UK court closes wine investment firm with millions owed
- Thursday 27 February 2014
Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd (BFW) was shut down by the High Court in London this week, following a petition from the UK Government’s Insolvency Service.
Its only director and shareholder, 30-year-old Kenneth Gundlach, didn’t show up in court.
But, Gundlach admitted in a written statement that he failed to buy sufficient wine and that his team of cold-callers inflated wine prices by up to 60% when on the phone to potential investors.
‘It is clear that the company has very little wine to meet the demands of customers with a shortfall possibly of £12m,’ said David Greene, partner of Edwin Coe LLP, which represents creditors owed around £3m.
The UK tax office, HMRC, is owed close to £8m.
The court heard that a police investigation is underway into the firm, which was placed into liquidation in December.
Although BFW claimed a trading address in Portman Square in Central London, its self-employed telesales staff operated from an office in Croydon. Some of them used false names, the court heard.
BFW accounts show a shareholder’s dividend between 2010 and 2012 of £10.68m. Company turnover was £19.3m in 2012.
The firm sponsored the Racehorse Owners Association’s horseracing awards in 2012, and Gundlach’s own horse, named ‘andhesontherun’, won its debut race at Leicester last year.
(Editing by Chris Mercer)