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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Prestige Fine Wine Ltd – meeting of creditors 25th February 2016

 

 

Prestige Fine Wine Ltd
(Company Number 07180289)

A message from Grant Thornton:
'A winding-up order was made in the public interest against Prestige Fine Wine Ltd, a wine investment company, on 15 December 2015.  The company had boasted on their website of returns of 166% on investment together with over 25 years of experience.
A meeting of creditors has now been convened specifically to appoint a liquidator in place of The Official Receiver. The first meeting of creditors has been scheduled for 25th February 2016 and will be held at 2pm at The Official Receiver’s offices at 4 Orchard Street, London .|

Any queries concerning the affairs of the company should be directed to The Official Receiver’s office in London.
Should you want advice on your options, please contact Samantha Street, a manager at Grant Thornton, at samantha.j.street@uk.gt.com or on 020-7728 2651.'

NB: investdrinks is happy to post similar messages from other companies interested in this liquidation. 

In December 2015 I posted a report on the winding up hearing of this 'pernicious' company. A company that wickedly persuaded an elderly man to part with £150,000 for non-existent shares in Prestige Fine Wine Ltd. It would be wonderful to see the perpetrators of this cruel and callous act in court.   


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Wine Register – 'a spring chicken' but already plucked?



Ashley Blair Register

Invoice issued by The Wine Register 
to Wickens & Co Ltd, Hong Kong: 19th May 2015


On 5th January 2016 I received a second complaint about wine ordered from The Wine Register, which has not been delivered. Stephen Wickens of Wickens & Co Ltd of Hong Kong contacted me about an order for 12 bottles of Penfolds Grange ordered on 19th May 2015. To date Wickens has not received this wine. Recently he has been unable to contact Register. I received the first complaint about The Wine Register back in November 2015. 

'The Wine Register is a spring chicken in the wine world, especially in comparison to some of the giants of the trade. While we clearly aim to grow we see our youth and current size as a real advantage as we aim to bring you the best service we can while at the same time offering very competitive prices.'

The Wine Register was founded on 29th August 2013. 31 year-old Ashley Blair Register is the sole director and the registered office is Linden House Court Lodge Farm, Warren Road, Chelsfield, Kent, BR6 6ER – not far from Bromley. The share capital is £100 with Ashley Register as the sole shareholder. No accounts have been filed – the first accounts have been overdue since 29th May 2015. The latest annual return was, however, filed on 7th October 2015.

However Ashley Register appears to have disappeared into the wastes of Chelsfield. Not only can Wickens not contact Register but nor can his storage company. I sent Ashley Register an email asking about the undelivered 2001 Grange – no response to date. 

Prior to setting up The Wine Register Register's Linkedin account cites working for Quintessentially Wine from 2009 to 2011 and Bordeaux Wine Investments from October 2011 to July 2013.
 
So although The Wine Register is a 'spring chicken' it looks as though it has already been plucked!  

Leaving a question for Ashley Registerincompetence or yet another Bromley associated scam?      


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Jancis Robinson MW and Nick Lander (Mr Jancis Robinson) do not sell wine!

Jancis Robinson MW 
@Montreux November 2014


Warning to wine producers and négociants: 

Jancis Robinson MW is one of the world's leading wine communicators. However, neither she nor Nicholas Lander, the restaurant critic and Jancis' husband, sell wine. This, however, has not stopped a fraudster or fraudsters pretending to be Nick Lander in order to scam producers out of wine. 

This is clearly a new twist to the unfortunately well established scam of pretending to be a wine buyer for an established UK wine company. 

There are clues from within the scam emails that this is a fraud. The most obvious is that the email address used editorials@jancirobinson.com misses the s in Jancis. Also the company name given is incorrect.

If you receive one of these scam emails do not reply. Instead please forward it to Jancis.

Jancis has contacted ActionFraud, so far to no avail. I am not surprised. Budget cuts to our police service must be affecting our police forces, who were already struggling to cope with the now huge amount of fraud around. If you pay for a Trabant you cannot expect a Bentley!


Here are extracts from Jancis' post on the scam emails:  
 
'2 June 2015 Early last Friday a wine merchant based in Carcassonne forwarded the following email to me from the subtly-different-from-ours email address, editorials at jancirobinson dot com (note the missing S on Jancis): 

Dear Sir, 
We are a company based in the united kingdom and We would like to inquire about your products (Food,Wine,Champagne,etc...) 

We will be very please to build a business relationship with your company on a long term contract.

