Close Menu

Six arrests in multi-million pound wine scam

Fraud squad officers in London have swooped on a gang of six people believed to be involved in a £3 million wine investment scam.

Officers carried out a series of raids on addresses around the Docklands area and in Sidcup, Kent, as part of an investigation called Operation Iceman.

Scotland Yard detectives believe victims have handed over tens of thousands of pounds to invest in specialist Australian wines, which turned out not to exist.

Two women, aged 32 and 40, and four men, aged 30, 34, 40 and 65 were arrested yesterday (Thursday 4 March) and interviewed at an East London police station.

Police say that around 50 people targeted by the group have been identified and each is believed to have handed the suspected fraudsters between £25,000 and £100,000 each over the last few months.

It is alleged the group cold called potential victims and told them they would buy New World wines on their behalf and then cellar them while they increased in value with age.

Despite the fact the wines did not actually exist, the group produced high-quality brochures made follow-up calls and produced paperwork to convince their victims it was a solid investment opportunity.

Detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie said: “These people did their intelligence research and made £3 million-plus over a short period.”

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Cross, head of the fraud squad, added: “This kind of investment fraud is becoming far too common. People from all economic backgrounds are being targeted and persuaded to invest in what appears to be a sound financial opportunity.

“We would advise those considering investing to be sure that the companies or individuals they are dealing with are reputable and legitimate.”

Alan Lodge, 05.03.2010

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No