WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on the latest twist in the tale of the tax-avoiding businessman councillor for Purley
The council’s lawyers have been asked to examine whether a Conservative councillor was ineligible to stand for election.
Badsha Quadir has been a councillor for Purley since 2010, having been nominated as a candidate by Croydon Tories soon after he’d generously donated a total of £12,000 to local party funds. In 2013, they even made Quadir the borough’s deputy mayor.
Yet businesses run by Quadir have over the past decade left debts amounting to at least £290,000.
Included in that amount is some unpaid bills owed to Croydon Council by a business which folded in 2008, and of which Quadir had been a director.
Katharine Street sources have told Inside Croydon that the Borough Solicitor has been asked to examine whether those debts might be enough to disqualify him from holding elected office, or should have prevented him from ever being put forward as a candidate.
According to sources at Croydon Tories’ Purley HQ, the extent of the debts left by companies associated with Quadir’s restaurant businesses were unknown to them until Inside Croydon’s report last month.
The Inside Croydon report has created considerable embarrassment among Croydon Tories, because cricket fan Quadir was recently named as the deputy spokesman on sport for the Town Hall’s opposition group. Had they known that businesses associated with Quadir have been bowling googlies to the taxman for a decade – with five limited companies associated with his two south London restaurants having been folded with accumulated debts of at least £290,000 – he may never have even been selected as a candidate.
“Had we had such information, there could have been a different outcome,” one source said today.
Most of the money was owed to HMRC in unpaid PAYE and VAT, but when Vanmarsh Ltd was dissolved in April 2008 and Croydon Caterers Ltd folded two years later, among their creditors was… Croydon Council.
Councillors are not allowed to vote at the Town Hall on tax-raising matters if they owe their local authority even a penny.
In the eight years that Quadir has been a councillor, happily trousering £11,000-plus per year in Council Tax-funded allowances, he has never once reclused himself from a vote on such grounds. He may claim that when the companies involved folded, he was not a director.
Not that he has distanced himself from the businesses too much. Quadir is often referred to by the local press as the restaurants’ owner. On the council’s website, Quadir’s declarations of interest show him to be an employee of Royal Tandoori Restaurants.
And the restaurants continue to trade. One, the Royal Tandoori in Selsdon, recently won a prize in the London Curry Awards. That accolade came just weeks after the company which operated it, Selsdon Cross Ltd, became the latest to opt for voluntary liquidation, leaving its creditors owed £85,000 in unpaid bills and taxes.
Badsha Quadir was not a director of that company, nor is he a director of its replacement, RT Dining Ltd, which was swiftly registered on April 6 this year. Indeed, Quadir does not appear in Companies House records as a director since 2008. Instead, Quadir’s son, Areeb, fronts RT Dining.
Badsha must be making plenty in tips in his job at the restaurants. As well as putting one of his sons through an £18,000 per year fee-paying school, while the various companies were being folded and leaving their creditors out of pocket, Quadir’s family managed to move to a four-bed home on the exclusive Woodcote Village estate where entry level houses sell for a cool £1million.
And up to 2010, he was never short of a bob or two that he couldn’t make his generous political donations.
Quadir is represented by a Bloomsbury Square firm called Nath Solicitors (seriously). When Inside Croydon contacted the councillor last month, he got his lawyers to respond, saying, “Our client takes these matters very seriously and denies any suggestions of wrongdoing.”
Now, Croydon’s Borough Solicitor might have an opinion on whether that is the case.
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