Revealed: Fine wine investment firm drains ‘millions’ from clients

6th February, 2015 by Neal Baker - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3 4

An exclusive db investigation uncovers the full story behind London-based fine wine investment consultants APW Asset Management, and the clients that have invested millions with next to nothing in return.

wine_cellar_rackAPW Asset Management was set up to persuade UK investors to invest in Australian wine, with the company promising that healthy profits could be made in a short space of time on cases of wine purchased through them.

However, the company is facing liquidation, as db learns that a firm named Quantuma – which was approached to take over London-based APW at the end of 2014 – is unable to put it in administration due to the “uncertainty of the situation”.

Speaking to numerous clients, industry figures and companies close to APW’s operations as part of an exclusive db investigation, we can reveal:

  • APW has links to Sydney, Australia in the form of a failed investment scheme named Australian Portfolio Wines, as well as other fine wine flops.
  • Unsuspecting clients were lured in by ‘aggressive’ techniques and ‘cold-calling’ that promised ‘wildly overestimated’ returns on wine.
  • APW were the sole UK importers for many of the wines they advised clients to buy, giving the company a double-profit and free-reign when it came to valuations.
  • Some clients invested tens of thousands of pounds, and got ‘less than half back’. One client we spoke to invested £100,000 but has got nothing in return.
  • Client’s wines are now trapped in storage with auctioneers (drafted in to help clients recover their investment) left to clean up the mess. One insider told us, ‘There could be up to £25 million involved’.
  • Some APW employees have moved on to a new investment firm, UK Agora, who are calling clients saying they can help them with their APW wine after they purchase new wine through them.
  • City of London Police is ‘assessing the case’.

apw3As APW faces liquidation, the wines that it billed as the quick way to financial success are frozen.

Potentially several thousand cases are locked in warehouses while clients – and the numerous auctioneers and wine trading websites willing to help – are left seemingly stranded.

The wine has been locked in storage as Quantuma, the company-restructuring firm brought in by APW unexpectedly in December 2014, attempts to clear debts rung up by the company throughout its decade-long existence in the UK.

However, db learns that Quantuma are likely to recommend complete liquidation of APW. This hasn’t been confirmed to db, despite several attempts over many weeks to speak directly to the company.

London City Bond (LCB), the wine storage firm used by APW, is owed “substantial” fees from APW, according to one client who contacted db. We have also learned, from a former APW employee, that the figure owed to LCB could be around “six-figures”.

LCB have confirmed that they are indeed owed money from APW and have blocked its clients’ wine from release until a resolution can be found.

6a00e54fc8012e88330133ee4b30f9970bMeanwhile, former APW salesmen are calling their old clients on behalf of a new company called UK Agora, suggesting that they can assist by taking responsibility of their wine and advising that more wine be purchased through this new company.

Clients have been in touch with the police, who have confirmed to db that APW is being “assessed” by the City of London National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, who will report back to the supposed victims by the middle of this month.

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35 Responses to “Revealed: Fine wine investment firm drains ‘millions’ from clients”

  1. James Baker says:

    Lets hope something can be done to prevent this from ever happening again! James, Biddle & Webb

  2. John McGeehan says:

    I worked for a sister company of these cowboys for a few weeks back in 2007 and saw first hand what they were doing whilst doing my induction at their head office before I left in disgust. i really felt for the poor sales staff who were all sat in a high pressure sales room with a bloke sitting on the end barking orders at them, it was awful and certainly didn’t do the amazing wines they were dealing with any justice at all and probably damaged the producers of said wines’ reputations too. I’m glad APW going out of business, they’re a disgrace.

  3. Annonymouse says:

    Professionally we have advised many clients with enquiries about APW stock to ensure they get their wines under their control for years as a precaution. Ever since we saw the records of a similar Australian based APW company that went under. Had the “pleasure” of hearing their tactics first hand when we helped a client gain control over their own assets. I am glad now that we did.

    The hopeful part of us is praying that consumers get behind these “investment” wines and realise that they are all fabulous wines, just bought at an inflated price. If demand for them picks up (hugely) then maybe some of the investors will get some returns! The majority are great wines ripe for drinking now, and largely available at astonishing prices, at least relative to bigger names in the premium Aussie circuit.

