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Monday, 15 July 2013

European Fine Wines: two directors (Scott Assemakis and David Evans) banned for 11 years each


Scott Assemakis 'UK based entrepreneur' - Twitter page
'founder of the hugely successful EFWines' 

Two European Fine Wines Ltd directors have been banned from being directors for 11 years each for their role in two land banking scams. They are: David Evans (DOB: 28.5.1953) banned from 10.7.2013 to 9.7.2024 and Scott Assemakis (DOB: 15.1.1980) banned from 8.7.2013 to 7.7.2024. They both resigned as directors of European Fine Wines on 28th June 2013. On the same day Assemakis and Evans also resigned as directors from Sawa Wines Ltd (registered and trading address: 68 Lombard Street) formed 6.6.2012 – original name – European Fine Wines (2012) Ltd. Annual return is now overdue: 4.7.2013. 

Although Assemakis Twitter profile says that EFWines was set up in 2005 it was European Fine Wines Ltd that was founded in August 2005. EFWines Ltd was set up on 24th August 2012 with Jonathan Ross Barr as the sole director.  He has been a director of European Fine Wines Ltd since 2008. Like European Fine Wines Ltd, EFWines Ltd lists 68 Lombard Street, London EC3 9LJ as its registered and trading addresses.    

European Fine Wines Ltd has been mooted as a possible candidate for membership of the WIA (Wine Investment Association).  

Details see Tony Hetherington Mail on Sunday (14.7.2013) – relevant section highlighted: 
‘Ten-year ban for land cheat director
The Government-run Insolvency Service has scored half a dozen new victories in its fight to ban dodgy directors from the boardroom.

Terence Christopher Farr, 31, from Romford, Essex, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for ten years for operating illegal land investment schemes.

I talked to Farr in 2010 and warned investors to steer clear. He was marketing investments without a licence from the Financial Services Authority and advertised his business, Claremont Forbes Land & Property Limited, as a leading company even though it was only six months old. It went into liquidation a year later after raking in £944,000 from the public without keeping proper records. Insolvency Service investigator Mark Bruce describes the size of the unexplained deals as ‘highly suspicious.’

Separately, a gang who ran a series of corrupt land investment companies based in Bromley, Kent, has also been disqualified from running any limited company.

Scott Assemakis, David Evans and Gavin Gravesande are banned for 11 years, and James Murphy and Dominic Whatley for ten years. They were behind a string of companies, including The Property Partnership and Burnhill Land Investments. The ban has forced Assemakis and Evans to quit as directors of investment business European Fine Wines Limited.'

Scott Assemakis' role in the Property Partnership (no connection with the Surrey based building services firm Land Investments UK Ltd trading as The Property Partnership) and Burnhill Land Investments was featured by BBC's Money Box in May 2011 – Land 'scams' techniques revealed.

Unrelated to investment Scott Assemakis has two driving convictions. In 1999 he was convicted of causing death by careless driving. Then in April 2006 he was jailed for 15 months for dangerous driving. He had been racing Dhugal Robertson in Hayes, near Bromley, Kent. Robertson was jailed for 8 months.       


34 comments:

  1. DEAR JIM

    I HAVE ASKED VEBLEN WINES TO RETURN MY WINES THEY HAVE REFUSED AND TOLD ME THEY WILL SELL IT AROUND AUGUST 25TH WHICH DOES NOT MAKE SENSE

    THEY NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED AS THEY ARE ANOTHER COMPANY BASED IN KENT OR ARE THEY JUST WAITING FOR ME TO DIE AS I AM OLD

    I WANT MY WINES OF THEM WHAT ARE MY ALTERNATIVES

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  2. Anon. Have you checked with the bonded warehouse that your wines have been purchased?

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  3. They are under Veblens control in s sub account so I have no direct control over them to move or do anything

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    1. Which bonded warehouse do they use please?

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  4. Anon. Have you contacted Vinotheque to see if your wine is in a sub account of Veblen?

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  5. I have noticed that they have changed all my wines to Pavie 2007/ 07/ 09....
    I feel the 09 are ok although they have been bought in February at an all time high all the wines they have purchased for me are losing money and were bought in February and are all down in value

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  6. EFWines in liquidation got letter today from Abbott Fielding Ltd stating that they had been appointed to help with placing efwines into 'Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.' not sure what this means to me as an unlucky investor with efwines any advice would be appreciated.

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  7. A liquidator will be appointed at the creditors' meeting on 25th June. The liquidator is chosen by the votes of the creditors. The most important question for you is do you have your wines?

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  8. I too have had a liquidation letter and have no idea what to do.
    Do we need to attend the creditors meeting since we do not really understand what is involved?
    We have a substantial amount of wine purchased via EFW, most of it in our account, but the last purchase of DRC wines for £28,850 has not arrived and presumably is either at the chateaux or in EFW's account. I paid for this by credit card in August 2013.Now it seems the wines are also worth less than we were given to believe and we have no idea what to do.

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  9. Anon. Your liquidation letter should explain the procedure. If you attend the creditors' meeting you may have the chance to question Jonathan Barr, the director. The meeting will appoint a liquidator and as a creditor you have a vote but you can vote in advance if you can't or don't want to attend the meeting. You can also appoint a proxy.

    You need to find out what has happened to your missing wine. If it remains missing you should contact your credit card company and get a refund. You ought to alert them now that your wine is missing. Fortunate that you paid by credit card. If it turns out that European Fine Wines never purchased your wine you should then file a complaint through Action Fraud.

