A WINCHESTER couple who ran an online ticket agency that collapsed with debts of more than £4 million have been barred from being company directors for ten years.

Mohammed Rashid Qajar and Sally Oakley, directors of Secureticket (UK) Limited, sold tickets for the 2007 and 2008 Cambridge Folk Festival but failed to hand over £618,000 to Cambridge City Council.

An Insolvency Service investigation was carried out after Secureticket (UK) Ltd entered voluntary liquidation in January 2009, owing more than £4.5m.

Secureticket failed to keep the funds it received from ticket sales in a protected client account, breaking its legal obligations to CCC.

No money was ever paid to the council which had to write off the debt earlier this year.

Mr Qajar, 47, and Sally Oakley, 49, both of Sutton Park Road, Sutton Scotney, were due to defend themselves at a five-day trial commencing on Monday. (NOV26)

But on the court steps, they agreed not to act as directors for ten years from December 13.

Investigators found that of the £530,401 that was paid out of the client account:
• £172,328 was transferred to Secureticket’s general business account;
• £121,458 was then paid on from this general business account to the directors or to companies connected with them and;
• £31,738 was paid directly from the client account to these directors or their connected companies

Mark Bruce, a chief examiner at The Insolvency Service, said: “Many of the directors we investigate have usually caused material financial harm to the company’s creditors but this case is especially grave because the damage will have reverberated through a community. People living in the Cambridge area will have suffered indirectly from a reduction in funds.

“These ten-year disqualifications should serve as a reminder to all company directors of the potential consequences of failing to maintain proper professional standards.

“The message is stark; if you run a business in a way that is detrimental to either its customers or its creditors you will be in our sights. The Insolvency Service will investigate you and seek to remove you from the business environment.”