Controversial cold-calling boss of Elland firm hit with 12 year disqualification

Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott

A director of a cold-calling company based in Elland that went into liquidation has been handed a 12 year disqualification by the Insolvency Service.

Tony Abbott was a director of Reactiv Media Ltd, a marketing company which made unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes and stated it owned and maintained one of the largest databases for UK consumers, being able to target campaigns for various entities from sole traders’ to blue-chip organisations.

The company went into liquidation on 8 April 2016 with estimated creditor claims totalling over £2 million.

Mr Abbott has not disputed that he had failed to ensure that Reactiv Media:

- Provided accurate information in a Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership grant application, leading to an unmerited payment of over £33,000

- Complied with its responsibilities under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 and The Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2014, leading to an unpaid penalty of £75,000 and cancellation of authorisation to provide claims management services.

- Did not trade to the unreasonable risk and ultimate detriment of HM Revenue & Customs and to his benefit, while it was insolvent

Speaking on the disqualification, David Brooks, Group Leader at The Insolvency Service, said: "There are three distinct allegations underpinning this disqualification.

"As a whole, they show a director who flagrantly breached his duties to regulators and company creditors over an extended period. The privilege of limited liability status should be removed from such individuals.

"Facts of this case, which were particularly disquieting, were the £252,071 of personal spending on deposits for two houses in the very month that the unjustified grant funds were given to the company, and the nature of some of the £177,664 of identified personal benefits taken from 1 September 2015: This included at least £55,000 spent on jewellery and Mr Abbott’s wedding."

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot act as a director of a company, take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership or be a receiver of a company’s property

Andy Curry, ICO Enforcement Group Manager said: "This latest disqualification of a company director is another welcome step towards stopping the scourge of nuisance calls.

"The ICO has made it clear we’re committed to recovering the fines we issue on behalf of taxpayers and those millions of people who have been hounded by unwanted calls.

"If the fine remains unpaid we work with the Insolvency Service to pursue all the options.

"We are pleased this person can’t run or be involved in the management of another company which has the potential to make nuisance calls to members of the public."