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Belfast restaurant boss battles to save bankrupt firm

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The Bengal Brasserie's Nigel Rahman faces a winding-up order from one of his creditors

The Bengal Brasserie's Nigel Rahman faces a winding-up order from one of his creditors

The Bengal Brasserie's Nigel Rahman faces a winding-up order from one of his creditors

A Belfast restaurateur recently made bankrupt will face a fresh fight for the survival of his business later this week.

Nigel Rahman of the Bengal Brasserie, appearing under his real name of Mizanur Rahman, was declared bankrupt on May 6 over an unpaid drinks bill.

It is thought that he owed the petitioner, Drinks Incorporated Ltd, around £14,000.

Another creditor, thought to be Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which sources say is also owed tens of thousands of pounds, is seeking a winding-up order for Bengal Brasserie (NI) Limited and the case has been listed for hearing tomorrow.

In a fresh twist, it has also emerged that a new company called Bengal Brasserie Belfast Ltd was registered with Companies House on April 4, 2011.

Last year the Bengal Brasserie II on the Lisburn Road in south Belfast was taken out of administration after it was acquired by Bengal Brasserie (NI) Limited, a sister company which runs another restaurant on the Ormeau Road.

Between them, the two restaurants currently employ around 70 people.

The opulent Lisburn Road eaterie was opened in November 2009 but went into administration just months later after one of Mr Rahman's business partners withdrew his backing for the new venture.

The business and certain assets were sold to Bengal Brasserie (NI) Limited in July 2010 and last August Mr Rahman entered into a CVA (Creditors' Voluntary Arrangement) agreeing to pay around £15,000 a month back to his creditors over a three-and-a-half year period.

However there are still a number of creditors waiting to be paid back.

One of the firms owed money was Abbey Upholsterers in Carrickfergus, which helped fit out the restaurant.

In 2009 an injunction was obtained prohibiting anyone in the business from entering the Lisburn Road restaurant to remove furniture.

Mr Rahman moved to Northern Ireland from Bangladesh in the early 1990s.

He was just a teenager when he started working at the Ormeau Road restaurant, but he eventually worked his way up from kitchen porter to front of house before eventually obtaining the business from a family member.

Around £2m was spent on the Lisburn Road branch, which includes a 200-seater restaurant, business rooms with plasma screens and WiFi, and tea rooms for private dining.

Items on the restaurant's wine list cost up to £1,800.


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