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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vinance directors – Earl, Ford and Wallen – now disqualified


Vinance plc: Fine Wine Portfolio Managers!


'All four directors of Vinance PLC have been the subject of disqualification proceedings taken by the Insolvency Service. Each director has now given a legally binding undertaking not to act as a director of any limited company for a long period of time.

Simon Earl – 10 years
Simon Ford, Paul Ford, Mike Wallen – 9 years each
 
If they breach their undertakings, they can be prosecuted. Simon Ford has resigned as a director of Electus Wines Ltd.' See previous investdrinks post here.

This ban means that Simon Earl, Simon Ford, Paul Ford and Mike Wallen cannot act as shadow directors surreptitiously running a company. 

Following Simon Ford's resignation (13.1.2015) as a director of Electus Wines Ltd, the company's future may well be uncertain. The sole director is Timothy Graham Ford, Simon's father who celebrates his 70th birthday today. Will he want to continue the business, which Simon Ford told me he would be running from Ottawa? The company is now registered at a private address in Blackheath.  

In February 2013 Simon Earl and Mike Wallen were jailed for their part in running a brothel and prostitution ring. Details here.  

My thanks to Chris Herron for keeping me informed. It would be good if all insolvency practitioners were this helpful!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Wine investment Embassy Wine (UK) Ltd shut down in public interest

Embassy Wine (UK) Ltd, whose sole director was 28-year-old Jonothan (sic) Piper was compulsorily wounded up in the public interest on 3rd December 2014 on petition by the Insolvency Service. The Insolvency Service reported that Piper 'treated company bank accounts as effectively his own personal accounts'. I hope this means that The Insolvency Service will in time apply for Piper to be banned from serving as a UK company director.  

Press release from Insolvency Service:    

Embassy Wine (UK) Ltd, which claimed it was ‘a fine wine broker’, was wound up in the High Court on 3 December 2014, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Embassy Wine (UK) Ltd, incorporated in June 2011, claimed on its now defunct website, www.embassywineuk.com, that:
  • It was an expert within the wine industry
  • That investors could see 30% returns on individual bottles purchased
  • The company offered a diverse portfolio of wines for purchase, storage and onward sale on behalf of its customers.

The court found that those claims were baseless, and that the company had failed to pay promised returns to customers who had paid the company directly for wine or who had transferred their wine portfolios to be managed and sold on by the company.

The company also took in substantial deposits from customers, on the false basis that those deposits were required to lodge wines in bonded warehouses or upfront fees in order to sell on wine portfolios. No deposits and no upfront fees had been returned to any known customers. In a number of instances customers, including a 94 year-old victim at the time of his dealings with the company, had paid over sums of over £30,000 to the company. 

The court found that the company had substantively been run for the benefit of its sole director, Jonothan (sic) Piper, who treated company bank accounts as effectively his own personal accounts. Mr Piper had no previous experience in the wine industry, having been a labourer. Mr Piper failed to provide any meaningful co-operation with the investigators, and was found to have lied to investigators in respect of a number of matters, including as to how many company bank accounts there had been.

Giving judgement, Registrar Jones stated that the grounds in the Secretary of State’s petition for seeking to wind up the company were fully justified, and on that basis the company was compulsorily wound up.

Notes to Editors
Embassy Wine (UK) Ltd, Co. registration number 07686061, was incorporated on 28 June 2011.

The petition to wind up the company was presented in the High Court on 3 October 2014 under the provisions of section 124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 following confidential enquiries by Company Investigations under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.

Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Thursday, 22 January 2015

European Fine Wines Ltd (EFW): warning scammers very active!!

 The former premises of European Fine Wines Ltd in Bromley
– now in liquidation

There are currently a rash of white knight scams linked with European Fine Wines Ltd, which went into liquidation on 25th June 2014, when Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited was appointed as liquidator. 

The scams include letters, using a European Fine Wines Ltd letterhead, sent   to clients of European Fine Wines Ltd as well as phone calls from people claiming to work for Abbott Fielding or to have been appointed by them or in the instance below from someone claiming to be the ex-financial director of European Fine Wines Ltd.  

Comment received for investdrinks yesterday (21.1.2015):
'I've just received a call from European Fine Wines ex financial director??? They are back in business and trying to sell me insurance to protect me from the company brought in as liquidators from only giving me 5p for every £1 invested. I actually own the wine and have it stored, is this true or a scam - help feeling very confused as thought I was one of the lucky ones?'

investdrinks understands that Rothstein Capital & Partners are among the companies contacting clients of European Fine Wines Ltd. I understand that Grant Thornton as well as Abbott Fielding have previously reported the activities of Rothstein Capital & Partners to the Police.  

All these are scams as Nedim Ailyan, the liquidator, explains:        

'In recent weeks, a company has been writing to the creditors on European Fine Wines letterhead alleging that they are the company and trying to obtain money from them.
 
In addition, a third party has been ringing creditors alleging he works for my office and that for a small payment, he can get people's wine.
 
Needless to say, anyone who passes any money to both these parties receives nothing. European Fine Wines Limited is in liquidation and any and all correspondence, that clients receive will be received from Abbott Fielding only.'

Don't fall for these advance fee frauds, they will only increase the losses you suffered through European Fine Wines Ltd.

If you have the slightest doubt contact:  
Abbott Fielding Limited, 142/148 Main Road, Sidcup, Kent DA14 6NZ  
Tel: 020 8302 4344

Fax: 020 8309 9178
www.abbottfielding.co.uk