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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Watch out! Former EFW customers targeted by variety of scams

The former offices of European Fine Wines Ltd in Bromley



Former clients of EFW/European Fine Wines Ltd are being targeted by a variety of scamsters – all dedicated to thinning clients wallets even further. Most overpaid for the wines they bought from EFW. It is very clear that client lists including not just contact information but also details of the wines they purchased have been passed around – sold on etc.

Over-high valuations and Chinese sales   
Some like Lewis Samuels of Samuels & Parker Ltd are making remarkably high offers on portfolios. Samuels, based in Downham and Dubai, tend to claim that he has a Chinese buyer for these wines – unfortunately the Chinese buyer has a tendency to be rather fickle and change their mind. More recently he has also found a UK buyer to pay around £72,000 for a portfolio valued by another, long established broker at £55,000.  

London City Bond – fake employees 
Other scamsters have pretended to be employees of London City Bond claiming to have located wine that they say they can sell for the client. Of course an advance fee is required to facilitate this sale. Needless to say – see the letter from David Hogg from London City Bond below – this is a lie. Like the famous Nigerian 419s this is looks to be advanced fee fraud.     

Dear Customer 

I am writing to you as the former storage provider for European Fine Wines.

As you will be aware European Fine Wines have now been placed into Liquidation and we are currently working with the appointed Liquidator.

However, it has been brought to our attention that some customers have received telephone calls and letters (see below) from unknown individuals, claiming to be from London City Bond (LCB) and offering to buy their wines or in exchange for a fee, secure your stocks from the Liquidator.

These people do not work for LCB and we never cold call any customers offering such services.

Should you receive any such calls, we would urge you not to accept any offer under any circumstances.

If you are able to ascertain any details about the caller, number used etc we would be grateful for this information in order that we can pass this on to the Police.

Please feel free to contact our Customer Services team on 0843 659 3617 or at vtcustomerservices@lcb.co.uk for any further assistance.

Many thanks.

Regards
David Hogg

Sales Director



Text of letter above
12th Feb 2015

Dear Mrs

We write to confirm that we have located fine wine assets under your name which have been within our bonded warehouse. The storage for your assets are now due for renewal and so can you please inform us how you wish to proceed. We can offer you an option to sell your case of wine and we have been approached by an interested buyer who would like to present a formal offer of £7,228.91.

If you are happy to accept this offer of sale, a fee of £722.89 will be due to cover fees for the sale of which we will complete on your behalf.

Should you have any further queries, please contact us on 0207 859 4313.

Kind regards

James Reynolds
Storage Management


Abbott Fielding/Grant Thornton – fake employees
This is a variant of the fake employees at London City Bond. This time the scamsters claim falsely to be employees the liquidators and for a fee can release clients' wines. Again this looks like advanced fee fraud. 

Message from Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited:
    
'Evolution of Conmen

I am writing to you to see whether you could give assistance, as we have noticed over the last week or so a worrying development in the evolution of conmen in relation to commodity fraud and in particularly wine fraud.

As you are aware I am the Liquidator of in excess of a dozen wine frauds, the vast majority have been dealt with by the Police.  We have had disturbing calls from creditors over the last 3 or 4 days, where creditors have been contacted by individuals purporting to be from Abbott Fielding and requesting they pay across a sum of money to release their wine.

I have contacted other insolvency practitioners and established that Grant Thornton have also been the victim where third parties have contacted creditors of companies they are dealing with alleging they are from Grant Thornton and requesting payment of small sums of money to release their goods.

We have contacted the relevant authorities to advise this and are currently collecting the names and phone numbers which will be forwarded on to the Police.

Nedim Ailyan
Abbott Fielding Limited






16 comments:

  1. Dear Jim
    what do you know about this company
    http://www.liquidopulence.com/contact/
    01787282425

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    Replies
    1. Lofty Converter9 March 2015 at 11:12

      Beware Liquid Opulence Ltd! - This is yet another wine investment scam company in Kent run by the same gang responsible for such scams as Bordeaux UK Ltd, Vin Bordelais Ltd and Consolidated Land UK

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  2. liquid opulence telephone number is
    0207 278 0397

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  3. UN Peacekeeper. I have already asked the question. I certainly cannot post your comment without convincing evidence.

