Wine Name:

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Good news: 'Nuisance call fines increase threefold'

Clampdown on cold calls: report from BBC News

'Fines by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) against nuisance call firms have increased by more than three times this year.

The watchdog imposed fines of £1.14m for nuisance calls and texts compared with £330,000 of penalties in 2014.

It comes after a change to the law in April made it easier to penalise firms.

The biggest fines were for companies selling pharmaceuticals, call blocking services and payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation.'

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

‘Pernicious’ Prestige Fine Wine Ltd shut in public interest

Prestige Fine Wine: 
'In the past five years, a balanced fine wine collection 
portfolio has shown returns of 166%'

On Wednesday 16th December 2015  Croydon-based Prestige Fine Wine Ltd was wound up in the public interest in the High Court, London. The company, described as ‘pernicious’ by Registrar Sally Barber, was wound up for ‘its lack of commercial probity’, failure to keep financial records and that it had been abandoned, despite still having a duty to investors who purchased wine as these are held in an umbrella account at London City Bond.    

The company was founded in March 2010 with £1 share capital. The initial director was 46-year-old Glenn Barrington Ward (DOB: 20.7.1969) of Flat 6, 20 Spencer Road, South Croydon CR2 7EH, who was appointed on 5th March 2010. Ward has also been a director of Prestige Collections Ltd (see below) and Bright Hand Car Wash Ltd founded on 6th February 2008 and dissolved by compulsory strike-off on 22nd September 2009. No accounts or returns were filed.

Glenn Ward resigned on 22nd September 2014 and was replaced on the same day by 24-year-old Ibrahim Tarkou (DOB: 13.2.1991)

Prestige's single share was initially held the company's secretary until she resigned in October 2012 when it passed to Glenn Barrington Ward. The last return filed on 9th April 2014 showed Glenn Ward as the sole shareholder (£1). There is no record of the share being transferred to Tarkou when Ward resigned in September 2014.  

Spencer Road was company's initial registered office. This was changed to 100 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5NQ, a serviced office, in May 2010. In October 2013 the registered office changed to Anova House, Wickhurst Lane, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, East Sussex RH12 3LZ. This is the address of Anova chartered accountants, who were for a while accountants for Prestige Fine Wine. Anova ceased to be Prestige's accountants as the company's accounts were so poor. There was a further change in October 2014 when Prestige Fine Wine Ltd's registered office moved to Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon CRO OXZ. The company had no physical presence there and this arrangement ceased on 4th February 2015. Thereafter there is no record of a functioning registered office.

Although there is no suggestion that Prestige Fine Wine Ltd was linked to Blakeney Bridge Wines Ltd and its associated raft of carbon credit companies, also recently closed in the public interest, were registered at Airport House.     

Prestige Fine Wine Ltd was initially put into provisional liquidation on 13th October 2015.  There was no response from the company or its current director - Ibrahim Tarkou  – to the Insolvency Service’s investigation or to the provisional liquidation even though papers were sent to Ibrahim Tarkou's home address. 

However, Glenn Ward, the previous director, was in contact with the Insolvency Service. He told the investigation that a second company – Prestige Collections Ltd – was being operated through Prestige Fine Wine Ltd. This could not be verified as there were no records.  

Prestige Collections Ltd was founded on 19th October 2011 and dissolved through compulsory strike-off on 16th July 2013. Its registered office was 205 High Street, West Wickham, Kent, United Kingdom, BR4 0PH – the address of accountants Withall & Co Ltd. There were four directors: Catherine Elizabeth Ellis (DOB: 15.8.1985), Laureen Veronica Delisser (14,9.1983), Clive George Davidson (DOB: 3.9.1971) and Glenn Barrington Ward. Davidson was appointed on 19th October 2011 and resigned on 8.11.2011. No accounts or returns were filed and the company was dissolved on 16th July 2013

The court heard that diamonds were the business of Prestige Collections Ltd. Glenn Ward alleged that Clive Davidson 'ran off with £1 million of the company's money'. However, the court was told that this allegation could not be verified. Registrar Barber and Counsel for the Secretary of State expressed concern that this arrangement involving the two companies was a potential conduit for money laundering.   