  4. Hugo Rose MW says:

    Your lenghty coverage shows all too clearly the complex and painful reality of dealing with the aftermath of a failed wine company where customers’ stocks are involved. The unethical sales practices described appear to have added to the likely significant write-down of clients’ assets. It is to eliminate the potential for such outcomes that the Wine Investment Association was formed in 2013. Members must adhere to the WIA Code, demonstrating that they do not ‘cold call’, that they do not give unverifiable valuations and that they ensure that title to purchased wine is transferred immediately to the buyer. Had APW complied with these requirements then we would not be were we are today. It is time that the trade gave its support to the Association’s efforts to regulate the wine investment sector.

  5. Andy says:

    What a mess! @John, that sounds really bad!

    “Clients have been in touch with the police, who have confirmed to db that APW is being “assessed” by the City of London National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, who will report back to the supposed victims by the middle of this month.” – I hope everything works out.

  6. James Baker says:

    According to Quantumo, the Aministrators/Liquidators this is the latest: ‘A meeting to place the company into liquidation is currently being convened for 6 March.’

    That is the most up to date info.

    James, Biddle & Webb

  7. A further update:

    The creditors’ meeting to appoint the liquidator will be held on 6th March 2015 at the Holiday Inn, High Wycombe starting at 10.30.

    Lionel Nierop
    http://www.bidforwine.co.uk

  8. Paul Heath says:

    I have been in touch with LCB last week, who confirm that they will not release wine as they have not been instructed to by APW!!! why would they? however, having sent them records of my wine holdings, copy of their own rotation received, one of my accounts is missing and can’t account for by LCB, or seem too concerned. Are we sure that all our wine is accounted for?

  9. Roger Keach says:

    What a terrible outcome the APW debacle is . Having been involved with this company for several years by investing and realizing that something wasn’t quite right , it is unbelievable that people were continually being drawn into this web. I asked a salesman how he got my name to call , he said ‘ Market Research ‘ . What companies are giving out names of people with information of their status ? Unfortunately a lot of people were tempted to find a way of putting any finance into an investment that would yield a bit better returns than the banks and building societies could provide during the ‘recession years ‘ , this is where APW claimed a foothold . Many people were ‘ advised ‘ that investing in ‘Blue Chip Fine Wine ‘ was an investment and even if future financial returns did not increase the least would be receiving back the ammount paid . All investors took APW into their confidence , we were told that the recession had slowed down sales . Wine investment seemed a good alternative / idea . APW seemed a helpful company , the wines sounded so good . What a tragedy for so many , losing so much . We can only hope for a ‘ reasonable ‘ outcome .

  10. Michael Peacock says:

    I attended the meeting on 6th March – I am one of the many TWO HUNDRED been there got the Tshirt EX investors with APW – We ALL got ripped off.
    1) Never ever agree to complete a telephone survey for so called market research – this I understand from another ex investor I met at the meeting is how APW ‘paid for’ numbers.
    2) Over a period from May 2009 until my final purchase in July 2012 I was ripped off to a total of £28,108.
    3) They were always quick to take your money but if you ever tried to sell – oh don’t get me started.
    4) Thank goodness I at least had a modicum of common sense and did NOT cash in my entire shares portfolio – IF I had been entirely sensible that £28 would now be worth in excess of £50k you have to be a complete idiot NOT to make money by private share investing – you only require common sense.
    5) Eight cases of wine purchased between Oct 2011 & July 2012 were never delivered to the UK – for years I was fobbed off by Roberto that the wine would be delivered – that is essentially £6742 written off.
    6) The final straw was in Feb 2013 when a cheque for £1387.50 bounced for the only sale APW made – eventually after me screaming down the phone & visiting that swanky office I did receive payment – I then instructed APW to sell all my collection – total dis-interest. Oh love this ‘Mr Peacock this is the first time a cheque has been returned’ Total lies on forums elsewhere there is comment about bounced cheques.
    7) I hit the alarm button last year when an investigation was declared – see other forums – I soon got ‘off the record’ advice from another wine bureau to get my wine transferred to a private client account – I did it took two weeks, the form to achieve transfer that I downloaded from APW was out of date.
    8) Roberto let slip last year that the OZ wine market bubble had burst several years before my first purchase in 2009 – so he KNEW he was selling essentially a corked collection of wine – IF only in 2009 I had just spent a few minutes on google – even way back then warning bells were being declared via forums etc.
    9) Fortunately I was able to finally find ANYONE interested in making a ‘indicative’ offer for my collection of £15k so I will potentially be loosing £10k but that is surely better than the majority of the 200 investors that did not transfer their collections to a private account.
    10.1) Summary from meeting: Sole director of APW declared that a potential buyer had been found – another meeting will now occur within fourteen days – essentially the only assets of APW is the wine held by clients – Quantuma LLP were in attendance.
    10.2) Approx 38,000 cases of wine – 200 investors.
    10.3) The final payments of £200,000 made in good faith to APW in late 2014 was NOT passed on to LCB – Lionel Nierop from Bid for Wine ( lionel@bidforwine.co.uk 01207 183 3985 – 07762 566894 ) in attendance of behalf of ex APW clients declared that auctions has been halted and now LCB can exercise it’s right to sell the wine to re-cover costs.
    10.4) One creditor declared he would cover the £5000 costs to force the company into liquidation this will be discussed at the next meeting.
    10.5) The priority of ALL ex customers has to be as a priority:
    Bite the bullet & repay the storage fees on approx £22k ‘value’ storage fees were £956 – a price worth paying.
    Transfer ALL to a private client account.
    10.6) Can only occur if a new buyer is found – no idea if the liquidation route will enable 10.5 to occur.
    10.7) Finally if anyone noting this is fortunate in having wine in their private account I recommend Aston Lovell Ltd (http://www.astonlovell.com/ ) – they were the only response with ANY offer – and delighted that a buyer has just been found for part of my collection.
    FYI from another forum: James Baker at Biddle and Webb in Birmingham have auctioned off wines held by APW clients. Maybe worth getting in touch for advice. email wine@biddleandwebb.com
    Reply

