So it was a considerable surprise that in the New Rolls Building in Fetter Lane, half an hour was allowed for each winding up petition, even though the four heard by Registrar Sally Barber on Wednesday 16th December were uncontested. Counsel for the Secretary of State went through in detail the grounds for winding up and then Registrar Barber went through each of the grounds for closing the company indicating whether counsel and the evidence presented did indeed make the case for the company to be wound up in the public interest.
The extended hearing gave me plenty of evidence that Prestige Fine Wine Ltd was rightly closed in the public interest and that it was indeed 'pernicious' as both Counsel for the Secretary of State and the Registrar said. There is a full report here on investdrinks.
It was particularly shocking and pernicious that Prestige Fine Wine Ltd had taken callous and inhumane advantage of a elderly man suffering from Alzheimer's. Prestige Fine Wine Ltd are by no means the first scam wine investment company to take brutal advantage of the elderly – indeed all too often it is par for the course. It is rare to see a company take quite such a cynical advantage as Prestige Fine Wine Ltd did.
Instead of selling him wine they persuaded him to buy shares in the company to the tune of £150,000 – except there weren't any shares issued. Prestige Fine Wine Ltd just trousered the money telling the Alzheimer sufferer that he should hold onto the shares 'as long as possible' and he could expect 4% interest a year.
In fact Prestige's share capital only amounted to £1 held by Glenn Barrington Ward (DOB: 20.7.1969) of Flat 6, 20 Spencer Road, South Croydon CR2 7EH, who was appointed on 5th March 2010. Ward resigned on 22nd September 2014 and was replaced on the same day by 24-year-old Ibrahim Tarkou (DOB: 13.2.1991).
It was not stated in court when the elderly man was defrauded but whoever was in charge of the company at the time ought not to be able to sleep comfortably at night. They should also face criminal charges. Whether they will is quite another matter. Fraud investigations and trials are expensive to stage and Government cuts to the Police and to the Insolvency Service are only making this worse.