Two company directors have been disqualified for a combined 20 years after running a fine wine investment scam that lost investors nearly £1m.
An Insolvency Service investigation found that Crimson Fine Wines cold-called customers and then did not purchase or allocate wines to those who had paid for their investments.
The investment scheme offered investors returns over 12 months to five years, at a time when it claimed the property market and shares were less attractive.
Directors Craig Cooper and Jeffrey Kushner were disqualified for 11 years and nine years, respectively.
Kushner lived in Canada and allowed Cooper to run the operation in the UK. At the time of liquidation Crimson Fine Wines did not have enough wine in its warehouse to run the operation.
Cooper used the company’s bank account for his personal benefit and paid at least one third share of dividends into his own personal account.
Kushner was negligent in failing to monitor the company account and allowed it to be used for non-commercial benefits. He also received at least one third share of £114,106 in dividends.
Customer claims in the liquidation totalled £989,258 of the overall debts on liquidation of £1.08m.
Insolvency Service official receiver Karen Jackson says: “These disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct by company directors.”