Fine wine ‘investor’ banned

A ‘fine wine investor’ has been banned from directing any company for nine years after his business folded with debts of £10 million due to “colossal mismanagement”.

Fine wine cellarIan Paul Vanderhook set up Bordeaux UK in 2002 and between October 200 and November 2011 apparently took £23m from investors before going into liquidation on 30 November 2011 with debts of £10m and only £1.7m of wine available.

Liquidator Nedim Ailyan said that Vanderhook had presided over a company mismanaged on a, “colossal scale”, and added he had been forced to bring in specialists to help unravel the mess as Vanderhook had kept no proper records.

So dire was the accountancy that the Insolvency Service is unable to determine how much tax is owed to HM Revenue & Customs – a problem compounded by the fact that Vanderhook used two more companies (Van Der Hook Management and Van Der Hook Consultancy) to receive and pay out money from Bordeaux UK’s account but neither were listed as actively trading.

Ailyan commented: “In my experience the books and records were completely inadequate and we were unable to ascertain the level of creditors due to deficiencies within them. As an example we have instances of wine that was allegedly allocated to individuals but there is no record of the wine being transferred.

“In addition, individuals alleged that the company disposed of wine on their behalf and this was to either be replaced with other stocks of wine or alternatively the proceeds passed to them but this never happened.”

Insolvency Service chief examiner, Daid Brooks, said: “This case serves as an example of why companies must keep accounting records and make them available to the liquidator or administrator.

“Without the books and records, costs in the liquidation have increased and what happened to a large amount of investor’s money cannot be explained.

“The fact investors have lost in excess of £10m, whilst only £1.7m of wine stock was available to them, makes this an especially serious case.

“Directors who do not maintain and preserve their company’s books and records adequately will be investigated by the Insolvency Service and in the appropriate cases, disqualified to protect the public and the business community.”

The former lift engineer’s ban was put into force from 18 October this year and specifically prohibits him from acting as a director of a company; taking part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership; acting as an insolvency practitioner; or being a receiver of a company’s property.

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