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  10. I also have had a letter addressed to 'ALL KNOWN CREDITORS' re EFW liquidation .I am paying London City Bond Ltd storage charges for all the wine I have purchased in the past 2 years,so I assume my investment is safe ,and able to be auctioned if I wanted to ?

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  11. Ian. Yes it looks like you have your own account with London City Bond. Worth checking with LCB but if this is the case you would be free to do what you wish with your wine.

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    1. Thanks for your prompt reply.I shall check with LCB in the morning.From what I read in all the correspondance I wouldnt be surprised if it is worth less than I had been led to believe it is worth though !!

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  12. Ian. Yes I'm pretty sure you will find your wine is worth less than you were told. You can use wine-searcher to check prices.

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  13. I was an investor, and have wine which is now worth a lot lwss than I had paid. So I would be keen to track down the former directors. And pay them a visit. Very Strange as I had a call today from a diamond investment company also from 68 Lombard Street.

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    1. Rob. Do you remember the name of the diamond company please.

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  14. I had a call yesterday from a diamond company called Paragon Fine Diamonds.

    I have checked and my wine is stored under my account with LCB.

    Where is the best place to sell the wine?

    Thanks

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    1. Paragon Fine Diamonds Ltd founded 10.5.2013. First return overdue since 7.6.14. Claims 'long stable track record spanning many years'. Certainly a company I'd avoid!

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    2. Chris. There is a list of companies I would consider buying from on the right hand side of this blog. Now unfortunately is not the best time to sell, however, as prices have been falling for the past two or three years.

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  15. Jim. I didn't get name of diamond company but were giving Lombard Street Address. Must be a link. Ive tried without success to contact Scott Assemakis. Tried calling number on his web page and email. Am considering drive down to try to find him. I bought through EFW but have had no letter. Just got wine worth a fraction of what I paid. Is there anyway we can start a group to try to bring these people to task??

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  16. Rob. Thanks for this. Although I understand your anger and frustration, I can't think that it is a good idea to try and confront Scott Assemakis personally. Additionally I suspect he would be difficult to find.

    I can't advise what the chances of success are if you put a group together to pursue EFW's directors and ex-directors, you should seek professional advice.

    However, if you do decide to go ahead I will be happy to post details here of your action group.

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  17. Thank You.Yes he is proving hard to try to trace. But I am in no hurry. Will post any update on here. Many Thanks.

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  18. I would very much like to prosecute Jonathan Ross Barr and Scott Assemakis and David Evans for selling me wine which was massively overvalued! If any other business had done this with their product they would be in jail now. How can they get away with it?

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  19. Hi Paragon diamonds has been cold calling me out of the blue, strangely with my details phoning on a hidden number. Telling me that they are 'helping' people offload (already having £1.6 million) and recoup their losses by putting it into fancy coloured diamonds. Paul Lewis, Chloe Masters , and Patrick Fisher are a couple of names i have been given through several cold calls. Prrroobabably should avoid. 0203 011 0022 was their no.

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  20. I have only recently found out that European fine wines went into liquiadtion. I purchased two lots of wine from them, one in 2009 and another in 2011. I have been paying for storage a London City Bonds since 2009. I telephoned LCB and enquired about my wine and it appears the first lot of wine deposited in 2009 was transferred back to EFW in 2011. This transfer was completed without my knowledge or permission and I am now several thousand out of pocket with this missing wine. Can LCB transfer the wine without the owners permission and if so is the rest of my wine safe. I have also been contacted by Paragon Diamonds (which is how I found out EFW were in liquidation). Has this happened to others. Should LCB be liable for my losses as they have transferred my wine to a third party without my knowledge?

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  21. Allison. It all depends upon whether you had your own private account at LCB or if yours was a client reserve account under the umbrella of EFW. If it was the latter then EFW can move your wine without your permission. This is why it is certainly best to have your own private account at a bonded warehouse.

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  22. I was called today by a Richard Murdoch (not the actor) saying he was acting on behalf of company that had taken over EFW. if I wanted to sell my wine (1 case of Pontet Canet 2008) I would receive over £5.3K ( for a £1k investment 4 years ago!) before I received the funds I had to pay £1,000 'insurance' of which I would get back £500. It seemed too good to be true so I politely declined his offer. He gave me a phone number to call if I changed my mind needless to say it was dead when I rang it. Wonder where these scammers get ther info from

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  23. Jim
    Do you have an opinion on wineowners.com who recently wrote to me advertising their services ?

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  24. Yes I think they are good news. I have met Nick Martin and been taken through their procedure. The more transparency there is in the fine wine market the better.

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  25. Romford is in London, not Essex.

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    1. That appears to be debatable: http://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/is_romford_in_essex_or_london_debate_rages_on_among_recorder_readers_1_1389259

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    2. Anything and everything is debatable, but the facts in this case say Romford is in London and not in Essex.
      The fact that Romford is in a London Borough ends any logical discussion.
      Some people say Romford is postally in Essex. Not according to the Royal Mail. Check a Romford address on their website...no Essex in the finished article.
      Other people like to say that Romford was historically in Essex. They don't seem to understand that is just another way of saying Romford was in Essex in the past. The past, as in not now. Not since 1965 in fact.
      What's happening this May? The election for the Mayor of London. Do Romfordians get to vote? Yes, coz they are Londoners.
      Need i say more...

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