Liquidator says court couple were involved in fraudulent transactions

Two former directors of a high-end vehicle import and export company were involved in fraudulent transactions by moving money between different entities in various jurisdictions, a liquidator says in commercial court proceedings .

Kieran Sherlock and his wife Helena Sherlock, of Cashel, Cloonloo, Boyle, Co Roscommon, as directors of Kleio Tool and Plant Hire Ltd, were involved in the import and export of supercars such as Rolls Royce, Lamborghini , Ferrari, Porsche and Range Rover.

Liquidator Myles Kirby said they engaged in fraudulent transactions and/or extensive money laundering in multiple jurisdictions.

The company traded under the name “Go Direct”.

Mr Kirby was appointed liquidator of Kleio by the High Court in April 2019.

Accounts

He discovered what he says were large sums passing through corporate bank accounts which were often then transferred immediately or very quickly from those accounts to other parties, in particular to a UK related legal entity.

Mr Kirby is asking the court for statements that the couple were guilty of carrying on business with the intent to defraud or that they knowingly participated in carrying on the business of the business in a reckless manner.

He is also seeking orders, including that they be made personally liable for the company’s debts and that they be disqualified from serving as directors for such period as the court deems appropriate.

While large sums of money flowed through the company’s bank accounts relating to the sale and purchase of high-end cars, there were no books or records to prove that the vehicles had been imported or exported, a said Mr. Kirby. There was a “total absence” from almost every record while they were directors, he says.

The business apparently involved the importation of vehicles from the UK which meant they got zero VAT for UK purposes and used companies that were just incorporated and subsequently disbarred for failing to make statements.

Tax commissioners, Mr Kirby said, carried out audits of the company’s affairs and found serious breaches of tax and customs duties and levied assessments against the company for 2 million euros.

Although the Sherlocks appealed the assessment, they never substantiated their appeal, he says.

Mr Kirby says one of the Sherlocks’ main claims is that they were replaced as managers in 2018 by a man based outside Birmingham in England.

Mr. Kirby doesn’t think that claim can stand up to scrutiny, including the fact that the company effectively went out of business when she quit.

Contact

Although Mr. Kirby claims that this man in England eventually made contact with him (Mr. Kirby), based on the available evidence there was no evidence that this man was involved in the business.

Similarly, a second man in the UK who had supposedly replaced them as director but denied having even heard of the company also had no involvement, Mr Kirby said.

While the company was first incorporated in March 2012 with a primary business of renting demolition/construction equipment and registered in the names of other people, it was clear that it did little or no business. exchanges before the Sherlocks took over as administrators in May 2015, the liquidator says.

Prior to the use of ‘Go Direct’ (via the godirect-cars.com website), the Sherlocks negotiated through another company called Autovillage Sales and Maintenance Ltd, currently in receivership, until their resignation from Autovillage in 2015.

Mr Kirby says they were replaced as Autovillage trustees in December 2015 by two UK trustees, one of whom called Nicholas Vladimir Gligic, who the liquidator says was the ‘controlling mind’ behind a UK registered company called Rioni Ltd.

A UK Revenue and Customs investigation in 2007 revealed that Rioni played a key role in a sophisticated intra-EU ‘missing trader’ VAT fraud following which Rioni was refused a claim in the UK United input tax on the purchase of mobile phones and other electronic components for 22 million euros.

The UK tax authorities’ findings about Rioni “extremely closely resemble” the facts of the Kleio case, Mr Kirby said.

The case was admitted to fast-track commercial court on Monday by Judge Denis McDonald who rejected arguments on behalf of the Sherlocks’ lawyer that it was not a commercial court case or that he should wait for the outcome of their tax appeal. The case returns in April.

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