Judge orders former scrap director to pay £2.5m to liquidators

A judge has ordered the director of a now dissolved scrap metal company to pay £2,575,296 following a case brought against him by his company’s liquidators.

Mr Nicholas Crabb, the respondent, was director of Courtside Recycling, which was incorporated in February 2014 and then wound up compulsorily on in May 2018 on a petition presented by HMRC.

The company’s liquidators who brought the case were named as Mr Dominik Thiel-Czerwinke and Mr Jamie Taylor.

They accused Mr Crabb, among other things, of intentionally engaging in deceptive practices, underreporting VAT and extracting cash without benefiting the company.

Following the case in November 2023, International Criminal Court Judge Prentis found in favour of the liquidators and ordered Mr Crabb to pay £2,575,296 across three claims.


The first claim was that the respondent intentionally engaged in deceptive practices. This included underreporting VAT, extracting cash without benefiting the company, and destroying records with the intent to defraud creditors, particularly HMRC.

The ruling explained that Mr Crabb argued that he had no intention of causing Courtside to file what were false VAT returns but was operating a ‘margin scheme’ for VAT alongside standard VAT, but actually “he now recognised that the figures he had provided were themselves mis-calculated such that they did not comply with any margin scheme and actually presented a standard-VAT position”.

However, the judge described Mr Crabb’s evidence as “manipulative and given with no regard for the truth”.

The judge ruled Mr Crabb liable to pay £2,547,370, seeking to recover the company’s assets.

The second claim asserted that the respondent’s actions mentioned in the first claim amounted to misfeasance [wrongful exercise of lawful authority]. The judge held Mr. Crabb liable for £15,500, justifying legal action for wrongful or improper conduct.

The third claim contended that the respondent caused the company to make void payments totalling £28,426.61 to himself and third parties after the winding-up petition. The judge ruled these payments are deemed void and Mr Crabb is liable to repay sums received and contribute £12,926 to the company.


The lawyers of the liquidators, Radcliffe Chambers posted a court summary to its website which says: “The judgment sheds light on the approach of the court to the issue of quantum* and the burden of proof where the company’s records have been deliberately destroyed by the director.”

*Quantum is the measure by which the law values your loss.

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