PRESTON businessman Iqbal Patel has been disqualified from being a company director for five years following unfit conduct. The disqualification order, issued at Manchester Crown Court, is as a result of his involvement in Highway Jeans Ltd, based in Canute Street, Preston. Patel, of St George's Road, set up the company in October 1992 as a clothing manufacturer. It was placed in liquidation on December 23 1994, with an estimated deficiency of £152,013. When it folded, the company owed £42,259 to trade and expense creditors, and £112,507 due to Crown Departments.

Matters of unfit conduct found by the court which Patel admitted included:

that the company continued to trade when Patel knew, or should have known, that the company was insolvent;

that the company retained Crown money in order to continue trading;

that Patel allowed the company to enter into a transaction which was detrimental to it and its creditors;

that he failed to act in the best interests of the company and, as such, breached his fiduciary duties;

that he failed to maintain or preserve accounting records contrary to Section 221 of the Companies Act 1985; and

that he operated a director's loan account in contravention of Section 330 of the Companies Act 1985.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was represented in Court by Messr Slater Heelis of Manchester.

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