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A company director, who had already been banned for seven years, has now been given a further 11-year disqualification after he reappointed himself to his former role.

Derek Milligan, 40, from Sunderland was the sole director of DMNE Limited and of Dockyard Sunderland. He had failed to provide any accounting records for DMNE and the Insolvency Service began an investigation into his activities. He was found to be in breach of his statutory duties as a director and after a creditor issued a winding-up petition, Milligan was declared bankrupt and also resigned as director of Dockyard Sunderland.

Meanwhile, in September 2015, Milligan was issued a seven-year disqualification that prevented him from acting as a director from October 2015 to October 2022.

Bid to change names fails

However, Milligan chose to ignore this and in July 2017, he appointed himself a director of Dockyard Sunderland, which was renamed as HCA Litigation. Milligan also changed the spelling of his first name to Derrick. He had not sought the approval of the court to become a director as would have been required. Milligan signed the company’s 2017 accounts and these were filed at Companies House.

Some months later, Sunderland City Council found the company had absconded from its trading premises and failed to pay rent, for which another winding-up order was issued in May 2018. There was another Insolvency Service investigation and in September 2021, Newcastle County Court disqualified Milligan for a further 11 years. 

The order prevents him from being directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation, or management of a company without the permission of the court.

Rob Clarke, the chief investigator of the Insolvency Service, said: “Derek Milligan knew the restrictions he was under when he agreed to a disqualification undertaking. He couldn’t be a director or be involved in managing a company without the court’s approval. Yet he still re-appointed himself.

“It’s imperative that companies’ dealings are transparent, so other businesses know exactly who is managing the company. Anyone trying to hide their involvement will be removed from the corporate arena for a lengthy period and could very possibly face criminal prosecution.”