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Property directors banned for 25 years after investment scam

Two property directors have been banned from holding company office for a total of 25 years after abusing £7.7m taken from investors for student accommodation that was never completed.

A statement from the Insolvency Service says Sanjiv Varma and Jonathan England were directors of property firm Grosvenor Property Developers Ltd. 

The company sold student accommodation in Bristol off-plan and collected more than £7.7m from investors between February 2017 and January 2018.


The student accommodation, however, was never completed by Grosvenor Property Developments and investors applied for the liquidation of the company in November 2018.

Grosvenor Property Developers was wound-up in court in late 2018 and the Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator, which triggered investigations into the conduct of the directors.

The Insolvency Service says funds were diverted into accounts belonging to or companies connected to Sanjiv Varma: some £3.1m was paid to another company in Dubai also owned by the director.

Varma used at least £1.3million to fund travel, gifts and designer clothing.

Investigators also found that planning permission was never even applied for and titles to the property were never acquired by Grosvenor Property Developers.

Varma has been banned as a company director for 13 years, while Jonathan England has been disqualified for 12 years.

The Insolvency Service says: “In their undertakings to the Secretary of State, the directors did not dispute that they caused and/or allowed Grosvenor Property Developers Ltd to misappropriate investor deposits of more than £6.5m.”

Karen Maxwell, deputy chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, says: “Sanjiv Varma and Jonathan England fabricated an extensive renovation project to create student accommodation in Bristol, taking large deposits from investors with the promise of a high quality asset.

“Instead, Sanjiv Varma took millions from the company and Jonathan England did nothing to stop his co-director from spending their funds on international flights and designer clothing. Both have now been disqualified as company directors for a significant time period.”

  • Colin Bain

    Jail ? Or does that not matter any longer in the UK

  • Martin Moston

    In agreement... if they walked into a bank and robbed £7.7 million it would be headline news and they would go to jail for a long time, Hardly a deterrent is it? Slap on wrist

  • Matthew Fine

    Looks like Sanjiv has got 21 months care of HMP for eight counts of contempt of court. Always thought he was dodgy

    • 31 March 2021 10:08 AM

    Make them pay it all back, even if it takes the rest of their lives? Even better than gaol.
    And why are they allowed after 25 years to go back and do the same thing?

    The judiciary is just so far out of touch. Ridiculous and unfar.


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