A crooked wine investment company has been closed by the UK High Court after ripping off customers for thousands of pounds.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is continuing its purge of companies that offer claret for vastly inflated prices and illegally offer investment advice.

On 30 January Liquid Acquisitions Ltd was wound up in the High Court following a two-day hearing. The court ruled that the company was deceitful in suggesting it represented an excellent investment opportunity. ‘The respondent’s business was dishonest,’ the judge concluded.

In September 2001 Liquid Acquisitions Ltd was offering a case of Château Latour 1996 at £4,707.50 (€7,735.35 ). It can currently be purchased elsewhere for around £1,700 (€2,800).

The DTI said, ‘The court found that the company’s sales representations were fraudulently deceptive and it applied a huge undisclosed mark-up on all sales whilst purporting to act in the purchaser’s interest. Many customers were dishonestly induced to purchase wine for investment purposes at two to three times its true value.

Liquid Acquisitions MD Andrew Dunne was ordered to pay the DTI’s costs which are expected to be not less than £25,000 (€41,000).

It is not known whether criminal charges will now be pressed against Dunne.

Written by Jim Budd4 February 2002