Insolvency service unravels Wine investment fraud

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8 inter linking firms that sold wine investments and carbon benefits have been wound up by the High Court following in-depth investigations by the Insolvency service.

The court heard how employees of Blakeney Bridge Wines would contact potential investors using hard sell cold call techniques, persuading them that any investment made would be safe and that by investing in their schemes, they would be ‘picking the pockets’ of affluent spenders from countries such as China and Russia.

Wines were then sold to investors for up to 89% more than its actual price paid by Blakeney Bridge. It is estimated around £1.5m was raised from sales of wine to the public for investment.

The inter linking companies were named as Blakeney Bridge Wine Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Ltd, London Carbon Neutral Ltd, Savi IT Ltd & KMD Energy solutions Ltd, all located in Croydon. There were two companies located in the British Virgin Islands whilst a further one, Earthsky Ltd, was located in Chelmsford, Essex.

One elderly couple was reported to have lost almost £1.2m and taken all their life savings.

Chris Mayhew of the Insolvency Service who headed the investigation said “This was a significant boiler room operation”

He warned “The Insolvency service will not allow rogue companies to rip off vulnerable and honest people and, working closely with other regulators, we will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating or about to operate against the public interest”

The man heading the sales operations was named as Jason Chalk. Other Directors were  names as Richard Allen and Philip Watkins who claims his title to be Lord Watkins.

It was said that the investigators found it easy to locate their offices in Croydon as the car park was full of Porsches.

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