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  4. Former Insolvency Practice employee10 March 2015 at 20:43

    Dear Jim

    Are you the "customer" of a thief who steals money from you? Of course not. Yet in your headline you write "Former EFW customers". This is very much a misnomer. The accurate description would be "[Former] EFW victims".

    Every person who was cold-called by EFW (European Fine Wines Ltd/ aka EF Wines) and subsequently "persuaded" to send money to EFW on the promise of being supplied with cases of wine in a bonded warehouse, was defrauded by those in charge of, and those working for, European Fine Wines Ltd. Those who were duped are all victims of fraud and theft. It is quite simply outrageous, not least ridiculous, that the Police have failed in their duty to investigate these crimes and make arrests.

    We already know that the directors of European Fine Wines Ltd also formed the directing mind and will of the massive land-banking fraud "the Property Partnership". Indeed the two shared the same offices at 11-13 Bromley Common, Bromley, Kent, appointed the same solicitor, Dale R Walker and employed the same recruiter and telesales staff trainer, Rebecca Tamlyn. The latter also played a pivotal role in setting up the Property Partnership scam in 2007 by acting as director, alongside the disgraced Gavin Gravesande, to no fewer than 6 separate companies, all under the company name "Ultraclass", and all trading as the Property Partnership.

    For evidence, just refer to: http://companycheck.co.uk/director/910739027

    Back in November 2006 the criminal Dina Snelling (currently locked up in prison serving a sentence for wine investment fraud) passed the Ultraclass Ltd baton to her colleague Rebecca Tamlyn: for evidence, refer to -

    https://opencorporates.com/companies/gb/04940563

    I urge BBC Panorama and/or Channel 4 Dispatches to set up camp in Bromley very soon. I am willing to give assistance and pass on the intelligence I have gathered.

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    Replies
    1. Dénonciateur de Bromley13 March 2015 at 17:04

      Looking at the list compiled on this website by Jim Budd, entitled, "Some companies from whom I might buy investment grade wines", how many of the companies in that list would welcome Panorama and Despatches to ask them how much business they have done over the last 15 years, supplying the wine investment scam companies named in the Jim Budd's other list, entitled "I wouldn't buy wine from these companies"?

      Is it not about time that the increasingly conspicuous silence of those in the former list about those in the latter list is investigated?

      Taking as an example/ sample just 4 of the most recent fraudulent wine investment companies - European Fine Wines Ltd, Bordeaux UK Ltd, Encarta Fine Wines Ltd and Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd, between them they took in about £60million from the "customers" they defrauded. Even though less than 10% of this revenue was actually used to buy wine for their "customers", it still means that approx. £5million was spent by those 4 companies on wine purchases. That represents huge EXTRA sales revenue for the wholesale suppliers, i.e. the "reputable/ above-board" wine merchants of London, without any effort or exertion on their part.

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    3. Jim
      Farr Vintners is one of the companies you have included in your list “Some companies from whom I might buy investment grade wines”.
      As such, please ask Stephen Browett, director of Crystal Palace Football Club and director of Farr Vintners Ltd how many times Jonathan Barr, Scott Assemakis and Gregory Assemakis of European Fine Wines Ltd have been corporate hospitality guests of Farr Vintners Ltd on match days at Selhurst Park stadium since 2010.