    SCAM FOOTNOTE:

    3rd March 2015 from LCB ( Yes I was contacted by an EX APW – the second word was off, I knew within seconds who it was, the SAME lightning speed hard sell tactic ).
    Dear Customer

    I wish to update you further regarding our recent communications concerning attempted scams being experienced by some of our customers.

    We have recently received reports that some customers have been contacted by telephone from individuals claiming to work for Abbott Fielding, who are the appointed company dealing with the Liquidation of European Fine Wines. Please be aware that Abbot Fielding are not making these calls and should you receive such a call please contact Carol Hooper at Abbott Fielding on telephone number 020 8302 4344.

    Again, we would encourage you to be extra vigilant, and if in doubt about any matter relating to your account our dedicated Customer Services team, here at LCB Vinotheque, can be contacted on 0843 659 3617 or vtcustomerservices@lcb.co.uk.

    You may also find the following link to the website of Jim Budd, an independent wine writer, of interest to you http://investdrinks-blog.blogspot.co.uk

    Regards

    David Hogg
    Sales Director

  11. Clare Sandford says:

    WARNING: DO NOT sell any wine to UK Agora – They are simply a bunch of ex-APW employees who are now targeting the same customers (they originally ripped off) and are now offering incredibly low values for your / our wines. Moreover, they are stripping out any wines which have some value attached. Please, please avoid at all costs…!!

  12. Clare Sandford says:

    I have sold off my entire portfolio to Stuart at The Vinorium / Z&B Vintners – stuart@zandbvintners.com – The price I received for my portfolio from Stuart far exceeded anything an Auction House would have delivered (factoring in their commissions etc.) Stuart’s service was excellent and I received the funds the same day the wines were transferred to his LCB account.

  13. Rod Berkins says:

    Claire,

    My experience with UK Agora has been nothing but professional.

    Z&B Vintners have been buying wines at rock bottom prices from APW clients for years, a long time before the went into administration.

    When i was recently approached i was offered the opportunity to sell wines through Z&B – I contacted my broker at UK Agora and they offered a better price.

    It is always worth while to shop around and i would advise everybody to do the same.

    Rod

  14. Stuart McCloskey says:

    Open forums are fantastic for transparency however; they are equally easy to manipulate too…

    I reject your assertion outright as we have never dealt with a Rod Berkins. Moreover, your statement is an extraordinary coincidence following my email to UK Agora (Ex-APW staff) of 11 March 2015 in which I expressed my disgust that an elderly gentleman was conned into spending over £100,000 and never received his Duhart Milon, Mouton & Lafite Rothschild. Sadly, his family were left to clear up this utter disgrace after he died from terminal cancer. Along came UK Agora and completely cleared the portfolio of any value and left utter rubbish behind. UK Agora transferred £12,500 whereas the customer would have achieved £25,000+ from most respectable wine merchants. Granted, it’s a far cry from the original capital outlay however; re-targeting the same customers is… Well,I am lost for words….

