Unique’s parent company probed

Unique’s parent company probed

Unique Distribution’s parent company is being investigated by tax chiefs.

Rumours have been rife in the mobile industry that Hayes-based Unique is in danger of going out of business.

But, in an interview with Mobile, CEO Andy Tow vehemently denied speculation about the future of the business, dismissing it as being untrue.

However Tow did reveal that the major shareholder of Unique’s parent company, Innovative Global Business Group Ltd is under investigation from HM Revenue and Customs.

Tow said a court order has been made against the majority shareholder to prevent him from selling his share of the company.

‘What exactly he’s accused of, I don’t know,’ Tow said.

Accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott, which Mobile understands has been placed in charge of the business, declined to comment.

Tow said that the investigation would not impinge on Unique’s own operations.

But he confirmed that Unique is itself the subject of an investigation by HMRC over withheld payment of £27m concerning deals made by the previous regime in charge of Unique in 2005.

Mobile spoke to several suppliers who said they now only deal with Unique strictly on a cash basis due to the VAT issue.

Tow said: ‘It makes no difference to operations. It’s an accounting issue, it doesn’t affect the day to day operations in any way.’

Since HMRC introduced tougher VAT rules in 2006 a number of distributors have had VAT payments withheld.

Tax lawyer Martin O’Neill a senior consultant with Vantis solicitors estimated that the money owed to mobile distributors could be in the ‘high hundreds of millions’.

Tow added that Unique was far from going into administration, and had in fact signed an exclusive deal with Game yesterday to supply the computer firm with Nokia handsets.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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