Puppet director disqualified for 12 years after she illegally transferred £2.5 million worth of property assets to her father-in-law.
Pauline Muldowney, from Southend, also known as Pauline Gopee, was disqualified for 12 years on 7 December 2018 at the High Court of Justice.
The court heard that Pauline Muldowney was the sole formally appointed director of Pangold Investments Limited in March 2016 and just over a year later on 27 April 2017, a winding-up order was made against Pangold Investments. However, it became apparent that Pauline was acting as Director in name only with her Father-in-law still at the reins.
Four days before the company was going to be shut down by the courts, Pauline Muldowney transferred property assets, with an estimated value of more than £2.5 million, to her father-in-law Dharam Prakash Gopee for just £1.
However, not only was Dharam Gopee a disqualified director, but the transfer also breached a restraint order from June 2015 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The restraint order was obtained by the Financial Conduct Authority against Dharam Gopee and his wife, as well as Pangold Investments and 16 other parties, which prohibited Dharam Gopee and Pangold Investments from dealing with their assets.
Following the winding-up of the company, the Official Receiver interviewed Pauline Muldowney and sought explanation of the asset sales to her father-in-law.
She explained that properties owned by Pangold Investments were transferred to Dharam Gopee so that he could deal with them. Pauline Muldowney also admitted that she did not do much in her capacity as director of Pangold Investments and the only function she carried out was in fact to transfer the company’s property to her father-in-law.
By transferring the properties, Pauline Muldowney allowed her father-in-law to collect rent and deal with properties in which the company had an interest, but this was a direct breach of the restraining order.
By order of the courts, Pauline Muldowney is now banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company for 12 years.
Dharam Gopee has since been jailed for 15 months having admitted to the courts on 30 October 2017 that he had breached the restraint order. He was also held in contempt of court.
On 9 February, Dharam Gopee was jailed for an additional three and a half years due to offences connected to business activities of Pangold Investments and other companies now in liquidation between August 2012 and December 2016. He was found guilty of contravening the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000.
Isobel Brett, Director Bretts Business Recovery, said “12 years is a substantial ban and should serve as a warning to those choosing to act in name only, at the instruction of others.
Often family members are asked to be directors but are not necessarily involved with the company dealings. There may be legitimate reason for this, although I fail to think what this might actually be. Anybody being requested to act in such capacity should be aware of their legal responsibilities on accepting the title of director and, furthermore, acting upon the instruction of an already disqualified director”