A PRODUCER who gained more than £5 million for a film that was never made has been banned from running a company for 13 years.

Michael Cowan, the former director of Warlord Productions Ltd, raised money from members of the public who thought they were investing in a feature film named Henry 5.

The 53-year-old, from Peacehaven, who claimed that the film would feature an A-list cast, has now been disqualified from being a company director for 13 years.

The court order was made against Mr Cowan after government agency the Insolvency Service launched an investigation into his company.

The investigation led to it being wound up in the public interest by the High Court in 2015.

Anthony Hannon, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said: “Little if any of the large sums raised from the public were used for the stated purposes, and there has been detriment both to the investing members of the public and to the reputation of investment in the UK film industry.

“The Insolvency Service will look closely at any evidence of misconduct and take appropriate action where directors have used investor monies for other purposes.”

The investigation, undertaken by Mr Hannon, revealed that the company had raised more than £5 million from investors after setting out to gain £2.5 million worth of investment for the film.

The agency said that more than £3.4 million of the funds raised went into sales commissions and £1.15 million of the remaining amount was paid to two of Mr Cowan’s other companies.

A total of £200,000 went towards the purchase of a house.

The investigation also found that for almost half of the investors no records were kept by the company of who they were or the amount they had invested.

This meant that if the film had actually been made and returned profits, there would have been no record of investors to be able to send money back to.

It soon became clear that the company would not be making the film and that it was not in a position to be able to repay the money previously raised.

Warlord Productions Ltd was formed on January 29, 2013, before the investigation resulted in the company being dissolved.

Mr Cowan did not attend court and was not represented when the disqualification order was made.

The order means that Mr Cowan is not allowed to act as a director of a company, take part - directly or indirectly - in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership, or to be a receiver of a company’s property for the 13-year period.

Mr Cowan is a Ghanaian-born British film producer who has 93 credits as producer listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

The website also states that he won a Welsh BAFTA award in 2002, shared with three other producers, for the film Undertaking Betty.

His career spans more than two decades, with recent credits listed on IMBd including Almost Dead, Elvis Walks Home and The Hatching.

Warlord Productions is listed on Companies House as being located in The Promenade, Peacehaven.