A TAX-dodging restaurateur has been banned from senior company roles for five years after hiding his business's true takings.

Sadikur Rahman Chowdhury, aged 50, was the director of Simla Tandoori Ltd, trading as Simla Tandoori in West Street, Blandford.

The restaurant entered liquidation in August 2019, which triggered an investigation by the insolvency service into Chowdhury’s conduct.

Investigators uncovered that the business traded without issue until June 2008, when it was discovered that Chowdhury had caused the restaurant to submit inaccurate returns to the tax authorities.

Enquiries established he owed more than £48,000 in VAT and nearly £113,000 in corporation tax from 2009 to 2017.

It was found that Chowdhury had under-declared sales to avoid paying the correct taxes and, at liquidation, owed the tax authorities more than £266,000.

An additional penalty of more than £104,000 was levied by the tax authorities for the under declaration of corporation tax.

The restaurant has since changed hands and is now run by a different business.

Chowdhury's brother Azizur Rahman is the chef there and his wife Sabina is the owner. They say they are "disappointed" with Chowdhury's conduct and stress that he no longer has anything to do with the business.

On January 13, 2021, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted an undertaking from Chowdhury banning him for five years, after the director did not dispute he failed to ensure Simla Restaurant Limited had submitted accurate VAT returns from June 2008 and corporation tax returns from October 2009.

The disqualification commenced on February 3 and means he is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Lawrence Zussman, deputy director of insolvent investigations at the insolvency service, said: “Sadikur Rahman Chowdhury suppressed the takings of his restaurant for almost eight years so that he could avoid paying the correct taxes.

“His actions meant the public purse was deprived of the funds he should have been paying whilst benefitting from years of good sales.

"The insolvency service will not tolerate behaviour such as demonstrated by Sadikur Chowdhury and we have removed him from the business environment for five years.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rahman, aged 60, said he and his family are "stronger and more united" after the stress caused by his brother Chowdhury, of Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

He said: "He doesn't have anything to do with the business anymore.

"During the pandemic life has been hard, but we're doing everything we can to keep the business open.

"I'm disappointed with what happened because my brother had been working in Blandford for 25 years."

He added: "Our priority is to get the reputation of this proud business back by keeping it on the straight and narrow. We're working hard together as a family."

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