Brighton businessman fights ban from being a director

Posted On 20 Mar 2013 at 3:13 am

A Brighton businessman is fighting an official attempt to bar him from holding any directorships.

Robert Feld, 60, of The Green in Rottingdean, is contesting the proposed ban in the High Court.

The case is being brought under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 by the Insolvency Service in the name of Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Mr Feld has been granted a delay in proceedings provided that he keeps to a voluntary undertaking that he gave the court in May last year.

He promised not to be a company director or “be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company” without the court’s permission until his case is decided.

The Insolvency Service said that it was trying to ban Mr Feld from being a director because of his conduct at a company called Aerospace and Technical Engineering.

The company, based in Leatherhead in Surrey, was incorporated in November 2003 and went into liquidation in January 2008.

The Insolvency Service started the process of trying to bar Mr Feld from being a company director in January 2010.

The trial was first scheduled for May last year but was adjourned when Mr Feld applied for a delay so that he could bring further evidence.

It was rescheduled to start last Tuesday (12 March) but was adjourned again at Mr Feld’s request.

Mr Feld was previously banned from being a director for ten years after the collapse of his Brighton company Resort Hotels with debts of more than £90 million.

The hotel chain’s failure also landed him with an eight-year prison sentence which was handed down in 1997 but reduced to six years on appeal.

The Serious Fraud Office prosecuted Mr Feld after his business failed two years after a fraudulent £20 million rights issue of shares in 1992.

He was convicted of three counts of making false statements in financial documents and nine offences of using forged documents.

He had taken over running Resort Hotels from his father Alf Feld, a former Brighton mayor, who bought the Norfolk – now the Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel – in King’s Road, Brighton, in 1969.

About 6,000 small shareholders lost sums ranging from £500 to £20,000. They won back some of their money after suing the accountancy Coopers and Lybrand – now part of Price Waterhouse Coopers – and merchant bank Barclays de Zoete Wedd (BZW).

Mr Feld also bought the Eaton Garden Restaurant in The Drive, Hove, through another business, the Aubrey Business Group. The restaurant has since been turned into flats.

At his trial the judge, Mr Justice Kenneth Zucker, told Mr Feld: “Anyone acquainted with the facts of this case or anyone who has heard you give evidence will know that you are a man of quite appalling dishonesty.”

 

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