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  5. I would like to say congratulations as this website is not only misleading but extremely contradicting! You say that the companies you buy through are to be trusted yet many have and continue to have dealings with many of the companies on your list of "wouldn't trust" so which basket does that place the companies you advise to trust! As mentioned in the previous comment many companies recommended by yourself have deemed these alleged scam companies worthy of a business relationship!! They say LCB are one of most trusted names yet i have seen with my own eyes a client list from LCB that was allegedly sold to a UK based wine broker which could potentially answer the headline of this blog! I have also heard of LCB making genuine purchases/offers on clients stock on several occasions which leads me to ask - are they allowed to do this? if so this is more manipulative than that of any wine company previously mentioned on your blog! It seems you are not only making a name from peoples problems on this blog but potentially a comfortable profit too ie book sales, donations aswell as awards, the list continues! Are you discounted for advertising these recommended companies?Also I urge people to do there own research as i for one am not satisfied with your white knight approach! The companies you advise me to buy from are all very contradicting themselves as wine-searcher will show you. So can we really trust these companies or your word more importantly Jim? Because if we compare prices they aren't much different from the "crooks" you advise not to buy from! ALL OF THEM ARE OVERCHARGING!! Just a brief look on wine searcher will show you........
    PLEASE SEE following link -
    http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/haut+brion/2000/uk
    Haut Brion 2002 12x75cl I can buy from:
    Cult wines or Wilkinson for £4980
    Fine & Rare for £4989
    Farr Vintners £5000
    L'assemblage an incredible £6800
    Berry Bros for a whopping £7000.
    Had i listened to you and bought via the last 2 i could have paid nearly as much as 40%+ !!!!!!! What or who can justify that?
    So are you really helping people? Im unsure as 40% is a massive difference when buying for investment as you have mentioned on numerous occasions
    Mouton 2002 12x75cl
    Farr vintners and Corney & Barrow offer case for £2950
    Fine & Rare £3591 which is around 20% difference!
    Again its a hell of a lot when buying wine for investment! and again if we look @ Petrus 2002 £14000 with Wilkinson but fine & Rare £15,097! where does the difference come from?
    It appears very hypocritical from you if we look here
    Your previous Article -Thursday 5th March 2015
    Over-high valuations and Chinese sales
    Some like Lewis Samuels of Samuels & Parker Ltd are making remarkably high offers on portfolios. Samuels, based in Downham and Dubai, tend to claim that he has a Chinese buyer for these wines – unfortunately the Chinese buyer has a tendency to be rather fickle and change their mind. More recently he has also found a UK buyer to pay around £72,000 for a portfolio valued by another, long established broker at £55,000.
    Ok this isnt a defence for the mentioned organisation (without evidence i do not know) it doesn’t sound too good but i can say you are slandering a company yet you offer no proof of these allegations. Who is this long established broker? Is the offer really that remarkable as per the prices i quote above from companies you recommend? Surely it is around the same percentage as the companies you recommend - maybe even less? What is the difference between prices here from trusted or not trusted? What seperates good from bad? It cant be personal experience as ive had bad ones with many it doesn’t mean theyre scams
    So the truth is you cannot trust anyone, Dont rely on others as had i listened i would have bought a case of Haut brion 2000 for nearly twice as much!! If you want to become an expert in Wine there are courses to take! Other than that you are just taking a wild chance whether you listen to jim or a broker!

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  6. Anon. Thank you for your comment. Can I suggest you read what I actually write: 'Some companies from whom I might buy investment grade wines' – see your first para. As you are probably aware there is a considerable difference between selling wine to drink and cold calling and urging people to buy over-priced wine as an investment. The great thing about sites link wine-searcher is that there is now far greater price transparency than in the past.

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  7. The disparity in prices for first growths and wines like Petrus amongst the established sellers and those on Jim's list is mostly down to the collapse in fine wine prices over the past few years.

    Looking at your example - I assume you meant Haut Brion 2000 - had I purchased this wine at the top of the market, I'd have paid almost £7500. I can now get it, as you point out, for £4900

    Rather than ripping people off, I would imagine that companies like BBR purchased the HB 2000 they are now selling at near the top of the market and are unwilling to mark it down or sell at a loss

    Those selling at the lower levels are willing to take that loss or have marked their stock down or have purchased the wine since the collapse in price and can therefore offer it at a much lower price.

    Nothing sinister here, just the way the market works when prices tumble and why it can sometimes pay to be a broker rather than a stock holder like BBR.

    Fine & Rare for example hold little stock so their pricing simply reflects what they are being offered by their suppliers across Europe

    However, as pointed out above by others, there are questions to be asked regarding the relationship between some of these failed investment companies and those that supplied them with the wine that they did actually buy

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  8. Anon & Anon, you really haven't thought this through. The problem that Assemekis' poor customers face is that he and his merry men failed to fulfill their orders. Luckily they deigned to at least fulfill a few, and were able to do so because of suppliers like Farr. Think about it, Farr were a SUPPLIER. They are, by definition, part of the solution, not the problem. There are no questions to be answered.

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  9. how details
    Anon - a fair point.