  15. As a further twist in the tale APW have apparently broken ties with Quantuma and are using ‘ReSolve LLP’ to seek an administration….

  16. Stuart McCloskey says:

    I spoke with Nick Simmonds from Quantuma this morning who confirms the Courts (late yesterday) granted a winding up order (in the best interest of the public). Resolve have resigned and Quantuma are back on-board, which is great news for the investors’

  17. Paul Heath says:

    GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!. A Winding up order has been granted by the court-“in the public interest” against APW.

    I have been informed, today, that the court, yesterday, granted a “Winding up Order” in the public interest against APW. ReSolve , who had replace Quantuma, to act on behalf of APW have resigned, the directors’ of APW are no longer in control of the liquidation of the company. This is very good news. It means that Quantum can start the liquidation process, once formally appointed; this will involve a through audit of clients’ holdings against what is held by LCB to identify title and allow the transfer of wine into individual accounts. By retaining Quantuma, this will save 3 months of work already undertaken, that would have been lost if ReSolve had taken over. The other good news is that at the adjourned meeting of creditors held yesterday in High Wycombe, 20 attended. At that meeting I introduced Stuart McClosky of Z&B Vinorium base in Kent who I meet from these Tweets. Stuart outlined a rescue plan that he and his team are willing to undertake, firstly to assist Quantuma with the audit, using his own team with knowledge of the workings of LCB which can only assisting in speeding up the process and secondly to then assist creditor’s on an individual level, to advice on what they want to do with their wine. We are assured there is no fee. Quantuma and Stuart have been in contact to arrange a meeting for them to plan the rescue, and I assume a meeting of creditors’ will follow to update and vote on the proposal. Any further information please email Stuart at: stuart@zandbvinters.com

  18. James Baker says:

    APW have been placed into liquidation yesterday in Manchester. James, Biddle & Webb.

  19. James Baker says:

    A further creditors meeting will follow in due course. James, Biddle & Webb.

  20. Stuart McCloskey says:

    Please be extra careful…

    This email was sent by Nicholas Gibbs of UK Agora at 15 July 2015 at 17:14 (followed by phoning the poor investors’)

    Quantuma response “We have received similar updates from a number of other investors. Very concerning, and we will be taking appropriate action to ensure it is dealt with”

    Dear Client,

    We hope you are well.

    We have an update regarding the APW/Quantuma situation.

    A large institutional client of UK Agora’s managed to remove his APW wines before they went into administration off of the back of our advice. However, he still has around 40 cases inside the APW London City Bond account which were not moved.

    After putting significant pressure on Quantuma they have informed him that he can expect to receive his wines as they are not classed as APW’s asset.

    Like you, he has provided full proof of purchase which has helped Quantuma identify what wines belong to him. Your wines are stored within a sub account inside APW’s main account which makes your wines easy to identify. (Should you be unsure of your account reference please check your APW paperwork. It normally consists of your first and last initial followed by a few numbers).

    Fortunately for clients APW did actually purchase the majority of the wines they recommended. The wines we are aware they did not purchase are; Chateaux Lafite Rothschild, Yara Yerring and the Torbreck Laird 2008.

    This comes as fanatic news as it means that your verticals and other collectible positions remain intact! This news has added some relief to those clients who were unsure of what the outcome would be.

    I have also been given an idea of the time scale this process will take. But at this point I feel that it is probably not worth mentioning until I have an exact date.

    We will continue to keep you up-to-date on this matter.
    UK Agora

  21. Stuart McCloskey says:

    I must add that I have been nominated as one of five members who sit on the APW Liquidation Committee…

    • Matt says:

      Stuart, is there any update on APW? I “invested” a number of year ago and almost forgot about it. I there a register of investors or some why to find out if the wines we think we purchased were in fact purchased and are still there? Thanks, Matt

  22. Dean Henson says:

    All,

    We are trying to investigate the wine market in depth and link to various negative patterns that we feel have not been broken. Particularly relevant as the cycle seems to perpetuate seeing APW under Chima Maduabuchukwu being wound up in 2015. Of course I sympathise for your losses to these cowboys.

