THE former owner of The Convent hotel and live music venue in South Woodchester has been handed a nine-year-ban on holding a directorship in a company.
Matt Roberts, 50, appeared at the High Court on July 9, where he was disqualified from acting as a company director after failing to properly invest over £4.9million worth of investments.
This means he is restricted from accessing credit and cannot act as a company director without the permission of the court.
Roberts, together with his wife Charlotte, bought the Grade II listed former Convent of Poor Clares for around £1.75 million in 2013.
They ran it as an exclusive live music venue and hotel until March 2017.
Roberts has since changed his name to August Richard Templar and is now based in Salcombe in Devon.
He was handed the ban for allowing two property companies to trade with ‘a lack of commercial probity’.
During the proceedings, the court heard that in August 2017 the High Court wound up the two companies, following a petition by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Official Receiver was appointed liquidator and following further enquiries it was uncovered that Roberts was the director of several investment companies, including the two property firms.
From 2013 to 2015, Roberts targeted high net-worth individuals and ‘sophisticated investors’, promising their investments would develop part of an entertainment complex at The Convent which would include a hotel, music venue, members club and spa.
Investors were told this funding would be used to buy properties at the Convent, when in fact a large portion of it was transferred to an unconnected company, and £300,000 was paid for the benefit of a third person connected to Roberts.
John Matthews, the assistant official receiver, said: “Matthew Roberts used the two property companies as vehicles to raise millions of pounds that was claimed to be for the purchase of specified properties as part of a grand re-development project.
“The money raised, however, was not used for that specific purpose and this meant the investors did not have the security that they had been promised.
“Nine years is a significant period to be removed from the corporate arena and should serve as a warning to other directors operating investment schemes that you could be disqualified for several years.”