Restaurant duo banned for £173k tax avoidance

Two brothers who operated a restaurant in South East London are now banned from acting as directors or becoming involved in a company after they failed to pay £173,000 in taxes.

Since 2007, Carlos and Fernando De La Cruz Vidal owned Santo Limited, a company which traded as the restaurant Santo on Portobello Road, West London. 

However, according to UK authorities the company entered into creditors voluntary liquidation in December 2018 before the brothers’ conduct was referred to the government’s insolvency service for “further enquiries”. 

It was established that Santo Limited was subject to enquiries by the tax authorities in November 2017 after issues were discovered relating to the company’s tax returns.

The tax authorities found that from September 2014 to September 2017 the brothers had suppressed the company’s takings by more than £173,000 and overstated the amount of takings that were non-taxable.

By the time the company had gone into liquidation in December 2018 the tax authorities claimed almost £200,000 in the liquidation. 

As a result of their fraud both brothers now have a six year trading ban. In their undertakings, it was reported the brothers “did not dispute that they caused inaccurate tax returns to be submitted to the tax authorities by suppressing their sales income”. 

Lawrence Zussman, deputy head of insolvent investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Customers have a right to expect that the tax they pay on their food is given to the tax authorities.”

“Instead, Carlos and Fernando De La Cruz Vidal substantially under declared the tax due and in doing so both failed to take their responsibilities as directors seriously.”

He added: “Carlos and Fernando have now been removed from the business environment for six years and these bans should further serve as a warning to other directors that if you do not pay the correct taxes you run the serious risk of being disqualified.”

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