So this will be at the same time an opportunity to establish a permanent business relationship.

We strongly believe in the principle of working together as partners.
In which everyone benefits - and these long-term relationships are vital to the continuing success of both parties.

So we would be appreciate if you could send us your price list of : Wine, Champagne, Whisky for our order confirmation.

And in the meantime, also open a credit line 14 days payment from date of invoice by credit insurance.

For more information please feel free to visit our website at http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles

Our terms of payment Strictly net 14 days payment from date of invoice after credit insurance this is not negotiable we are looking for wine suppliers to build strong relationships The key of success, both-parties-satisfied.

Thanks as we hope to establish a long business relationship with your company.
We are looking forwards to hear from you as soon as possible.

With best regards,

Nicholas Lander
Export Manager
JANCISROBINSON Ltd
Tel:+44 (0)8006891849
Fax:+44 (0)2080430299

Just above the telephone and fax numbers and the email addresses (none of them having any connection to us) is given our personal address and the number and VAT number of our company  - all of these details freely available from Companies House in the UK. 

Soon after receiving this I sent an email to editorials@jancirobinson.com telling whichever fraudster was behind the attempted scam to stop, pointing out it was highly damaging to the genuine JancisRobinson.com. Later that day a wine trader based in Spain kindly forwarded me an identical email he had received, together with the complete details of the header, IP address etc, which yielded frustratingly little.

I phoned the 0800 number at the bottom of the email and got a series of recorded messages such as 'For customer service press 1, for exports press 2' etc. I pressed 1 and, when no one answered, rang off. Less than 30 minutes later my phone rang (a very rare occurrence; I have almost entirely swapped phone for email) and a gentleman with a very deep, very unEuropean voice claimed, as soon as he heard my voice, to be seeking 'Pete in transport'. I challenged him, pointing out that I suspected he was the behind these scam emails. He insisted that he must have dialled a wrong number. I heard him looking down at my number (which begins 0207) and claiming he had wanted the same number that begins with 0208 (which does not, of course, exist as a genuine telephone number).

For a short while we were worried that our extremely securely stored list of email recipients had been hacked, since both of the first two merchants to bring this to our attention are members of JancisRobinson.com. But since then it has become clear that the fraudster has been accessing lists of wine traders based in continental Europe that have nothing whatsoever to do with us. And is still sending out these emails today, Tuesday.

Just in, for example, is this comment from Sarah Chadwick, who represents Dourthe, yet another recipient of the badly written email above:
'We receive scam emails similar to this regularly but normally taking the identity of BBR [Berry Bros & Rudd], Sainsburys, etc. This takes scamming to new heights.'

It is a well-known ruse for a fraudster to try to order and have delivered expensive wines and spirits to an accommodation address and then to scarper without paying for them. But this scam - attempting to establish credibility as a wine buyer by pretending to be my husband, the well-known 'export manager' of JancisRobinson.com, reaches new levels of stupidity. I spend quite a bit on wine admittedly, but in general wine writers are not known to be major purchasers of high-value wines and spirits. And, I would hope, quite a few of the recipients of this email would know that (a) I am not in the business of establishing long-term trading partnerships with wine merchants and (b) I do actually know how to spell and punctuate.

Please do forward any instances of this pernicious correspondence to editorial@jancisrobinson.com (sic) but for heaven's sake ignore it otherwise.

The latest update:

11 September 2015 Deep sigh. The action goes on. Several times a week we receive enquiries from people who have received similar emails supposedly from Nick and asking whether they are genuine. The fraudster always attempts to place huge orders. Whatever does he do with the goods that do arrive, I wonder? I have re-reported it to Action Fraud. Very frustrating.


Read the rest here. http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/scam-emails-purportedly-from-nick



Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The London Vines Ltd: the Liquidator's second report – deficit claims total £1.6 million



Screen shots from The London Wines Ltd website


The second report (1st November 2014 to 31st October 2015) from Findlay James, the liquidator of The London Vines, is now available. Although surprisingly poorly punctuated, it makes
very interesting reading it makes unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate creditors, who may be left with nothing.

Of particular interest is section 3:
'ASSET REALISATIONS
Misfeasance Claim
At the time of the last report, the liquidator had made an application to court for a charging order in the sum of £741,647.45*: An application was made to court for a charging order to be placed against the matrimonial property of both Barry and Amanda Gamble however the courts failed to apply the order prior to the Gambles selling the property. A judgment in default was made against Amanda Gamble in the sum of £179,236.61.

