Bankruptcy Restriction Orders (BRO), which places sanctions against bankrupt executives and banned individuals from being a company director, forming, managing – or even give the impression of managing – a limited company, for up to 15 years, are not being enforced by authorities, leaving former millionaires free to keep assets and continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles, according to a BBC documentary.

A BBC Panorama investigation has found former millionaires seemingly untouched by insolvency as criminals and dishonest debtors exploited weaknesses in the bankruptcy system to keep hold of their assets and wealth. The BBC team also found serious weaknesses in the system designed to punish bankrupts who try to hide their assets or the extent of their wealth. Any bankrupt found to have been dishonest or reckless during the process can be given a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO), with a breach potentially leading to up to two years in prison.

In England and Wales the number of insolvencies has increased 10 percent in the last 12 months, with the latest UK figures showing more than 20,000 people a year going bankrupt, owing hundreds of millions to creditors.

Richard Dennis, chief executive of Scotland’s Accountant in Bankruptcy said in the programme “As with all BROs, there is no active monitoring of the BRO system.” Dennis refused to discuss individual cases, but added it was “serious” if people were breaching their BROs,

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