    However for me, it depends how cosy the relationship is. If the supplier, and I'm not singling any one company out as I am sure more than one sold to these people, is aware of their customer's business practices (eg. cold calling bought in lists, massively inflated prices, unsuitable wines pushed as investments, etc, etc), then whilst there is nothing legally wrong with selling to them, to my mind, there is certainly a moral question involved - especially as the wines actually bought are often used to prepare the ground for further sales where wines are not purchased

    I guess it comes down to a debate about how well a supplier should know their customer and whether they have any kind of duty to ensure what they sell is not being mis-used or helping contribute to fraud.

    Whilst it wouldn't stop those fraudsters who never purchase any of the wine they've sold, were suppliers to make a concerted effort to get to know their customers and take a stand to not sell to anyone using iffy sales techniques, then it would make these frauds harder to pull off.

    Jim. I would be interested to know your take on this

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    Replies
    1. Anon. Apologies for the slow reply but I have been very occupied with the March edition of Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers.

      At the beginning of the 2000 decade I persuaded a number of merchants (20-30) to publicly refuse to supply wine investment scams, which at the time I called The Claret Web. Three leading companies declined to sign up to this initiative. Regarding the companies that signed up I don't know watertight the ban proved to be.

      Now I think it is down to individual companies to decide their stance, especially if they are aware that fraud is being committed. Do they wish to become an accessory to a fraud?

      Equally as Anon above points out companies like Farr can be scene as part of the solution as they are ensuring that some wine exists. Equally if the company only buys part of the wine that its clients order, the purchased wine becomes a smokescreen used to convince clients that wine does exist but what the client doesn't know is that the same case of wine may have been sold to a number of investors.

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  10. Below is an edited comment from Dénonciateur de Bromley. Although a company going into liquidation will appoint an insolvency practice to start the process, the actual decision to appoint a liquidator is down to the creditors. Often the liquidator appoint will be the one which the company approached but it does not have to be.

    In the case of a company wound up in the public interest eg The Bordeaux Fine Wine Company, it is The Insolvency Service who arranges the creditors’ meeting and the creditors who appoint an independent practitioner if that is what The Insolvency Service decided should happen.

    It is also worth noting that some of the gang behind Countrywide Land Holdings are now in jail. Ian Vanderhook of Bordeaux UK Ltd has been banned as a director as has Kenneth Gundlach of Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd.

    Dénonciateur de Bromley has left a new comment on your post "Watch out! Former EFW customers targeted by variet...":

    It is quite obvious from the evidence, that the number one choice of the Bordeaux wine investment fraudster community of Bromley and South East London is Nedim Patrick Ailyan, of Abbott Fielding - a sole practitioner insolvency practice registered in Bromley:

    23.11.2011 - The Bromley fraudsters behind Bordeaux UK Ltd voluntarily chose Nedim Ailyan (Abbott Fielding Ltd) as the company’s liquidator.

    05.03.2013 - The Bromley fraudsters behind Worldwide Wealth Collections Ltd voluntarily chose Nedim Ailyan (Abbott Fielding Ltd) as the company’s joint liquidator with David Anthony Ingram (Grant Thornton UK LLP) as the other joint liquidator.

    02.01.2014 - The Bromley and Croydon fraudsters behind Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd were taken over by the Official Receiver, before choosing David Anthony Ingram (Grant Thornton LLP) as the company’s liquidator on 09.04.2014.

    02.07.2014 - The Bromley fraudsters behind European Fine Wines Ltd voluntarily chose Nedim Ailyan (Abbott Fielding Ltd) as the company’s liquidator.

    20.08.2014 - The Bromley directors behind Encarta Fine Wines Ltd voluntarily chose Nedim Ailyan (Abbott Fielding Ltd) as the company’s liquidator.

    Then of course there are the fraudulent land-banking investment companies of Bromley for whom Nedim Ailyan acts as voluntary liquidator, e.g. 01.06.2011 he was appointed by Plateau Development & Land Ltd and then on 18.10.2011 he was appointed by Countrywide Land Holdings Ltd (which also traded as Regional Land). (Some of the gang is now in jail – Jim.)

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  11. Anon (11.4.15) Thank you but you certainly have the wrong person. Also remember that sales forces in boiler rooms almost invariably use false names.

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