A LONG TIME AGO, IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY    

THE REBEL ALLIANCE SECURED A FAMOUS VICTORY    

BLASTING THE DEATH STAR OUT OF THE SKY    

WITH MOMENTS TO SPARE              

BUT THEIR ACTIONS CAME AT A PRICE...              

EMPIRE CONTRACTS CONTAIN A NON-PAYMENT CLAUSE    

ALLOWING PAYMENT TO BE WITHHELD    

IN THE EVENT OF REBEL ACTION

    IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT    

DARTH VADER'S FORMER HOME    

CAME TO BE KNOWN AS THE DEBT STAR   

A publicly accessible database of company directorships could soon become a reality, following the conclusion of a consultation by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The proposals outline plans for a central registry of company beneficial ownership information - including details of trustees, where relevant, and of individuals with ownership of more than 25% of the shares in a company, or the equivalent proportion of its voting rights.

Recently we featured an article on an individual called Phillip Buffett and his "Uber Intelligence" group of companies. This individual came to our attention when we were tasked by two freelancers to pursue unpaid invoices totalling over £10k.

It soon became apparent to us that the individual in question was a known fraudster, with a history of criminality and a penchant for defrauding individuals, businesses and even professional athletes.  He was also already serving a seven year ban as a director for his previous frauds.

Unless you have the luxury of an in-house credit controller - which is something even some larger firms can't afford - you might be tempted to take a head-in-the-sand approach to chasing overdue invoices, and simply try to pretend they never happen.

Sadly they do happen, even from trusted long-term customers, and that can lead in turn to some soul-searching: Why didn't they pay? Did I do something wrong? Is there no trust in business any more?

Many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are effectively being forced to loan money to large firms interest-free, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

In one of a pair of landmark reports issued since the beginning of the year, the FSB warns that late payments and unreasonable renegotiation of payment terms is taking money out of the hands of SMEs, and allowing it to languish for longer in the accounts of the nation's largest corporations.

Many SMEs are aware of the importance of a 'level playing field' when it comes to prompt payments - including the right to be paid on time by big brands, without them using their clout to negotiate longer terms, or their complexity as an excuse for failing to pay at all.

But when you start trading across borders, things can very quickly become even more complicated, because in other countries, even small business clients might be used to significantly different payment terms than they would be in the UK.

The OFT has refused to renew the consumer credit licences of debt purchaser HFO Capital Limited, and two associated debt collectors, HFO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Limited.

Back in March of 2013 we ran an article called "Dodgy Debt Collection Agencies Liquidated" that featured the story of how the Insolvency Service had liquidated two companies run by a Mr Stuart Paul Cooper of Topping Street, Blackpool.

Then it all went quiet and we heard no mention of the name Stuart Paul Cooper until an eagle eyed reader contacted us this week.  They informed us that the infamous Mr Stuart Paul Cooper is now serving a three year jail sentence for fraud. So what happened?

It's good to know that, when a dodgy dealer makes off with client money and there's no record of where it's gone, they will face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

New figures from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills show that the BIS Criminal Enforcement Team achieved 198 successful prosecutions in the 2012-13 financial year.

Following on from part one "Going Dutch: Contractor Debt Recovery in the Netherlands" we speak to Alex Tucker, the contractor who found himself at loggerheads with the Dutch agency and find out more about what brought him to this point.

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