    It seems that there is a chance all of these incidences could be orchestrated by the same indiviuduals and that is where we wish to focus. For example all the way back in early 2000 we had Boignton and Frederick s and City Vintners closed in the public interest, one under the directorship of Frederick Achom, whose brother was a co director of a company along with Chima Maduabuchukwa, Rosemont overseas Limited.

    We also have a secretary on APW Limited who was registered on another of Frederic Achom’s companies, The Bordeaux Wine company, and this company at one time shared the same address as APW.

    We know this information is mostly, in the public domain, but there is an effort now to see if there is a link between various parties. Would any of you be willing to offer information as we try to establish facts?

    Please email me on the one I have provided or let me or one of our colleagues know here how to best contact. we feel the cycle has failed to be arrested and that there is a chance the same hands are at work in different guises.

    Appreciate your time.

  23. rodney says:

    Why am i being encouraged to pick option 2 (wines are sold back to vineyard)?
    The Vineyards no doubt profited from selling me the wines….. Now i am expected to sell them back to the vineyard for pennies considering what i paid for them. So the vineyards profit twice, Quantuma get their fees quicker and I as the investor losses out?
    I would much prefer option 1 (getting the wines back) as i have sold a sizable amount of my wines through my new wine broker and do not wish for my funds to be tipped down the toilet!

  24. Rodney says:

    ATTENTION! UPDATE FROM PREVIOUS STATEMENT.

    What is very contradictory about this article is the fact that UK Agora helped to form the committee that ultimately won the right for APW clients to receive their wines back. If it was not for UK Agora’s intervention clients would have had no say in the sale of their wines. There is talk of a man call Stuart Mc Clusky on this thread. What probably isnt known is that he was thrown out of court by the Judge as he was seen to be signaling and gesturing others.

    Quantuma (~the company unwinding APW) had previously dealt with bolton fines wine’s administration. An individual who had over 30k invested with them received a cheque from quantuma for £600. If the judge did not rule for investors to get their product back (which he did) the clients on this thread would be in the same situation as Bolton’s investors. It is easy to make a judgement without knowing the facts.

    I believe Z and B were working in cahoots with Quantuma – My belief is that there was an under the table agreement in place between. Thank you to UK Agora for being my champions!

    I will continue to work with UK Agora as they have been nothing but professional and honest in their approach

  25. Stuart McCloskey says:

    Rodney – Please be careful with your statements, which are wholly inaccurate and libellous.

    You alleged that I was “thrown out of court by the Judge as he was seen to be signalling and gesturing others.” however, and for the avoidance of doubt, this is false. I did attend the Hearing of 12 February 2016 as a member of the APW Liquidation Committee. I did, when appropriate, address the Courts, which I hope was of some assistance to Chief Registrar Baister. I am unable to comment on the Court Hearing itself however, and for your own peace of mind, may I suggest you approach the Courts and request a transcript of the Hearing, which will clearly refute your false accusation.

    You further allege that “Z&B were working in cahoots with Quantuma – My belief is that there was an under the table agreement in place between”. This is both untrue and libellous. I have been elected to sit on the Liquidation Committee as have four fellow Committee members who are all victims of the APW scandal. We take our position incredibly serious and do our utmost to ensure all ex-APW investors are fairly represented.

  26. Mr Howell says:

    APW Director, Frederick Uche Achom Convicted at Southwark Crown Court.

    Source: Financial Times (August 4, 2016)

    An entrepreneur once described as “one of the 1,000 most influential Londoners” was spared jail last week for running a fine wine investment company while banned. Frederick Uche Achom, 42 acted as manager of APW Asset Management after he was disqualified from holding UK directorship back in July 2002. He appeared at Southward Crown Court to admit being in breach of his disqualification order and was handed a six-month suspended sentence. Mr Achom must now pay almost £1m of his profits to the court within three months, or face up to five years in prison.

    Let’s hope the net is closing in on the other members of APW staff.

  27. Mrs A says:

    I have just taken a call from Dermot O’Sullivan of UK Agora purporting to be “working closely with the liquidators Quantuma and not to work with any other wine merchant”

    I have been ripped off once by these sharks – I have no intention of being their prey for a second time.

    Why hasn’t anyone done something about these crooks?