The company's website claimed: 'In the past five years, a balanced fine wine collection portfolio has shown returns of 166%'. The court heard that no data backed this claim. 

Potential investors were cold called and told that the value of their wines would increase dramatically within a year. Some were quoted 15%, others a minimum of 20%.  These figures were fictional and based on no data. Investors were told that their purchases of wine would be 'a short-term investment'.  

Investors were misled by false portfolio reports, which showed that their wines had increased from between 3.2% to 5.4% in less than a month. These fictional reports were solely designed to persuade investors to purchase more wine. This practice was described as 'pernicious' Registrar Barber.   

One investor purchased three cases of wine on 16th December 2013. They were sent the portfolio report on 6th January 2014, which showed healthy increases on all of their three wines. These increases were not based on any real data – instead were made up figures. Unfortunately the portfolio report achieved its purpose and the investor bought a further £10,000 worth of wine on 20th January 2014. At this time Glenn Barrington Ward was the sole director of the company.  

The company was more than 'pernicious' when an elderly man with Alzheimer's was persuaded to buy non-existent 'shares' in Prestige Fine Wine Ltd  paying out £150,000 for which he received absolutely nothing.  He was told that he 'should hold these shares for as long as possible'. Records at Companies House show no increase in the company's share capital. I hope criminal charges are brought against those responsible for this unspeakably callous act.

Some £2 million passed through the company’s bank account. Of this £963,000 was identified by investigators as personal expenditure. 



Saturday, 12 December 2015

Barry Gamble declared bankrupt – Croydon Court Tuesday 8th December 2015

Above: Tuesday 8th December 2015 Court listing at Croydon County Court and the Family Court for five-minute hearing of a creditor's petition against Barry Gamble at 11.30 am.

Discharge suspended – an error

 Automatic discharge: 08 December 2016

The result: Barry Michael Gamble of Tadworth (last known address) declared bankrupt with his discharge suspended 

Although not confirmed Barry Gamble's bankruptcy is a result of the successful Misfeasance Claim brought by solicitors acting for Findlay James, the liquidator of The London Vines Ltd, a failed wine investment company. Barry Gamble was the sole director of The London Vines Ltd (appointed 26.1.2010 – resigned 9.4.2013) for much of its life. Alisdair Findlay of Findlay James was appointed on liquidator of The London Vines Ltd on 31st October 2013. 

In the first Liquidator's report (17.12.2014) Findlay reported that:

'Following an analysis of the company bank statements  for the period 1 February to the date of liquidation it was discovered that large sums of money had been paid to the shareholders and relatives of shareholders for which there were no records to substantiate the payments. Despite writing to each of the individuals involved, none were able to provide satisfactory responses and as such I instructed solicitors to commence recovery proceedings. A claim was drafted against Barry Michael Gamble, Robert Scott Phillips, Amanda Sarah Gamble, Sylwia Phillips, and David Phillips. An offer of £27,000 was made and accepted in respect of the claim against David Philiips in the sum of £33,776.'

'A judgement in default was obtained against Barry Gamble in the sum of £741,647.45.'

Interestingly on 3rd June 2015 Gamble described the liquidation of The London Vines and the Misfeasance Claim as fraudulent: 'regarding the fraudulent insolvency of The London Vines and subsequent fraudulent and false claim'.

Gamble put this view to the test on 17th September in Birmingham seeking to  to have the default judgment overturned. He failed, so English Law confirmed the Misfeasance in the running of the company – in common parlance the 'removal of large sums of money' from The London Vines Ltd by its directors and shareholders with 'no records to substantiate the payments' and with no satisfactory explanations indicates that this was a scam. Now this has led to Barry Michael Gamble's bankruptcy (8th December 2015). 

The Liquidator's December 2014 report also stated that: 'We are still awaiting confirmation from the Court of Judgment in default against Amanda Gamble in the sum of £179,263.61.' It is not known what the current status of this potential judgment against Amanda Gamble is. The Liquidator's second report due by the end of this year may shed more light. 

I understand from Barry Gamble that he is appealing against the default judgment.