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Court to rule on move to 'restrict' brothers

boom-to-bust restaurateurs Christian and Simon Stokes should be restricted from running a company, the High Court will hear tomorrow.

The high society twins, once famous for running the fashionable Bang Cafe restaurant and Residence, an exclusive private members' club, will be the subject of an application to restrict them from acting as company directors.

The application will be taken by the liquidator, Jim Luby, who was appointed by the Revenue Commissioners to recover €1m owed in taxes by one of their companies, Auldcarn Ltd.

The company, which owned the Clarendon pub in Dublin's city centre, went into liquidation over a year ago with debts of €2.3m, almost half of which was owed in taxes. The twins also lost their other businesses, Bang Cafe and Residence, both of which have since reopened under new management.

Following the collapse of their various businesses last year, it emerged that the brothers had spent tax they deducted from their employees on the day-to-day running of Residence, a celebrity hang-out for stars such as Bono.

They were referred to as "delinquent directors" during court proceedings.

Jim Luby, of accountancy firm McStay Luby, will accuse the brothers of trading while insolvent in tomorrow's application. If granted, the restriction will mean that the Stokes twins cannot act as company directors for up to five years.

Their father, Jeff Stokes, who was also a director of the company, will not be included in the application as he wasn't involved in the running of the company. Jeff Stokes is a co-owner of the Unicorn and Il Segreto restaurants in Dublin.

The Stokes brothers were reported to have debts of almost €9m at the time their businesses collapsed.

The debts accumulated by Auldcarn included €678,000 owed to the company that owned Bang Cafe and €113,000 to Missford, the company that owned Residence. Various traders and suppliers were also left out of pocket.

During one court hearing relating to Residence, Judge Peter Kelly criticised the brothers, saying there was a "question mark" over the propriety of their behaviour as directors.

Sunday Independent