It is accepted that the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company Ltd bought none of the wine (all en primeur) that their clients ordered.
In the summer of 2006 Craven said he asked Nik Cashman if he fancied setting up a similar business to BWC? Cashman readily agreed on the condition that we can get Oseghale Hayble on board. The spark to set up BWTC had come from Paul Craven. However, he said that "I didn't have a clue about what we were doing. At this point I had only had 4-6 weeks experience in wine investment, whereas Nik had had one year and Oseghale had several years' experience".
Craven said that he had a meeting with Hayble to sound him out in an All Bar One at Oxford Circus. Hayble agreed to join them if "I can purchase the wine". Craven explained how they set up the company and Ms Cohen took him through a number of invoices and bills for office furniture, computers, the Goldmaine program and the like. Craven was the sole signatory on the bank account. Checking bills was part of Craven's management role.
Hayble persuaded a number of sales staff to come across from the Bordeaux Wine Company. Niklaus Cashman and Hayble did the job interviews. "I didn't know what was needed to be a good salesman," said Craven.
The content for BWTC brochure and website was copied from the Bordeaux Wine Company. "It was put together by Nik and Ose. I had no substantial input, although I did read it through."
"Ose was always meant to purchase the wines. I couldn't even pronounce the châteaux's names for the first six months. I didn't have one contact in the wine trade. Ose told me that he was dealing with Bud Cuchet, buying director of Fine & Rare Wines Ltd." Craven was shown an email sent on 9th February 2007 from Cuchet enclosing a list of 'what we can offer'. Craven didn't think he had seen this email.
(Although there was contact with Fine & Rare Ltd, a fine wine broking company established in 1994, no orders were placed or wine bought.)
It was Ose's signature on the certificates sent out to investors. Craven never sold a case of wine at BWTC. "I couldn't do it. Hours and hours of conversation on the phone. Let them get on with it really."
"Ose was meant to be dealing with the wines." It was Ose who decided what price to charge for the wines. "I wouldn't have known what price to charge," said Craven. "We gave Ose cash to purchase wine." Although Craven was the sole signatory on the bank account until September 2007 when Cashman became a signatory, the company debit card was for Hayble and Cashman's use. "The card was there to be used," said Craven.
On 3rd January 2007 Hayble and Craven became directors of the company. "I felt good about it – managing director of a company doing well. It was recognition."
Craven described how Hayble was given wads of money – £85,000 in one instance – in brown envelopes. "We were buying wines en primeur – wines that would not be delivered for 18 months to two years." Craven explained that they had a computer program that would allow password protected access to the accounts from anywhere in the world.
In July 2007 Hayble resigned as a director of the Bordaux Wine Trading Company telling Craven that he wasleaving to set up a modelling agancy. Craven claimed that he and Hayble had "a firm agreement that Ose would continue to purchase wine – "he would take cash and purchase wine. This was what was supposed to be happening." Craven explained that he met Ose at various places. "We met at the Maze Inn – sometimes in the carpark and sometimes inside. Ose, who could log in to see what had been sold, was always given the money in cash to purchase wine," insisted Craven.