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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Nouveau World Wines Ltd: six arrested in wine investment scam

Six people were arrested today by fraud squad officers investigating a wine investment scam.
Two women aged aged 40 and 32 and four men aged 40, 65, 30 and 34 were held during raids in east and south east London. One of those arrested is understood to be 34 year-old Daniel Snelling.

The move came after Scotland Yard detectives were alerted to a large-scale specialist wine fraud. Investigators believe victims have handed over thousands of pounds to invest in specialist Australian wines. Once the money was taken the “investors” were told the wine had been laid down to increase in value as it aged, but it did not exist.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Cross, who leads the fraud squad, said the arrests followed a lengthy inquiry, codenamed Operation Iceman.
The senior officer said: “This kind of investment fraud is becoming far too common. People from all economic backgrounds are being targeted and persuaded to invest in what appears to be a sound financial opportunity.

"We would advise those considering investing money, whether it be a small or large amount, to do their research and be sure that the companies or individuals they are dealing with are reputable and legitimate.”

The arrests were made at two business address and several homes in Docklands, Sidcup and Bexley. The six were being held at an east London police station on suspicion of money laundering offences.It is understoond that they have now (5th March) been released on police bail.

Set up in September 2004 Nouveau World Wines Ltd offered Australian boutique wines as an investment – often powerful Shirazes. Wines sold to investors included 2007 Molly Dooker Carnival of Love Shiraz, 2005 Two Hands Aphrodite and 2005 Greenock Creek Alice's Shiraz. 

As well as London offices Nouveau World Wines Ltd claimed to have offices in Hong Kong and Melbourne, Australia. 

On NWW's website, which has now been taken down, the company explained that: 'all the fine wines from Nouveau World Wines are sourced through out wine regions across the new world market, namely Australia, Argentina, California, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand. Each vine yard comes with a good trading history in fine wine. The wines are mostly stored in reputable bonded warehouses in perfect storage conditions or stored at the original point of production within in the vine yard. Most wines are available in original wooden cases unless stated.'

Wine investment companies offering Australian wine have a poor history. Australian based Heritage Fine Wines and Wine Orb both collapsed spectacularly in 2005.   


This is a combined report sourced from a Press Association report by Chris Greenwood, Press Association's crime correspondent from story on Kent News ­
+ With my additions on 5th March 2010.


My comment 
So far the company involved has not been named nor have those arrested. I have, however, received a number of messages recently from concerned investors who had bought various Australian wines for investment and who were having difficulty contacting the company. 

I'm delighted to see further evidence that the police forces are now taking wine scams seriously. I remain amazed that so many people are prepared to invest in something they probably know little about from companies they know even less. It is not as though the sums are small I have been contacted by people who have written cheques for over £100,000 for wines that never existed – all on the basis of a cold call!
I'm particularly pleased to see police action in the lead up to the 2009 Bordeaux en primeur campaign, which will surely be heavily hyped and demand for the top wines may well out strip demand. En primeur, where you pay for wine two years before it is delivered is a brilliant bespoke vehicle for potential fraud.


  1. great scam. good idea.... i guess im too late to do it, but worth a try. And they get a cool name "iceman". Its hollywood baby.

  2. Anon. Thank you for your message. However, before I publish it I do need proof that the owner of the company you mention did indeed work for Nouveau World Wines Ltd.