A FORMER company boss secured a £50,000 Covid 'bounce back loan' - on a firm which was not effectively trading.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service failed to determine where the payout to Tahawar Saleem, 62, and TAS Home Store (TAS) ended up.

But the agency has reported the Barclays loan was never repaid and Saleem, of Alfred Street, Bolton, is now beginning an 11-year company director disqualification.

Insolvency officials say Saleem "knew or ought to have known that TAS was not eligible for that loan".

The retailer had also failed to provide sufficient records to establish what the funds were used for, according to the inquiry.

Investigators found bank statements for TAS which indicated sales, between December 2018 and April 2018, of just over £10,000.

No further sales receipts could be found after a date in late April, say officials, indicating the outfit ceased trading around that time.

A spokesman added: " He (Saleem) overstated TAS’ turnover for 2019 on the application submitted for a Bounce Back Loan.

"The company records show that for the year ended (November 2019) TAS’ turnover was £12,000 and between December 1, 2019, and August 3, 2020, there was no turnover, therefore TAS was not eligible for the loan of £50,000."

The loan was deposited with TAS on May 20 last year - six days later £45,570 was transferred for an unknown purpose from the firm's account.

And cash withdrawals totalling £4,250 were made over the course of the following three weeks.

Saleem stated in a director's report, as part of the firm's liquidation, that the £45,570 had been used to purchase personal protective equipment but an invoice provided to TAS' liquidator showed it was for pillow and mattress protectors.

But the liquidator was unable to contact the recipient for the invoice so question marks remained over whether the deal benefitted TAS. No records could also be found on how the cash withdrawals were spent.

When TAS wa finally s liquidated last year, the only other outstanding debt was for £500 in corporation tax to the HM Revenue and Customs, and the bounce bank loan had still not been repaid.