Wine Name:

Monday, 11 April 2016

Capstone Formations Ltd – a truly remarkable history! Compare and contrast

 Traded £9.6 million worth of wine between 2013 and 2015!!

It is always interesting to compare and contrast!

The history of Capstone Formations Ltd by James Hutton, the company's director:
He studied at the London school of business and economics and then worked in many financial districts around the world. He has build up a strong reputation in the City of London and has helped 1000s of clients whilst working under the name of some of the largest companies internationally. 

In 2010 James started planning and building his own company  – Capstone Formations Ltd. The limited company was incorporated in 2013. Capstone Formations grew rapidly managing the portfolios of over 2000 clients within the alternatives market. He was able to employ a further 30 staff. 

The company offers expertise in fine wine, gold bullion, property and diamonds. 

In December 2015 Capstone completed talks that had been started at the beginning of the year and merged with Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd, whose business is mainly in the Far East.

Between 2013 and 2015 the company traded £9.6 million worth of wine. Capstone Formations has grown 30% every year since 2013.   

 'Restructuring and diversifying portfolios' 
'The growth of the company from 2013 to 2015'

The history of Capstone Formations Ltd from documents filed with UK Companies House
Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd, the former name of Capstone Formations Ltd, was formed on 11th December 2013 with Konstantin Nemchukov
as the sole director. Nemchukov has 300 company appointments and appears to work for a company formation agents at 3rd Floor, 120 Baker Street, London W1U 6TU.     

Fenbow was a dormant company until early 2016 filing dormant accounts up to 31st December 2015 (filed 4.1.2016). 

On 12th January 2016 Nemchokov resigned as director. 26-year-old James Hutton (DOB: January 1990) was appointed as the sole director on the same day. Hutton, described as a builder, lives at Flat 237 Glebe Court, London Road, Mitcham, Lodnon CR4 3NZ. Also on 12th January Hutton became the sole shareholder holding the £1 share capital and the registered office changed to 2 Queen Caroline Street London W6 9DX. This is a Regus serviced and virtual office. 
The following day (13th January 2016) the company name changed from Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd to Capstone Formations Ltd. It has no connection with the US equity company – Capstone Partners, although this may have been a factor behind the choice of 'Capstone'.  

The Capstone Formations Ltd website was registered on 7th January 2016.   

Formation of Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd: 
11th December 2013 

Balance sheet of dormant company – 
Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd with £1 share capital 

Change of company name on 13th January 2016 
from Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd 
 to Capstone Formations Ltd.  

Capstone website registered on 7.1.2016 

James Hutton's director's details

My conclusion:
Although it is clear that considerable time has been spent on the Capstone Formation Ltd's website, I prefer to believe the version filed with Companies House. This indicates that James Hutton's version is complete fiction and obviously designed to fool potential investors that Capstone Formation Ltd and James Hutton have the necessary expertise to advise investors and to manage their portfolios.  

Hutton claims to have studied at the 'London school of business and economics' – I can find no record of any such school. He claims a glittering financial career prior to 2010. However, in 2010 Hutton was just 20 years old and the filing of his directorship of the company lists him as a 'builder'.

Capstone did not start trading until January 12th 2016 at the earliest, so did not trade £9.6 million worth of fine wine. Nor did it merge with Fenbow Fortune Enterprise Ltd – that was merely a change of company name. 

Is James Hutton, a builder from Sutton, the real director or are others involved?

I will be giving James Hutton and Capstone Formations Ltd a very wide berth as I have never had any interest in investing in porkies. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

'Wine investment scam' – Westminster Fine Wines Limited – 12-year ban for Jeff Berrill


36-year-old Jeff Berrill (DOB: 24.1.1980), the sole director of fraudulent Westminster Fine Wines Ltd, has been banned for 12 years from acting as a UK director. Berrill ran a wine investment scam selling wine to investors but failing to buy any. 

Berrill was initially disqualified for five years from acting as a director by Blackfriars Crown Court on 16th December 2015. This has now been extended to March 2028. On 6th November 2015 Berrill pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to 5 counts of dishonestly making false representation. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 24 months.  

