Lengthy director ban for Covid loan abuse boss

A construction boss who “blatantly” abused a Covid-period financial support scheme has been hit with a 10-year director ban.

Marcel Ion, a 39-year-old from Bromley in South London, now needs court consent to promote, form or manage a company until 1 May 2034, the Insolvency Service announced yesterday.

In June 2020, with many pandemic restrictions still in place across the country, Ion applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan for his company, Mavion Group.

He stated at the time that the firm turned over £205,410 in 2019, enabling him to claim the maximum amount available under the government scheme.

Mavion went into liquidation in August 2022, owing more than £180,000, including the full amount of the loan.

This triggered an Insolvency Service investigation, which found that the Dagenham-registered company actually had revenue of £82,900 in 2019.

The Insolvency Service also said that five days after the Bounce Back Loan entered the company’s bank account in July 2020, Ion began to move money into his personal account.

More than £35,360 was transferred in this way by the end of April 2021, it added. Investigators said they found no evidence that these payments were for the economic benefit of the company, as required by the terms of the loan.

Lawrence Zussman, deputy head of company investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Marcel Ion blatantly took advantage of a government scheme to support businesses when they were facing huge challenges posed by the pandemic.

“His lengthy ban shows the Insolvency Service will pursue those who seek to abuse taxpayers’ money and remove them from the business arena.”

The abuse of Covid-support loan schemes is a recognised problem. In one three-month period last year, construction company directors were issued with 227 years’ worth of bans for Covid loan abuse.

Construction News also reported in February that a self-employed construction contractor who fraudulently obtained a £20,000 loan had been ordered to pay back half the amount.

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