car wash loan abuse

Vasile Matcas, from Haverhill in Suffolk, has been disqualified as a company director for 10 years after claiming government-backed Covid support money to which his business was not entitled.

Matcas was the sole director of Matcas Ltd, which was incorporated in 2016 and initially traded as a construction and cleaning company until the Covid-19 pandemic affected trade, when Matcas pivoted the firm to operate as a hand car wash.

In June 2020 Matcas applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan to support the transition of the business, based on Matcas Ltd’s 2019 turnover, which he stated as £280,000.

Bounce Back Loans were a government scheme to help support businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the rules of the scheme, companies could apply for loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to a maximum of 25% of their turnover for 2019.

The company received the maximum loan amount, and began trading as The Pavilions Car Wash, in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. But the car wash folded and Matcas Ltd went into liquidation in July 2021, owing more than £50,400, including the full amount of the loan, and triggering an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Investigators discovered that Matcas Ltd’s actual turnover in 2019 had been around £49,200, and that Matcas had exaggerated the figure by more than five times to receive the maximum amount from the Bounce Back Loan scheme. The company should have been entitled to a loan of around £12,300 based on its true turnover.

The Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Vasile Matcas after he did not dispute that he had caused Matcas Ltd to obtain a Bounce Back Loan in excess of the amount allowed by the loan scheme.

Matcas was banned for 10 years, beginning on November 14, 2022. His disqualification prevents him from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

Nina Cassar, deputy head of investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “The Bounce Back Loan Scheme was set up to support businesses in genuine need during the Covid-19 pandemic. Vasile Matcas used the loan to start up a new business and gained an unfair advantage by applying for a loan in excess of what was entitled. Matcas’ lengthy ban should serve as a warning to others that the Insolvency Service will act to tackle financial wrongdoing.”