Founded in October 2011 with a share capital of £10, Westminster Fine Wines Ltd went into liquidation on 27th February 2014 when Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Ltd based in Sidcup was appointed as liquidator. The estimated deficiency was £232,326 with £231,066 owed to trade and expense customers and £2000 to Barclays Bank. Ailyan found that no wine had been bought. The company did not have an account at any UK bonded warehouse.
In his statement of affairs (27.2.2014) Berrill listed the company's assets of £1400 – £400 in office furniture and £1000 in wine. Ailyan's liquidator's report (11.3.2015) noted that Berrill thought that this case of wine 'may have been transferred into his personal account in error. The director has not provided any further details regarding any wine held personally.'  

Berrill took in £335,720 from investors but never bought any wine. £244,443 was paid out of Westminster Fine Wines Bank accounts. This included payments to restaurants, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and to retail outlets of £61,854 and payments to Berrill of £43,562. 


Press Release from Insolvency Service:
Jeff Berrill has been disqualified from acting as a director for 12 years for taking payment from investors for wine that was never purchased and failing to keep records of the company’s transactions.

On 11 February, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Mr Berrill gave a disqualification undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company from 3 March until 2028.

Westminster Fine Wines Limited was incorporated on 7 October 2011, offering wine investment to private investors, with Jeff Berrill as the sole director and shareholder. 

Mr Berrill had worked in the wine investment industry* for a number of years and states that when the company was set up, the wine industry was booming. However, the wine market soon suffered a significant downturn. Confidence in wine investment fell and the market saw drops of 20% to 30% in wine prices, with several companies going out of business. 

In late December 2013, the company received notice that the bank was withdrawing its funding and on 27 February 2014, the company was placed into liquidation. 

The Insolvency Service investigation found that:

  • Mr Berrill caused Westminster Fine Wines Limited to trade with a lack of commercial probity.
  • Between 3 August 2012 and 31 May 2013, at least 11 investors purchased at least 57 cases of wine from Westminster, for which Westminster received payments into its bank account of at least £194,885.
  • The investors were informed by persons representing Westminster that the money would be invested on their behalf in fine wines which would be stored in a bonded warehouse facility.
  • The wine paid for by these investors was never purchased by Westminster.
  • When Westminster entered into liquidation, no fine wines were available and no others assets were available to enable a distribution to these investors.
  • Records provided by Mr Berrill show that Westminster received £335,720 from clients for whom wine was never purchased or delivered to a bonded warehouse. These additional investors have not made claims in the liquidation.
  • Mr Berrill also failed to maintain and/or preserve, or in the alternative, failed to deliver up accounting records.
  • As a consequence it is not possible to explain and account for the sale, purchase and disposal of wine, or explain and account for the disposal of investor’s monies.
  • It also not possible to determine the reason for payments from the bank account of £244,443, which included payments to restaurants, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and to retail outlets of £61,854 and payments to Mr Berrill of £43,562.
  • It is not possible to verify if Westminster received the benefit of these payments and why any assets that were purchased with these funds were not available for creditors on liquidation.
At the date of liquidation, Westminster had no assets and liabilities of £233,066.

Commenting on the disqualification, Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Directors have a duty to ensure that they act competently and with commercial probity. Directors who do not comply with this basic obligation can expect to be investigated by the Insolvency Service and enforcement action taken to remove them from the market place.
Mr Berrill misled investors and did not purchase the wine for which they had paid at least £194,885. Investors’ money was spent and records were not maintained to account for how the funds were disposed of, which could have enabled them to recover some of the money.

Mr Berrill’s conduct demonstrates that he is unfit to be a director of a company and taking action against him is a warning to all directors to seriously consider their actions and to comply with their obligations.
* Doubtless for other scam wine investment companies. 

NB: investdrinks has amended the Insolvency Service's Press Release by marking some passage in bold. 

Notes to editors

Westminster Fine Wines Limited (CRO 07801068.) was incorporated on 7 October 2011. Its registered office was 50 Broadway, Westminster SW1H 0RG. It traded from the same premises. Jeff Berrill was the only director at the time of liquidation.

