THE boss of a company that ran a string of cafes and restaurants has been banned after failing to hand over more than £470,000 to the tax authorities.

Paul Anthony Podvoiskis, 68, was a director of Candy Experience Limited – one of a succession of companies which ran the Alcatraz Bar and Brasserie in Bournemouth and Poole before collapsing.

Candy Experience, previously called 8 Rivers Bars Limited, also ran the Old Beams at Ibsley, near Ringwood, the Sir John Barleycorn at Cadnam and the Hobbler Inn at Lymington, as well as another Alcatraz in Camberley, Surrey.

Mr Podvoiskis, of Sherbourne in Warwickshire, was given a five-year disqualification order at London’s High Court. He is banned from being a director, or becoming involved with forming or managing a company, without the permission of the court.

The hearing heard that Candy Experience Limited was incorporated in February 2012 and Mr Podvoiskis was a director from July 2014, becoming sole director that September.

The company went into liquidation in June 2016, bringing Candy Experience to the attention of the Insolvency Service.

Investigators found the company failed to submit monthly VAT returns between August 2015 and its liquidation.

It also owed PAYE and National Insurance dating back to the 2014/15 tax year and had failed to settle its tax liabilities. The tax authorities’ claim at the point of liquidation was more than £470,000, which is still unpaid.

Bank records showed the company had paid more than £3.8million into its account over the period involved, but paid only £115,000 to the tax authorities and £1,153 to local authorities in business rates.

The remaining £3.68m was used to pay trade creditors, wages and other cost – including more than £779,000 to a connected company.

Mr Podvoiskis’ ban will end on October 8, 2023, taking into account a previous undertaking he accepted at a hearing in 2018. The judge awarded costs in the region of £47,000.

Lawrence Zussman, deputy head of insolvent investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: “Clearly, as is the case here, Paul Podvoiskis failed to take his responsibilities as a director seriously and caused the company to fail to pay a substantial tax bill.

“Much of the public service is funded by the correct amount of taxes being paid and we will continue to investigate and target those directors who fail to comply with their statutory obligations.”

Candy Experience was one of several companies which ran the Alcatraz sites, which closed last year, as well as other venues.

Brothers Shahab, Shahin and Heedayat Hashtroudi were directors of several companies which operated the venues and were jailed for between four and six years in 2019 for stealing £3million in a complex tax fraud.

Shahab and Hedayat Hashtroudi were also directors of Candy Experience until September 2014.

For Sale: popular Italian restaurants up for grabs as operator goes into liquidation

Alcatraz Caffe has closed for good

Candy Experience was the venues’ third operator in as many years when it went into liquidation in 2016. The sites were taken over by Tomtato Tree, which did not have any directors in common with the other companies. It went into liquidation in 2018.