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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd: taxman also looking to close company + Mirror story

Andrew Penman's story: 9th January 2014

Along with the Insolvency Service HM Revenue and Customs are also petitioning to close down Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd. Their petition was published in the London Gazette on Thursday 9th January 2014. Part of the HMRC petition:

Notice: 1971742 (Issue: 60748)

Date: 9 January 2014

Issue Number: 60748

Page number: 381

Publication Date: Thursday, 9 January 2014

Notice Code: 2450

Petitions to Wind Up (Companies)

In the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division)

Companies Court   No 8692 of 2013


(Company Number 06701468) and in the Matter of the Insolvency Act 1986

A Petition to wind up the above-named Company, Registration Number 06701468, of Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT formerly of Imperial House, North Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1SD, presented on 9 December 2013 by the Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs, of Bush House, Strand, London, WC2B 4RD, claiming to be Creditors of the Company, will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice, 7 Rolls Buildings, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL, on 3 February 2014*, at 1030 hours (or as soon thereafter as the Petition can be heard). 

The Insolvency Service's petition to close Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd in the public interest is due to be heard on 26th February 2013. 

It remains to be seen whether Ken Gundlach, the company's sole director, will contest these petitions. It would, however, not be a surprise if they are not contested as Gundlach is in the process of closing down a number of his companies.   

* Update: The petition by HMRC to wind up Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd has been put back to 3rd March 2014. If the Insolvency Service's petition to wind up the company in the public interest succeeds on 26th February then HMRC's petition will not need to be heard.  


Andrew Penman 'race-stopped' Ken Gundlach at Lingfield Racecourse to ask him about a Mirror reader's expensive wine bought from Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd. The reader had sunk his life savings in these wines supposedly stored at London City Bond. Unfortunately there is no sign of them at LCB. 

Nor, apparently, is there any sign of 10 cases bought by a middle aged woman who also sunk a substantial part of her life savings in wine from Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd. She bought 28 cases in all but there are only 18 of them at London City Bond with 10 missing. 

Another client of BFW's is concerned about his en primeur purchases. 

It is not known whether these are isolated examples or whether Ken Gundlach's Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd failed to buy a significant proportion of its clients' wine. If it transpires that there are many wines missing, then given that BFW's turnover was very close to £20 million (£4.9m dividend to sole shareholder – K. Gundlach) there ought to be a police investigation. Furthermore given the company's turnover BFW comes under the remit of the Serious Fraud Office.    



  1. There is substantial evidence that wine totalling at least £10m was missing from clients individual accounts or from BFW's own account held at LCB.

    The Police are already aware of the case but I am of the understanding they don't want to pursue it. I would suggest all customers with missing wines report it both to the Insolvency Service and the Police.

    Should the Insolvency Service feel there is evidence of fraud they will refer it to the Police also. If there are 100+ complaints from investors that will assist in making the police aware of the severity of the issue.

    1. I have 'lost'£48100.00 in this what I now realise is a gigantic scam,when will the police investigate this serious fraud!!

    2. Anon. I assume that you have registered a complaint with Action Fraud. It may be that a police investigation is already underway. It may also be that the Insolvency Service will pass their information onto the police after the winding up petition is heard in the High Court on 26th February, especially if the petition succeeds.

  2. Anon. Thanks. Clients of BFW should certainly register complaints through ActionFraud. As I say this also comes under the remit of the SFO if there proves to be substantial quantities of wine missing.

  3. At least £10m missing?How is this not fraud?The police don't want to pursue it?He must be laughing !!Something must be done to recover peoples money and to stop this man who also has other companies still in operation.

    1. The wine not being available on its own does not necessarily evidence fraud. Remember, there has to be an intent to defraud. Mr Gundlach does have some difficult questions to answer though as I cannot think of a genuine reason why £10m of wine was not purchased. I suspect he will claim there was mismanagement by those below him and that brokers were doing deals without his authority.

      I for one will be expecting a criminal investigation. However, as said @12/1/14 13:01, complaints from investors with missing wine should report it and provide as much detail as possible to the relevant authorities.

  4. just because turnover was £20, million that is no reason for SFO, however the fact that there is a substantial amount missing does

    1. Anon. I was not implying that a turnover of £20 million is fraudulent merely that the SFO does not investigate below a certain sum.

    2. Which probably means it will be just under that certain sum.......which wont help the investors who had their money stolen.So what will Ken Gundlach be punished with exactly?

    3. Anon. The figure used to be £1 million, so even if it has risen nearly £20 million turnover should comfortably fall within the remit.

