rock band
ROCK ON: Roger Glover (left) and Steve Morse


DEEP PURPLE ACCOUNTANT ‘BORROWED’ MILLIONS FROM BAND’S COMPANY

THE former accountant of rock band Deep Purple has been banned as company di­rector for 11 years after em­bezzling at least £2 million from two separate companies responsible for managing the band’s copyrights.

Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Dipak Rao was found to have been transferring money into personal accounts from Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd and HEC Enterprises Ltd between 2008 and 2014.

The 69-year-old Worcester Park resident resigned as direc­tor from the two companies, which have since gone into ad­ministration, in November 2014 after 22 years. He concealed the illegal transactions by excluding them from financial accounts as well as restricting access to the companies’ bank statements.

Sue Macleod, the Insolvency Service’s chief investigator, said: “Rao misappropriated compa­ny funds, causing detriment to the company and its creditors, to his own personal benefit.”

She urged other company directors to take “serious note” from the case, stating that such action would lead to “seri­ous censure”.

“This disqualification is a re­minder to others tempted to do the same that the Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue enforcement action and seek to remove from them for a lengthy period, the privilege of trading with limited liability, in order to protect the public for a lengthy period.”

A disqualification order stip­ulates that, without permission from a court, the implicated person cannot act as director; partake in the formation, pro­motion or management of a company; or be a receiver of the company’s property, among other restrictions.

Earlier this year, band mem­bers Ian Gillan, 72, Roger Glov­er, 71, and Ian Paice, 69 sued Rao in a separate ongoing case for siphoning £4m in royalties of which he admitted “borrow­ing” £2.27m.

Rao’s actions resulted in the High Court freezing £4m of his assets with less than £500,000 having been recovered so far.

Formed in 1968, the band is the latest in a string of musical acts to be caught in financial disputes, including fellow rock band The Rolling Stones who sued their manager following a longstanding legal battle.