ONE of a string of failed companies which ran three Hampshire pubs is likely to be dissolved with no money for the creditors owed an estimated £665,000.

Candy Experience Limited operated three New Forest venues as well as cafe bars in Dorset and Surrey.

Its director, Paul Podvoiskis, was banned earlier this year from being a company director for a five-year period ending in October 2023.

Candy Experience, previously called 8 Rivers Bars Limited, was one of a succession of companies which ran the Old Beams at Ibsley, near Ringwood, the Sir John Barleycorn at Cadnam and the Hobbler Inn at Lymington, all now under new management, as well as the defunct Alcatraz cafe bars in Bournemouth, Poole and Camberley.

Brothers Shahab, Shahin and Heedayat Hashtroudi were directors of several firms 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 directors of Candy Experience until September 2014.

Mr Podvoiskis, of Sherbourne in Warwickshire, was sole director of Candy experience from September 2014. The company went into liquidation in June 2016.

The Insolvency Service found the company had failed to submit monthly VAT returns from August 2015 onwards. It had paid more than £3.8million into its bank account in the period involved, but only paid £115,000 to the tax authorities and £1,153 in business rates. The remaining £3.68m went to trade creditors, wages and other costs – including more than £779,000 to a connected company.

Joint administrator Stephen Hobson, of Francis Clark LLP, said in his latest report that he had previously identified “various transactions with associates of the company which may be challengeable”, but those associates had refused a meeting.

He said HMRC had last year obtained a Proceeds of Crime Act order over the assets of those associates, which related to unpaid taxes from Candy Experience and “previous versions of the business”. He was in the process of finding out whether the order would cover the personal assets of those individuals, which would affect the prospect of recovering money for other creditors.

“I considered whether I could pursue the director of the company for misfeasance in allowing the transactions to take place but having received a sworn affidavit from the director explaining that he does not have sufficient assets to pay any claim, it is clear that this is not a matter worth pursuing,” Mr Hobson wrote.

Mr Hobson said there were no secured creditors or preferential creditors, but he had received claims totalling £567,418 from 17 unsecured creditors.

He had yet to receive claims from 21 creditors who were thought to be owed a total of £98,010.

“It is anticipated there will be insufficient funds realised after defraying the expenses of the liquidation to pay a dividend to unsecured creditors,” he added.