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Business: Crime

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what maximum penalties are applicable for (a) conspiracy to defraud creditors, (b) fraudulent trading, (c) preferential treatment of creditors and (d) failure to file statutory company accounts and returns within the period set down by law. (206091)

The information is as follows:

(a) The current maximum penalty for conspiracy to defraud is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or a fine or both.

(b) The current maximum penalty for fraudulent trading in respect of a company is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or a fine or both. The current maximum penalty for participating in fraudulent business carried on by a sole trader is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or a fine or both.

(c) Preferring one creditor to the general body of creditors is not a criminal offence. However, it may give rise to civil remedies that can be taken by a trustee or liquidator against the recipient of the preference, for the benefit of the general body of creditors.

(d) The maximum fine for failing to file accounts and/or annual returns for limited and public limited companies with Companies House within the period set down by law is £5,000 per offence.

The penalties for late delivery of accounts only are:

£

Private

Plc

3 months or less

100

500

3 months and a day to 6 months

250

l,000

6 months and a day to 12 months

500

2,000

More than 12 months

1,000

5,000