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Monday, 29 August 2016

Jack Williams, legal adviser – who was his mysterious client?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Frederick Achom – law finally catches up with lionised banned director


Frederick Achom pictured 
with then Prime Minister David Cameron 

 Report from FT Adviser 4th August 2016


In late July 2016 the law finally caught up with convicted fraudster and banned director Frederick Achom for running a wine investment company while disqualified from acting as a director. Achom admitted to running now bust APW Asset Management Ltd despite his 11-year directorship ban. 

The FT Adviser reported that Achom received a six-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay just under £1 million from his profits within three months or face a jail sentence of up to five years. 

Although it is good to see disqualification orders being enforced, it is amazing and worrying that it has taken so long. Frederick Achom and his business partner, Boington Anthony Grant, were disqualified for their part in running 'wine investment' company – Boington & Fredericks of London Ltd – from acting as UK company directors for 11 years. The ban ran from 23rd July 2002 to 22nd July 2013. Boington & Fredericks was wound up in the public interest in 2002. 

The Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd was founded on 17.2.2002 as Freedom Finance UK Ltd changing its name to The Bordeaux Wine Company 13.5.2003. It was fairly soon apparent that Frederick Achom and Anthony Grant controlled this company and Achom was also involved in Australian Portfolio Wines Ltd (in liquidation) despite their UK directors ban. 

They made no attempt to deny their involvement

On 13th April 2010 Anthony Grant sent me a lengthy response to my post here about The Bordeaux Wine Company, Grant and Achom.  

During the 2011 trial of convicted wine investment fraudster – Paul Craven – at St Albans Crown Court, Frederick Achom was a prosecution witness. Before setting up The Bordeaux Wine Trading Company Ltd Craven had worked for Achom at The Bordeaux Wine Trading Company.  

During his director's disqualification Achom is reported to have built a multi-million business empire based around The Rosemont Group, an off-shore company. On his site Frederick Achom's Story Bordeaux Wine Company is listed as one of his companies, although it is now also called BWC Management and Consulting Partners. Its website was registered on 1.11.2012. However copyright on the site runs from 2002 (see below), the date the Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd was founded



Under UK Company Law you can be disqualified as a director for up to 15 years. During the time of disqualification you cannot be a director of any company registered in the UK or an overseas company that has connections with the UK or be involved in forming, marketing or running a company. 

According to Achom's profile on Wikipedia: 
'Members clubs and investment firms

In 2005 Achom acquired controlling interest in the Bordeaux Wine Company,[27] the company was restructured and for the past decade has traded as a partnership offering services specifically to high net-worth individuals and institutions.[28]'

If indeed, the Bordeaux Wine Company was restructured into a partnership in 2005 there is nothing at Companies House to indicate any restructuring nor any details of Achom acquiring any shares in the Bordeaux Wine Company. 

Furthermore it was significant that during the fraud trials of Paul Craven and others at St Albans Crown Court during 2011 company that Craven and others had worked for before they set up The Bordeaux Wine Trading Company was referred to as the Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd. Although I wasn't in court every day, I was there on a number of occasions and I cannot recall any mention of BWC Management & Consulting Partners.  

Remarkably during his 11 year disqualification as a UK director Achom received a number of awards for being an entrepreneur as Frederick reveals on his Linkedin profile: including in the UK Power List 2011, London's 1000 Most Influential People (2011) and UK Power List 2013. 



     
All in all quite an achievement for a disqualified director! And what of his partner in the Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd – Boington Anthony Grant? Did the authorities just turn a blind eye until APW Asset Management Ltd was closed in the public interest by the Manchester High Court on 21st April 2015 with debts of £16.06 million? 
   

Friday, 26 August 2016

Heartless, parasite Jonothan Piper to be jailed for wine investment fraud


Embassy Wines UK Ltd website:
'We have great passion for the product let us share 
the knowledge of wealth and guidance to building 
a portfolio of the most sort after wines. Enabling an attractive 
and healthy return on your investment.' 
 

On Tuesday 23rd August 2016 30-year-old Jonothan Piper admitted at Snaresbrook Crown Court to defrauding his investor clients and HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

Piper, who posed as a wine broker, preyed on the elderly and vulnerable – cold calling and persuading them transfer their wine to his company Embassy Wine UK Ltd. Piper charged an advance fee for sales for ‘legal costs’. Once the wine was transferred Piper would become impossible to contact and the duped investor would never receive their promised money.
The fraud netted Piper at least £300,000 with one investor losing £150,000. Another investor, an elderly woman who had already been a victim of World Wide Wines Ltd, was persuaded to buy a further £33,000 worth of wine from Embassy. This included a case of 2004 Haut Brion for £10,000 in 2012, which could have been bought elsewhere for £2400. The salesman claimed it should have cost £12,000! 
Embassy offered to sell her portfolio for £60,000 – charging £20,000 in ‘legal fees’ reimbursable in seven days.   

HMRC was defrauded for £51,104 as Piper failed to declare any income between 2008 and 2014.
Embassy Wines UK Ltd was founded on 28th June 2011. It was wound up in the public interest on 3rd December 2014. Piper was the sole director and shareholder with just £1 of share capital. 
Piper has been jailed on Judges Remand and will be sentenced on 16th September 2016. I hope that Judge Louise Kamill will out Piper away for a good stretch and that Piper will be forced to repay his victims, whose life savings he looted and spent on high living including nearly £90,000 on a BMW X6 and a Range Rover Sport. Piper's expertise lay not as he claimed in fine wine but in trousering his elderly and vulnerable clients' money.  

On 17th November 2015 Piper was banned for being a UK director for 11 years.  
Over the past three years recovery room wine investment/advance fee frauds have become increasingly common. Victims of previous wine investment scam companies are contacted by new firms and offered deals on their wine portfolios at well above market price.
Some companies also make bogus claims to have taken over liquidations from legitimate companies like Grant Thornton and ‘found’ investors missing wines abroad. Invariably investors are again left empty handed.  

It is good to see that some of these heartless fraudsters – vile individuals who exploit vulnerable people – are being prosecuted.