  28. Nicholas Gibbs says:

    UK Agora helped to form the committee which went to court and won investors their wine investment back from the clutches of APW’s liquidators. UK Agora encouraged existing clients who also held Australian wines with APW to talk with each other. This communication enabled a platform for creditors to decide what the best course of action would be. Our clients decided they wanted to take ownership of their wine investment, given the financial implications the proposed mass liquidation would have on £14 Million of fine wine held between creditors.

    Roy Double, a UK Agora client and APW creditor stepped forward and formed a committee to counter the “fire sale” proposition. He bravely went to court and highlighted that the only entities that would benefit from the proposed option would be the liquidator, who charges a management to the creditors for this service, and the bulk buyer of the wines.

    It was proposed by Mr Double that investors should receive their holdings back from the liquidator given that the items were purchased for investment purposes. Some wines owned hold significant value and have genuine investment potential. This sentiment was shared by the judge who in turn ruled that investors should be in receivership of their investment.

    UK Agora advises wine investors to store within a private account thus enabling access to sell through channels such as; auction, private collectors or wine merchants independently and rejects the false claims that say otherwise. When we sell on behalf of clients only the agreed cases are released directly to the buyer, enabling a further layer of security.

    UK Agora continues to work with Australian wine investors. Our outlook is simple. Liquidation of low tier wines, which are normally held in high volume, and the retention of genuine super-premium collections. The emphasis on removing storage costs which eat into profits.

    Our success is largely down to the efforts of our Australian wine brokers who now make up our dedicated Australian wine sale team. Their knowledge of this niche market has helped UK Agora sell over 10,000 bottles of Australian wine, of which none have been “fire-sold”. Our continuation in the building of this department ensures a pipeline of consistent sale opportunities in the future.

    To distort UK Agora’s input as anything other than positive and necessary is a distraction from the fact that our determination has led to what our clients consider a great triumph, the return of their investment. We wish all investors the best and wish to remind them that UK Agora’s services are easily utilised. For inquiries: 0203 595 3910.

    We also wish to point out that anything can be written on this public forums under an assumed alias regardless of the factual correctness of the statement. UK Agora wishes to point out that there is an abundance of false claims made on this and other forums. UK Agora will continue to deliver the best possible service for our clients and encourage creditors not be taken advantage of. Wine owners who work with UK Agora do so with the intention of seeking out the best possible resale price for their fine wine investment.

    Today we published an Australian wine investor forum on our website. This platform will allow all APW creditors, not just UK Agora clients a non-bias outlook and clear overview of the current Australian wine market as well as a platform to share information.

    We are also happy to clarify any confusion at any time through info[at]ukagora.com

  29. Andy says:

    UK Agora is made up of APW staff who scammed everyone the first time – says it all!! And another name that crops up a lot is Stuart at Z and B Vintners is sitting on the committee apparently on behalf of us all yet able to buy wine from investors and all the while still working closely with Quantuma standing by to make a tidy sum out of all of this!! Whose interests are you really looking out for whilst on the committee!?! Seems everyone stands to make a tidy sum out of this except the investors themselves!! I’m sure UK Agora and Stuart will defend and say otherwise but you are both making a lot of noise about all of this, which only means one thing in my book. Is there any honest and trusted advice around??? There are lots of vulnerable people that invested and were preyed on once, now you are all at it again!! Quantuma should be doing more to protect the investors, the advice has been poor.

  30. Piper says:

    Mr Gibbs,

    Forgive me if I am not mistaken but were you not a senior employee of APW and fully converse to the improper conduct, which you were personally apart of?

    I imagine that my wife and I are not the only ones who have lost a large proportion of our pensions. Would you be kind enough to provide a comment to this as you are clearly pitching for business again, which is infuriating in the circumstances.

    My wife and I have been faced with a substantial invoice and shortfalls against our original purchase which includes the following:

    • LCB charges amounting to £490,437.63. This relates to their bills which APW have not paid (but you happily stole my money.)

    You state that “UK Agora helped to form the committee which went to court and won investors their wine investment back from the clutches of APW’s liquidators” We are also liable for Summit Law LLP’s fee of £28,726.10. I am correct in stating that we are now paying for your and Mr Double’s legal fees?

