spent on his business.

Marcel Ion, 39, from Bromley, was the sole director of Mavion Group Ltd, a construction business which was registered in Dagenham.

In June 2020, Ion applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan on his company’s behalf, stating that the business had a turnover of £205,410.

But Mavion Group Ltd went into liquidation in August 2022, owing more than £180,000 – including the full amount of the loan – and triggering an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Lawrence Zussman, Deputy Head of Company Investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Marcel Ion blatantly took advantage of a government scheme to support businesses when they were facing huge challenges posed by the pandemic.

“His lengthy ban shows the Insolvency Service will pursue those who seek to abuse taxpayers’ money and remove them from the business arena.”

Investigators found that the company had made sales of around £82,900 between January and December 2019, according to the business’s bank account, proving that Ion had exaggerated the company’s turnover on the loan application by more than double the actual amount.

They also discovered that five days after the £50,000 loan entered the company’s bank account in July 2020, Ion began to move money into his personal bank account. More than £35,360 was transferred to his personal account by the end of April 2021.

Investigators found no evidence that these payments were for the economic benefit of the company.

Under the rules of the scheme, companies could apply for a loan of between £2,000 and a maximum of £50,000. For companies whose business had started trading before 2019, the amount of loan they were eligible for was based on their turnover for the 2019 calendar year.

Any money loaned under the scheme had to be used for the economic benefit of the company.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade accepted a 10-year disqualification undertaking from Ion, which began on 1 May 2024. It prevents him from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

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