    4. I am new to this site and my interest is in Bordeaux Fine Wines (BFW).
      A colleague recently approached me and asked if I could provide some advice in relation to what she believes is an act of fraud. Her BFW client number is 2759.
      In July 2012 she responded to a cold call from BFW and since then has been pressured into making the following ‘investments’.
      Client No. 2759 - wine purchased:
      18/07/2012 - Chateau Cos d' Estournel 2009 - 1 case £ 4,180.00
      25/09/2012 - Chateau Latour 2006 - 2 cases - £10,960.00
      25/09/2012 - Chateau Latour 2000 - 1 case £11,420.00
      08/03/2013 - Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2009 - 1 case £ 7,900.00
      23/08/2013 - Chateau Ponet-Canet 2009 - 3 cases £ 7,920.00
      Total wine paid for £42,380.00
      The BFW modus operandi is consistent with that experienced by other ‘investors’ and amounts to high pressure cold calling and selling.
      Although I am not aware of all the circumstances relating to this ‘investment’ I know enough about it to suggest it may amount to BFW directors, associates, employees etc. conspiring in a ‘fraudulent scheme’. In Scotland this is a criminal matter and is prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal.
      I hope to be able to show a crime has been committed and thereafter lobby the appropriate authorities to investigate and prosecute.
      I’m unsure of the current legal and trading status of BFW but I believe a criminal enquiry would be the best means of exposing those involved at all levels in what looks like an organised criminal enterprise. In a criminal case any crimes committed by BFW representatives should not get swept away and the people responsible should not just walk away, even if the company folds and stops trading.
      I understand in a civil case the liability may lie with the company rather that the individuals involved, thereby offering them protection. However, I believe this is a criminal matter and that there is a lot of evidence out there to help prove guilty intent and an intention to defraud, e.g. via telephone billing, correspondence, witness evidence, orders and stock and the accounts. The advantage of this approach is that those involved can be pursued long after the company has gone. Recent high profile sex allegation cases demonstrate complaints of criminality are not time barred.
      If I can show a crime has been committed (and I think I can) I think the only way out for BFW and the persons involved in the fraudulent scheme is to offer a full refund, as in most fraud cases if there is no loss to the victim then there is no crime.

      I am confident I can show the prosecuting authority in Scotland that my colleague has been the victim of a fraudulent scheme and that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute and convict those directly and indirectly involved.
      I post this information as I am anxious to get as much information as I can about BFW and in particular I would like to confirm its legal and trading status between 18/7/12 and 23/8/13 when these transactions were made.
      I would also like to formally write to BFW and invite the company to provide a full refund, effectively meaning there is no crime, but contacting the company has been impossible.
      Given the nature of this matter and the direction it may take it is highly unlikely I will be able to post any further information.
      Unless a refund is forthcoming (to bring matters to an end) I think it will be a very protracted enquiry and I will provide an update as and when appropriate.
      In conclusion, I find it hard to believe Police Forces in other parts of the UK are unwilling to pursue a criminal enquiry in respect of the actions of BFW and its representatives. I believe the actions of BFW in Scotland are criminal (not civil) and I expect the full weight of the Scottish Legal system and the Scottish Criminal Justice system to prevail.

    5. I too have some £25000 in vested in similar wines to those mentioned before. Speaking as an 'amateur' investor I am unsure as to the best way forward to try and retrieve my investment. I have various documents signed by Mr Gundlach confirming my investments and their secure storage at the London City Bond. I would be grateful to receive assistance in the best way forward from here.

    6. Have you checked with London City Bond to see if your wines are indeed stored there?

  5. Please note the following companies calling wine clients selling diamonds at premium prices well over the odds

    1. Anon. Many thanks. Any examples of pricing please? I see that OAKLEY & FORBES MANAGEMENT LIMITED has one director a 23-year-old. Its share capital is £1 and operates from a serviced office address. Fanrong International's London office is a virtual office address: 88-90 Hatton Garden.

  6. how about a 1000% mark up

  7. also they hold the gems in Switzerland supposedly in a vault without delivering them

  8. Jim

    Roughly the dividend is equal to the amount of wine missing, in money terms so it should be retrievable using company law stating that the accounts were falsified, just an opinion of mine

  9. l also have invested a large sum of money with Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd and live in Scotland so if the police in London do not want to investigate this company (100& sure its fraud) . Then l shall shall go to my local police to see if a criminal charge in a Scottish Court of Law can be brought against this bf wines ltd employees and its director Kenneth Gundlach.

  10. Me and my wife invested large amount of money in Bordeaux Fine wines Ltd and we lives in Scotland. After we feel insecure in July 2013, Number of time we requested them to send us the detailed contract details, Warehouse Number, Warehouse address, Rack No etc. But they never supplied us, instead they promised us that they will sell our product ASAP.

  11. I too have 'invested' with BFW, but I can only see only some of my purchases in my account LCB Vinotheque. Are these safe? I have no idea what I can do about those missing apart from wait until the hearing on 26/2?

  12. Anon. Wines in your account at LCB Vinotheque are safe. As for the missing wines you are likely to be a unsecured creditor assuming that BFW is put into liquidation on 26th.

  13. Hi Jim, is there any more news on B.F.W as yet it has been very quite. Also any news from the liquadaters on recovering clients money.


  14. Dear jim,
    have a question for you,
    Cant the liquadaters claim back monies from the sales team that worked for B.F.W ? Or any employes !

  15. Anon. As far as I know this is not possible. The liquidator winds up the company and should report any concerns to the relevant authorities. After a successful criminal trial assets can be confiscated from those convicted.

  16. Dear Jim

    Is there any updates on this case? there seems to be very little to no updates on this particular case.


  17. Brian

    There was an update in February here:

    David Ingram of Grant Thornton was appointed liquidator to act for the Insolvency service. You can find more details here:

    It is not unusual for there to be no news as the liquidator carries out their investigations.

    Also it is possible that this case is included in the Met's Operation Falcon investigations but this probably won't be known unless there are arrests made.