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A Croydon Conservative councillor, who runs an “award-winning” restaurant, has meanwhile seen five separate companies associated with the business put into administration over the past decade. Between them, the companies owed hundreds of thousands of pounds to creditors, including local small traders, as well as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Croydon Council.

By an astonishing coincidence, soon after generously bunging all that money to the local Tories, Quadir was selected as a candidate at the 2010 local elections in the safe Conservative ward of Purley. Duly elected, in 2013, Quadir was the Tories’ choice to be Croydon’s deputy mayor.

And this month, Quadir was elected again as Conservative councillor for the re-jigged Purley and Woodcote ward. At the Town Hall last night, Quadir was named as Croydon Tories’ leader Tim Pollard’s choice as deputy shadow cabinet member for culture and sport. It could prove an astute choice: since 2008, Quadir’s businesses have performed tax avoidance to an Olympic level. Public records from Companies House show that five companies behind the restaurants linked to Quadir – the Royal Tandoori on Addington Road, Selsdon, and on Godstone Road, Whyteleafe – folded owing significant sums, mostly to HMRC.

The latest instance saw a company folded in March this year owing £54,711.96 in unpaid PAYE, VAT, National Insurance and Corporation Tax. The company’s total debts came to £85,268.21, with very little prospect of the creditors getting back the money they are owed. Quadir’s restaurants, meanwhile, continue to trade.

There is no suggestion that what Quadir has done with any of his businesses is illegal. However, the ethics of folding a company to avoid paying creditors is highly questionable. The practice of repeatedly folding companies to avoid paying bills, and then setting up again under a new trading name shortly afterwards, is often referred to as “phoenixing”.

We asked Chris Philp, the thrustingly entrepreneurial Conservative MP for the area – who last year was pictured on a money-off leaflet for one of Quadir’s curry houses – whether he disapproved of this way of doing business. Philp, after all, has his own interesting business record that he doesn’t like talking about.

The majority of companies that fail don’t do so because of any wrongdoing on the part of the directors, and companies can be dissolved or face financial difficulties for a variety of reasons apart from misconduct. Therefore, English law allows owners, directors and employees of insolvent companies to set up new companies to carry on a similar business as long as the individuals involved aren’t personally bankrupt or disqualified from acting in the management of a limited company.

However, when a company enters liquidation (this is often referred to as “being wound up”), insolvency law restricts who can reuse the company’s registered name and trading names. In general, anyone who was a director in the 12 months before the company went into liquidation is banned from taking part in the management of another business with the same name. This prohibition lasts for five years and also covers names which are so similar they suggest an association with the previous company.

According to Quadir’s declarations of interest with Croydon Council, he owns two properties: one, at Addington Road (possibly the Selsdon tandoori restaurant), and another called The Stocks in Upper Woodcote Village, where four-bedroomed houses have sold in the past year for £1million-plus.

At the start of this month, one of their sons, Areeb Quadir, was featured in coverage of the Royal Tandoori’s success at the London Curry Awards, where they won the “Restaurant of the year: south west” award, an achievement described by the Croydon Guardian as “much to the delight of Areeb Quadir, who helps run the restaurant with his father”.

When the Selsdon restaurant was nominated for the London Curry Awards, the Croydon Advertiser described Badsha Quadir as the restaurant owner, quoting him as saying, “I have long-standing dedicated staff who take pride in their work and every success deservedly comes their way.”

Inside Croydon has unearthed evidence of liquidated companies and huge unpaid tax bills, the most recent of which – Selsdon Cross Ltd – was dissolved on March 14 this year, owing creditors £85,000. The sole director of Selsdon Cross when it went into voluntary liquidation, was 23-year-old, Whitgift School-educated Areeb Quadir.

Although Badsha Quadir is reported to be the owner of the restaurants, he hasn’t been a director of any of the companies operating them since 2008. His declarations of interest as a Croydon councillor show the Royal Tandoori restaurants as his employment – suggesting that he is a wage-drawing member of staff.

And while Quadir has not been so generous in cash terms to the local Tories recently, he and his family continue to give generously of their time in aid of their party: Jebun Quadir was a Conservative Party candidate in Labour-held Bensham Manor ward at the latest local elections.

Such loyalty has its rewards, with Badsha Quadir having been nominated to be the Mayor of Croydon if the Tories won the election. And now the “owner” of the award-winning “licensed restaurants” business has been given the onerous task by Croydon Tories’ leader Tim Pollard of serving on… the borough’s licensing committee. Whose bright idea was that?

“Our client welcomes the opportunity to respond,” Nath wrote, “and will do so in due course, however as you will appreciate, particularly given the serious allegations that you have raised including of financial impropriety…”, we made no allegations; just asked some questions, based on Companies House records, but hey ho, “… it will not be possible to respond by your deadline…