    You also state “Our success is largely down to the efforts of our Australian wine brokers who now make up our dedicated Australian wine sale team. Their knowledge of this niche market has helped UK Agora sell over 10,000 bottles of Australian wine, of which none have been “fire-sold”. My husband and I repeatedly requested for our wines to be sold however, APW were only able to sell just enough to pay your huge management fees and LCB’s charges, which and as above, you clearly did not forward. Would you care to explain why you are now able to sell client stock when you have consistently failed in the past?

    You state “When we sell on behalf of clients only the agreed cases are released directly to the buyer, enabling a further layer of security”. Sadly, we have lost many cases of wines through APW theft. These were removed from our account without our permission. Why are you to be trusted now?

    For transparency, and to offer as you say “a further layer of security” please confirm for Drinks Business / APW readers the following:

    • How much you are charging per case of wine?
    • What are your management fees?
    • What are your commissions fees?
    • What are your sales strategies?
    • My husband noticed that you are advertising on your website that you are a sponsor of AFC Wimbledon. Having looked at your accounts on Companies House, I fail to understand how it is possible to sponsor a football club such as this?

    We look forward to receiving your response on Drinks Business forum.

    • Mr Roy Double says:

      Dear Mr & Mrs Piper,
      I am replying to your statement “UK Agora helped to form the committee which went to court and won investors their wine investment back from the clutches of APW’s liquidators. We are also liable for Summit Law LLP’s fee of £28,726.10. I am correct in stating that we are now paying for your and Mr Double’s legal fees? “

      Let’s us get our facts correct on your statement.

      Quantuma wrote to everyone asking whether they would like Option 1 (wine to investor) or Option 2 (Quantuma would sell the wine) . From this they then wrote to say that they would be recommending option 2 when they when to the High Court but if anyone wished to argue the case for option 1 then could they contact Quantuma.
      This I duly did and was told by Quantuma that I was entitled to get legal help, which I did. The judge at the High Court agreed with my legal team that investors were entitled to have they wine back. The people who wanted option 1 have contacted and thank me for getting this result.

      I am sorry that you did not want this option but at the end of the day investors won whether they have the wine back or they wanted Quantuma to deal with the disposing.

      I was the committee and I take offence that you imply otherwise.

  31. nicholas gibbs says:

    Dear Mr & Mrs Piper,

    Yes, I was employed for a number of years as an Account Manager and was made redundant when they closed down. My responsibilities included liaising with clients in order to keep them up-to-date. I was not a Director or Owner and the accusations that suggest that I somehow profited are clearly wrong. I do however, I fully appreciate the sensitivity surrounding the current state of this situation but the comments aimed at me are incorrect, untrue and unfair.

    We are not aware of the legal charges as we were not part of the committee itself. Our role extended to facilitating a platform of communication which led to the formation of the committee. What we can be certain of is that investors now have the option to take ownership of their stock. I would advise you contact the liquidator should you have any questions regarding legalities or fees.

    I wasn’t responsible for the sale of wines at my previous employment and would regularly battle with upper-management on behalf of my clients regarding this. My knowledge is now utilised in the sale of these wines which I consider a professional and personal triumph. I have taken great pride in assisting my clients in the sale of their product.

    We wish to make clear that UK Agora is a completely separate company and questions relating to APW’s past performance are not in anyway applicable to UK Agora.
    When trading wines in a private account only the owner has direct access. Previously your wines were held on your behalf. This will not be the case moving forward asyou will hold them in a private account.

    1) We sell direct to the merchant/buyer – prices are agreed before hand.
    2) We charge 5% fee when selling on behalf of clients and 15% for non-clients.
    3) We do not charge a “management fee”. (Although it has been incorrectly stated on this forum that we do).
    4) I am happy to discuss this in detail. Please get in touch.
    5) We are the football club’s matchday hospitality restaurant sponsors. We intend to regularly supply wines to them in the future. We have also begun to sponsor AFC Wembley which is a grassroots venture. Their core value is to help vulnerable individuals get involved in sport.

    I would encourage you to contact me directly if you wish to discuss any of the above matters further.

  32. Sharon francis says:

    Roland pibworth now runs a recruitment company in Spain called trilateral-it.com probably another scam

  33. Chris Davenport says:

    It has just come to my notice the situation regarding APW. As a client I have not received any correspondence regarding my holdings. The only communication I had was by phone from APW requesting money to pay storage fees and this was about 18 months ago. Can anyone advise me as to the state of play. Have I lost my investment, can I recover anything etc

    Any help would be appreciated

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