Under s. 261 of the Companies Act 1993 a liquidator of a company has powers to obtain documents and information from a former director of the failed company. Failure to provide that information to the liquidator can result in the director being prosecuted and if convicted of an offence under s. 261, he or she “liable to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years”.
If the company director has been adjudicated as a bankrupt at the time of sentencing a judge would be compelled to impose a prison sentence rather than impose a fine. If the offending involved long-term and systematic refusal to supply documents to a number of liquidators involving multiple companies of which he/she had been a director, and the non-compliance showed a pattern of flagrant disregard for the law, a judge would no doubt be compelled to impose a maximum sentence. For to do so would be in the public interest because the law has a pedagogical role in addition to a punitive element designed to bring offenders to their senses regarding the rule of law as it prescribes and defines criminal behaviour.
Section 261 of the Companies Act entitled “Power to obtain documents and information” includes: [Read more…]