The first phase of our whisky rescue package is nearing completion. It is now almost 5 years since the news first broke that investment in casks of whisky was not quite as safe as investing in Granny bonds. In that time we have managed to recover about £5.5 million from credit card companies for investors and altogether we estimate it has cost the credit card industry at least £20 million.
To hide the amount paid out all the banks appear to lump these claims with 'credit card fraud', implying that it is as a result of individuals stealing credit cards instead of their own failure to vet companies requiring credit card facilities. At least they have now tightened up procedures for new companies joining the credit card system.
This is unlucky for people caught up in the wine scam since most of these companies have insisted on payment by cheque because they do not have card facilities. Consequently investors have been left either with no wine at all or holding cases of good quality wine which is often only worth a third of the price they paid.
The second phase of our whisky rescue package involves assisting investors who have been left with their whisky. Do you sell or do you bottle. If you sell you will create a large capital loss and it not always easy finding a buyer. If you bottle then it is quite costly, it will not be cheap single malt but it will be yours and at least you will not have to buy malt from the Distillers who caused the scam in the first place by gross overproduction. Our experience has been that it not worth bottling till at least the whisky is 10,12 or 15 years old. The good news is that nearly every cask we have tasted has been worth bottling preferable at cask strength with 'nowt taken out'.
We have various bottling schemes on the go at the moment. If you are interested or would just like to know a bit more telephone or email us. We're here to help.
Whisky and Champagne Fraudsters sent down
After over three years of investigation the Serious Fraud Office finally brought proceedings against the directors of Cavendish Wine Merchants/Hamilton Spirit Management Company at Southwark Crown Court in September 2000. Reporting restrictions were imposed because of a later trial involving some of the same directors. These restrictions have now been lifted and the outcome of the trial can now be reported.
Julian BIee, Lee Rosser and Lewis Daulby were charged with the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud there being no statutory offence of fraud in English Law. Lewis Daulby pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Rosser and BIee chose to go to trial but the jury unanimously found them guilty and His Honour Judge Rivlin sentenced Rosser to 7 years imprisonment and BIee to 4 years imprisonment. Both have also received additional terms of imprisonment following the House of Delacroix trial.
Many investors bought Beaumont des Crayeres champagne from Hamilton salesmen only to find that their certificates of ownership were worthless. The liquidators Baker Tilly have been pursuing this matter through the French Courts and a settlement was finally reached whereby De Bruyne repaid the sum of £137,694 in December 2000. But investors will get nothing, legal costs in Gibraltar and France have exhausted all the funds realised.
We understand that the Serious Fraud Office are investigating the prospects of tracing and confiscation of assets belonging to Blee, Rosser and Daulby. It remains to be seen whether investors will ever benefit from these proceedings.
Blee and Rosser were also involved with Craig Dean in the "House of Delacroix" scam. In 1996 and 1997 they persuaded thousands of investors to pay £30 per bottle for Champagne Lantz on the basis that there would be a shortage of Champagne for the Millennium. Their slogan was "The biggest party for a thousand years is about to run out of fizz". But in France the champagne producers had at least a billion bottles in their cellars in anticipation of the Millennium. In any case Champagne Lantz was a cheap low grade fizz worth less than £10. Southwark Crown Court heard that the fraudsters took over £4 million from unsuspecting customers and enjoyed a lifestyle to match. According to the prosecution all three men drew "unusually large amounts of cash" from the Delacroix bank account.
Rosser and Blee admitted the charges of conspiracy to defraud and were given an extra 18 months and 1 year respectively to run concurrently with their previous convictions for the whisky scam. Dean pleaded not guilty but the Court thought otherwise. Sentencing Dean to 3 years imprisonment Judge Laurie said "The clear message must go out to people like you who think they can defraud people here with impunity by conducting business in the way you did."
WHERE HAVE ALL THE SALESMEN GONE
Hamilton Spirit Management Co Ltd employed a large band of super salesmen to ply their dishonest trade. It has to be said that the majority of them were excellent at their job of persuasion and deception.
But where are they now? A group of businessmen who invested large sums of money with Hamilton would like to track down the whereabouts of STANLEY DAVIES who operated from the Gibraltar office. This may have been an alias but if there is anyone who dealt with Stanley or has any information about him please contact the Helpline.
Other salesmen who had a definite knack of closing a sale included -Susan Spencer, Phil Lynk,
Ralph Victory, David Gibbons, Graham Noon, Stephen Eccleston
If anyone has any information about these characters
we would be interested to know.