Further investigations into Barry Gamble's affairs showed that he owned an investment apartment in London. Ann application to court was obtained for a charging order in respect of the property. A charging order was duly obtained. 


The Liquidator presented a bankruptcy petition against Barry Gamble however Mr Gamble made a number of attempts to set aside the petition. Unfortunately a Bankruptcy Order has not yet be made against Mr Gamble.** A process server attended Mr Gamble's residential address on 04 September 2015 with a view to personally serving a copy of the sealed Petition together with the Order of Judge Bishop, which adjourned the Petition hearing to 13 October 2015. The process server was unable to effect personal service and produced a Statement of Non-Service.

In the light of the above, we instructed an agent to attend the hearing of 13th October 2015 to obtain a further adjournment which would allow us time to make an application to the court for a substituted service of the Petition. However the District Judge was content to make an Order for substituted service at the hearing and ordered that service of the sealed Petition together with a sealed copy of his Order by first class pre-paid post would be deemed good and sufficient service on the seventh day after posting. Accordingly, on 16 October 2015, a sealed copy of the Petition was duly posted to Mr Gamble and will have been deemed to be served 27 October 2015. The Bankruptcy hearing return date is listed for 08 December 2015 at 11.30 and a Bankruptcy Order will be sought at the return hearing.** 

A settlement was reached last year with Robert and Sylwia Phillips whereby it was agreed that £90,000 would be paid by 19 January 2015. It was intended that they would release funds by way of a re-mortgage of the matrimonial property. The due date passed and the funds were not paid. Further negotiations ensued and it was agreed that the Liquidator would accept £71,000 in full settlement of all claims against both Robert & Sylwia Phillips. Funds were received on 29 January 2015. The reason that the Liquidator accepted the figure was that these funds were being raised by family assistance and that if we did not accept; it was likely that Robert Phillips would present his own bankruptcy petition as he was unable to raise funds on his property.'


Other aspects of the second report: 
No preferential creditor claims as 'There were no known formal employees of the company'.

The Company banked with Lloyds Bank PlC. 'The bank account was closed with a credit balance and as such the bank isn't a creditor.'

'Trade and Expense Creditors
The director's estimated statement of affairs at the outset of the liquidation provided the level of unsecured trade and expense creditor claims to be £458,580.38. This figure is comprised mainly of customers who had contacted Findlay James as they heard through third parties that the company was in financial difficulties and had contacted Private Reserves/Octavian in order to establish whether wine which they believed that they owned was actually being held by them. £458,580.38 was the quantum of the claims submitted prior to our appointment as Liquidator.

Following our appointment it became apparent that there would be many customers who did not know that the company was in liquidation. Due to the fact that there were no electronic customer records, all of the contact details from paper invoices and correspondence were logged onto our systems. Notices were sent to all known customers of the London Vines. The sending of this notice generated a large volume of written and telephone enquiries from worried customers who were asked to contact Private Reserves in the first instance to establish whether their wine portfolios were stored with them. At the date covered Findlay James had received claims of £1,636,441.73 from trade and expense creditors, the majority of which are The London Vines Limited Customers.'

Bad news for creditors:

'6. Dividend Prospects
Based on present information, it is unlikely that there will be sufficient funds available to enable me to declare a dividend to any class of creditor in this matter. The position may change once a bankruptcy order (**) is made against Mr Barry Gamble. A Trustee will investigate what happened to the funds from the sale of the matrimonial property. It will also be considered following the outcome of Barry Gamble's bankruptcy if it is also worthwhile presenting bankruptcy proceedings against Amanda Gamble.'         

8. Conclusion of the Liquidation
The Liquidation cannot yet be brought to a close until matters against the Directors and shareholders have been finalised. As explained in the report we are still waiting to bankrupt Mr Barry Gamble and ascertain whether he has any assets which can be personally recovered from him. If there is success in recovering funds from him, the Liquidator will consider whether there is scope to issue bankruptcy proceeding against Amanda Gamble too.' 


* In his first report (17th December 2014) the Liquidator reported that they had obtained a default judgment against Barry Gamble for £741,647.45.

**
  This has now happened. At a hearing on 8th December 2015 at Croydon Court, Barry Gamble was made personally bankrupt.  


Report on Barry Gamble's personal bankruptcy here

Unfortunately as usual the only people who appear to have made money out of the liquidation of The London Vines Ltd are the liquidators and the lawyers. Clearly liquidators and lawyers have to be paid for their work but it does seem wrong that the creditors are likely end up with nothing.