Belfast Telegraph

10-year ban from boardroom for convicted fuel smugglers

By Margaret Canning

Two convicted fuel smugglers have received boardroom bans of 10 years each.

Bernard Hughes (52), of Desert Lane, Armagh, and 58-year-old Malachy James Hughes, of Annaghannany Road in Killylea, were bosses at fuel distribution firm Chevron Enterprises.

The company, which was based at Crossnenagh Road in Keady, went into liquidation in November 2008 owing £2.3m.

Bernard and Malachy Hughes were part of a £1m cross-border fuel smuggling ring centred on a filling station in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, and Chevron Enterprises, which was raided by Customs in 2004. All four members of the smuggling ring were given serious crime prevention orders after they admitted revenue evasion at the Crown Court in 2008, where they were dubbed "professional smugglers".

The ring also included Bernard Hughes' partner Fionnuala Kelly, whose address was given as Cathedral Road in Armagh, and his brother Michael Hughes, from Castleblayney Road in Keady.

They were also given suspended sentences at the time and all except Michael Hughes were hit with confiscation orders.

At a court hearing in January this year, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment said Bernard and Malachy Hughes had failed to pay VAT of £2,037,174.

They also failed to cooperate with the Official Receiver in breach of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

The court accepted DETI's contentions.

The term of disqualification handed down to the men was close to the maximum time period allowed.