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PHANTOM MENACE! Investigators feared firm was front for fraud.

Byline: By HENRYK ZIENTEK and SAM CASEY News Reporters

INVESTIGATORS have shut down a phantom Huddersfield company amid fears it was being used as a front for fraudsters.

Worldwide Surplus Supplies, supposedly based at Close Hill Lane, Newsome, was compulsorily wound up by the High Court in London after a confidential probe.

The Companies Investigation Branch (CIB) of the Insolvency Service found that the company, which claimed to trade in waste metal, never carried out any work.

Investigators went to the courts with concerns the firm was only set up to try to swindle money out of financial organisations.

A spokesman said: "There's no evidence they ever traded a single piece of waste or scrap material.

They don't appear to have traded at all.

"They seem to have been using the company to try to get credit.

The company officers tried time and time again to seek credit from various financial institutions, and that's what we brought to the court."

According to business records, the company was set up in April, 1989, in Close Hill Lane.

It later listed addresses at tion Street, Meltham, and Green Mount in Moldgreen.

Its last address was a semi-detached house in Close Hill Lane.

The property is now occupied by a tenant not involved in this investigation.

The Examiner was unable to contact anyone connected with the company yesterday.

The CIB spokesman added that assets claimed to be owned by the company were non-existent.

He added: "They said they had vehicles that carry waste, but there's nothing there.

"In usual circumstances we work on the basis that somebody will contact us and say they have suspicions about a certain company.

"In this particular case Government and non-governmental agencies have taken it on themselves to monitor the situation.

"They then contacted us and said there seems to be something suspicious about this company and we should monitor them.

"The company appears to have tried to exploit people's concerns about the environment to try to claim credit."

Despite repeated attempts, the CIB was unable to contact any of the company officials at any point during the entire 17-month investigation.

It found there was a "general lack of transparency," statutory documents were filed late or never and often contained mistakes and financial records were missing.

Officials said if the company remained on the register there was a danger it could be resurrected by fraudsters in future.

The winding-up petition was presented to the court last month. The company was compulsorily wound up on Wednesday.

The CIB spokesman said there were no known victims of the company.

But he added: "It could lead to prosecutions in future if we were able to track down the directors and establish any criminal behaviour."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2008
Words:464
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