The former boss of Transtec has been banned from being a company director - just months after being cleared of involvement in the dramatic collapse of the company.
Richard Carr, of Snitterfield Road, Bearley, Warwickshire, who resigned as the Midland engineering company's chief executive in December 1999 - shortly before debt-laden TransTec collapsed into receivership - was acquitted by a criminal court in March.
However, Mr Justice David Richards, after a civil hearing at London's High Court, yesterday ruled he had been guilty of "deliberate wrongdoing" in the company's management and banned him from holding company directorships for nine-and-a-half years.
TransTec, the judge said, was originally formed in 1991 by a combination of companies controlled by the late media tycoon, Robert Maxwell, and a company owned and run by Coventry North-west MP and former Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson, who resigned in May 1997 after his a ppointment to the Government.
Mr Carr, a chartered accountant who was recruited as chief executive in 1994, continued the expansion of the group, building up its automotive components and other businesses, with both Ford and Rover as major customers.
But, by the end of 1997, TransTec "faced major problems", partly because of difficulties with the production of cylinder heads for Ford at a plant in Campsie, Northern Ireland, and "the settlement of a substantial claim made by Ford".
The group's borrowing rose as its share price plummeted and, after the truth about the Ford claim and its settlement came to light, Mr Carr resigned and receivers were appointed on December 29 1999.
Despite Mr Carr's acquittal by a criminal court jury in March, the Department of Trade and Industry pursued its civil claim that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a company directorship.
Mr Justice Richards ruled that Mr Carr had been in "clear breach of his duties as a director and as chief executive" in failing to disclose the facts of the multi-million-pound Ford claim and its settlement to the TransTec board.
"Moreover, he misled the lenders when he told them that there were no undisclosed liabilities, without disclosing Ford's debit notes," he added.
"I find that the allegation of the Secretary of State that Mr Carr deliberately failed during the period of September to December 1999 to disclose the Ford claim, its settlement and the outstanding debit notes to the full board, the company's advisers or its lenders to be established.
"In my judgement, the evidence before the court on this application fully justifies conclusions of deliberate wrong-doing by Mr Carr".
The judge also found Mr Carr had breached his duties in relation to the way in which a £400,000 payment to Rover was treated in the accounts of a TransTec subsidiary.
Mr Justice Richards told the court: "The allegations which I have held to be established amount to deliberate and dishonest conduct on the part of Mr Carr in the performance of his duties as a director of a listed company.
"They were not isolated acts but amounted to a sustained attempt over an extended period to conceal and misrepresent the true position as regards the claim by Ford and its settlement by the company.
"It involved concealing information which, as I find, he knew should be disclosed to the board, the auditors, the Stock Exchange and others and should be disclosed in the accounts.
"It further involved the use of false accounting treatments, leading to the approval and publication of accounts which he knew to be false, achieved only by misleading the auditors as the true position.
"Similar improper conduct is show by the treatment of the Rover payment".
Describing them as "very serious matters", the judge acknowledged that Mr Carr had himself lost the value of his £2 million holding.
But so had other share-holders "who were deprived by Mr Carr's conduct of the timely provision of highly material information to which they were entitled.
"I consider that a period of disqualification for nine-anda-half years is appropriate".