The owner of an Indian restaurant in Wales has been placed under nine-year bankruptcy restrictions after reportedly spending most of the taxpayer support from a COVID fund on drinking and gambling.
Rathudi Mahesh Manglanand, 47, was a sole trader who ran the Chutney Roti Indian Restaurant in Cardiff. According to the UK’s Insolvency Service, the restaurant had already ceased trading prior to the beginning of the pandemic and was therefore not eligible for COVID-19 financial assistance schemes.
However, in April 2020 Manglanand applied for a GBP 25,000 grant from his local council and the following month he applied for a GBP 18,000 Bounce Back Loan.
The restaurateur subsequently applied for his own bankruptcy in July 2021 at which point the Insolvency Service began investigating and uncovered “misuse” of the COVID-19 financial support schemes.
“The COVID-19 support schemes generously provided taxpayer money to support genuine businesses and anyone who abused those schemes should expect to be caught and punished,” said Gavin Seymour, Deputy Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service.
Manglanand accepted that his business had already ceased trading and told investigators that he had been drinking heavily and “was not thinking straight”. He estimated he had lost around GBP 30,000 through gambling in the space of a year.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, accepted nine-year bankruptcy restrictions undertaking from the businessman, which commences on 20 June 2022.
The Insolvency Service said in their capacity as Rathudi Manglanand’s trustee in bankruptcy, the Official Receiver is assessing assets available in order to recover the COVID-19 support funding.
Bankruptcy restrictions in the UK are wide-ranging, with similar effects to an undertaking which imposes limits on the business activities of an individual for the duration of the restrictions.