A Brighton film production company has been closed down after more than £3 million went missing.
Warlord Productions Ltd has been wound up in the High Court in London for failing to record, manage or account for in excess of £3 million of private investment funds.
The winding up order followed a confidential investigation by the Insolvency Service which found that the company received investor funds of almost £6 million.
Commission of about £3 million was paid to third party broker firms but the investigation was unable to reconcile the remaining funds.
The company, which had its registered office in Regent Hill, Brighton, claimed that it would act as co-producer of Henry 5, a film version of three of William Shakespeare’s plays.
It also claimed that money was used for production costs. But Michael Cowan, the company’s former sole director, was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation or adequate records to account for the way that the private investor funds were spent.
In addition, the latest financial statements prepared for Warlord showed that its balance sheet was heavily insolvent at the end of January last year.
The company, set up in January 2013, also failed to maintain records that accurately recorded investors.
As a result, the investigation was unable to identify investors who made investments in excess of £3 million.
This would have adversely affected the company’s ability to make payments to those investors in the event of the film being completed and making a profit.
Information provided to investors made unsubstantiated claims about well-known actors agreeing to appear in the film.
But Warlord Productions did not own the film rights and responsibility for filming is with another company.
The investigation was hampered not only by the lack of records but also by Mr Cowan’s view that he was director “in name only”. He claimed that responsibility for the company’s management lay elsewhere.
When he resigned as director in January this year the company was “abandoned” with no one in office to protect the investors’ position.
Insolvency Service chief investigator David Hill said: “This company appeared to be a film production company in name only as it seemed to do little or no ‘filming’ or ‘producing’.
“The Insolvency Service will investigate companies that are acting against the public interest and put them out of circulation”
Any inquiries about the affairs of Warlord should be made to the Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT. Inquiries can also be made by phone to 0207 637 1110 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.