11 year disqualification for company director involved in multimillion wine investment fraud
Nicholas Lomax, a director of Wimbledon-based The Wine Shop UK (TWS) Ltd (“TWS”), a wine investment company has been disqualified as a director for 11 years for involving the company in a scheme to induce members of the public to invest in fine wines with no provision to supply the wine.
Nicholas Lomax’s disqualification from 11 November 2014 means that he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2025.
The disqualification follows investigations by a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company, for debts owed to an investor in TWS.
The investigation uncovered that between 15 April 2011 and 29 October 2012, the company ‘sold’ fine wines as an investment and provided receipts and confirmation of ownership documents to investors without actually purchasing the wines.
Commenting on this case Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:
The Wine Shop UK (TWS) Ltd was involved in a scheme to deprive investors of their savings by persuading them to invest in a scheme abusing the time differential involved in purchase and supply of de primeur fine wines. This allowed TWS to take investors money and not purchase the product.
The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to investigate and disqualify directors whose companies defraud the public.
Mr Lomax was the sole de jure director of the company throughout the period of these trades.
Notes to Editors
The Wine Shop UK (TWS) Ltd was incorporated on 15 April 2011. Its last trading address was Thornton House, Thornton Road, Wimbledon, SW19 4NG.
Mr Nicholas Lomax is of Aylesbury and his date of birth is 30 December 1981.
The petition to wind up the company was presented by Bircham Dyson Bell LLP in respect of a debt of £3,603.89 for a default judgement debt. The winding up order was made against The Wine Shop UK (TWS) Ltd on 29 October 2012 on a creditor’s petition.
On 21 October 2014 the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills accepted an undertaking from Mr Lomax that Mr Lomax would be disqualified for a period of 11 years.
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
- act as a director of a company;
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership;
- act as an insolvency practitioner; or
- be a receiver of a company’s property.
In addition many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.
Disqualification undertakings: Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/information-about-company-director-disqualification
The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit (London), The Insolvency Service, 2nd Floor, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London WC1B 3SS. Tel: 020 7637 6412 Email: email@example.com
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Published: 30 December 2014
From: The Insolvency Service