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Wine fraud: banned director jailed after million pound con

Banned company director Spyros Constantinos has been sentenced to eight years in prison after tricking would-be wine investors out of an estimated £1m.

This sentence, handed out by a judge at London’s Old Bailey court this week, follows Constantinos’ conviction on 25 June on 10 counts that included running a fraudulent business, intent to defraud and acting as a company director while disqualified.

His trial lasted three weeks and was brought by Tower Hamlets Trading Standards.

An eight-year jail sentence is in the upper range of sentences given to wine investment fraudsters over the last decade. Constantinos compounded his fraudulent activities by running companies while banned as a director.

Following the collapse the Bordeaux Wine Consultants Ltd, Constantinos’ first wine investment company, he was banned from being a UK company director from 2008 to 2017. However, he acted as company director for several companies including Alpha Invest Worldwide, The Premier Bordeaux Wine Company and Classic Bordeaux Wines, which was based in Marbella.

Constantinos raked in around £1m from duped investors. Instead of buying wine, he spent money on himself and his family, including on holidays in San Francisco and New York.

One investor, Dr Norman Dearden, was defrauded of nearly £500,000, while another lost £250,000 of their life savings.

In March 2013, Constantinos commented on the investdrinks blog that the Premier Bordeaux Wine Company was ‘not a scam’ and that clients would get their money within six months.

Constantinos claimed he was let down by his fine wine supplier – a Russian based in Marbella.

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