A UK wine investment company that took millions of pounds of investors' money for wine it never had access to has been closed in the public interest.
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)
Written by Jim Budd