A gay couple famous for fathering two sets of surrogate twins have been banned from running companies for the next eight years.

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, who live in Danbury, have signed disqualification undertakings after an investigation into their roles in Euroderm Research, which was wound up two years ago.

Proceedings were brought against them by the Insolvency Service after an investigation uncovered that they had made payments totalling £243,704 to H2O Haircare, which had done no work for the company, leading to creditors missing out.

No loan agreement existed between the two companies and the money was never repaid.

In addition, another £32,613 was paid to H2O Haircare, including £20,000 in cash transfers, after a winding-up petition had been presented on November 15, 2007.

Euroderm Research, a firm that undertook clinical trials of cosmetic products, was set up in 2003.

The business expanded to include trial and testing of pharmaceutical products, and had a licence from the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which later investigated the company following reports of irregularity in the trial results and subjects used in the study trial between November 2006 and January 2007.

Euroderm Research was wound up in March 2008 with debts of £542,540.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said: “All of our businesses are USA- based now, so accepting a disqualification here in the UK is no big deal to either one of us.

“All it means is that our investments are now liquidated and that’s a loss for the local community in terms of jobs.”

During the Insolvency Service investigation, both men agreed to sign undertakings which prevent them from being company directors for the next eight years.

Mr and Mr Drewitt-Barlow first hit headlines in 1999, when they controversially won the right to become the first UK gays to father surrogate children.