News Article

Legislation & Litigation

Fine wine scammer gets maximum directors disqualification

By CreditMan Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kenneth Jean Pierre Gundlach, the director of Bordeaux Fine Wines Limited, a company which sold wine to members of the public, has been disqualified from promoting, managing or directing a limited company until 2030 for failing to purchase at least £9.3 million of wine sold to investors.

In the undertaking given to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Mr Gundlach accepted that he had failed to purchase and/or allocate at least 1,750 cases of wine to satisfy purchases made by its customers. His disqualification is for 15 years, the maximum period available.

Investigators noted that Mr Gundlach had received dividends from the company totalling over £10 million and found that this was in excess of the value of the wine the company ought to have purchased for its customers

Commenting on this case Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:

It was Mr Gundlach and his salesmen who benefited from this company rather than its honest investors. He continued to sell wine when he knew he had failed to fulfil earlier sales. Anyone showing such blatant disregard for commercial morality should expect to be banned from running any limited company for a lengthy period time.

The disqualification follows investigation by the Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service. Mr Gundlach used the dividends he received from the company to fund his lifestyle which included payments for performance cars, race horses (including Bunbury Cup winner Field of Dream), private jet hire, and designer clothing and jewellery. Mr Gundlach continued to market and sell wine to existing investors at a time when he knew or ought to have known that those investors had still not been allocated the cases of wine they had previously purchased from the Company.

Bordeaux Fine Wines Limited was wound up in the public interest on 26 February 2014 following an earlier investigation by the Investigations and Enforcement Services division of the Insolvency Service.

Commenting on the case, Vicky Bagnall, director of Investigations and Enforcement Services at the Insolvency Service, said:

These excellent results show that where the public have been scammed we do not stop at winding the company up, we also pursue the individual directors to ensure that if they wish to trade again, they must do so at their own risk.

Source - Press release Insolvency Service