Eight former directors of collapsed construction giant Carillion face being banned from future corporate directorships after the government launched disqualification proceedings against them, the Insolvency Service announced.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the new business secretary, has decided disqualification would be in the public interest after the construction and outsourcing company collapsed in January 2018 with debts of £1.5bn.
The high-profile corporate meltdown resulted in thousands of job losses and left hundreds of suppliers and creditors with unpaid invoices.
Construction of two new hospitals Carillion worked on was also delayed for years, the National Audit Office reported.
“We can confirm that on 12 January the secretary of state issued company director disqualification proceedings in the public interest against eight directors and former directors of Carillion,” an Insolvency Service spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.
The proceedings will name Richard Adam, Richard Howson, Zafar Khan, Keith Cochrane, Andrew Dougal, Phillip Green, Alison Horner and Ceri Powell, it is understood.
The Unite union said the move should have been made much sooner.
Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Carillion’s collapse was not a victimless white-collar crime as thousands of workers lost their jobs.
“If executives and directors had reported honestly on Carillion’s financial predicament, many of those job losses could have been avoided.
“We would like to see those responsible for the Carillion debacle to be charged and appear in court. Without a doubt Carillion had been trading while insolvent for some time before its collapse.
“The events behind the Carillion collapse demonstrated everything that is wrong with corporate law in the UK – a failure to act before a company collapses and very slow investigations.
“The business secretary has injected a much-needed impetus into the Carillion affair, but needs to cast his net wider to clean up the culture of ‘bandit capitalism’ across the UK corporate environment with a strong system of regulation and enforcement.”