Westminster Fine Wines Limited was placed into liquidation on 27 February 2014.

Jeff Berrill is of 62 Cavendish Drive, Northampton. His date of birth is 24 January 1980.

On 6 November 2015, Jeff Berrill was, upon his own confession, convicted upon indictment of 5 counts of dishonestly making false representation to make gain for self/another or causing loss to others/exposing others to risk. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months in the Crown Court at Blackfriars.

The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Jeff Berrill on 11 February 2016. The disqualification commences on 3 March 2016.

A disqualification order or undertaking 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
  • be a receiver of a company’s property
In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Rearing a phoenix....... part 1 – World of Wine Ltd from the ashes of En Primeur Ltd.

'In Greek mythology, a phoenix or phenix (Greek: φοῖνιξ phoinix; Latin: phoenix, phœnix, fenix) is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.[1]'

The Phoenix is a rather splendid bird – largely mythological but they can be reared successfully in the UK as this short series of posts may indicate.

To kick off here is a recent example from the UK wine trade where a company has died 'in a show of flames and combustion' but serendipitously its debts 'simply decompose' before a new one is born again.  

Goodbye – En Primeur Ltd! (05949641) ...... Hello – World of Wine Ltd! (09900486)
En Primeur Ltd was founded in September 2006 with Marco Paulo Correia (DOB: 29.9.1968) and Ana Sebastiao as the company secretary. En Primeur Ltd was based in Crawley with Ground Floor 1-7 Station Road Crawley West Sussex as its registered address and trading address: Suite 4, Kelvin House, Kelvin Way, Crawley RH10 9WE. As its company name implies, the sale of en primeur was a major focus. At the height of the demand for Bordeaux en primeur (2009/2010) Correia advertised his company's en primeur prices in January promising to hold them when the actual price posted by the châteaux several months later – surely a gamble fraught with difficulties.....

On 24th July 2014 En Primeur Ltd went into liquidation with debts that were originally estimated at 'low six figures' but which had climbed to unsecured claims of over £2.4 million by September 2015 when the liquidator, Nedim Aliyan of Abbott Fielding, filed his first annual report. News reports from July 2014 here and here  

The last annual return filed in 2013 showed En Primeur Ltd had share capital of £100 – 85 shares held by Marco Correia and 15 by Roberto Correia. Full details of En Primeur Ltd and its filing can be found on Companies House Beta service.          
Hello – World of Wine Ltd! (09900486) 
The World of Wine Ltd was incorporated on 3rd December 2015. Ana Ligia Sebastiao (DOB– March 1973), who was company secretary of En Primeur Ltd, is the sole director and sole shareholder. The company has a nominal share capital of £100 – with £100 unpaid. Its registered office is Ground Floor, 1/7 Station Road, Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom, RH10 1HT and trading address: Suite 4, Kelvin House, Kelvin Way, Crawley RH10 9WE.   

Although Marco Correia is not an officer of The World of Wine he is the registrant of the company website – registered on 11th November 2015. Buying en primeur features prominently on the World of Wines Ltd's website. 

Compare and contrast:
Keen readers may notice a certain resemblance between these two explanations of buying en primeur...... 

 En Primeur Ltd: En primeur wines 

Both explanations conclude with

'Buying en primeur allows you to make sure that special vintage you have your eye on doesn't get away.'

I'm not entirely sure that the many individuals listed as creditors of En Primeur Ltd would completely concur with the above ....  

From the terms and conditions of World of Wine Ltd:

En Primeur Sales 
In the unlikely event that we are unable to supply wines 
purchased on your behalf en primeur due to circumstances 
beyond our control, our liability will be 
limited to any money paid to us

It is not clear what happens if the reason why wines are not supplied are due to circumstances within the company's control eg failure to pay en primeur suppliers.... 

The terms and conditions for The World of Wine Ltd limit to right of return to three days from delivery. This is contrary to the 2013 Consumer Contracts legislation that gives 14 days


Doubtless business people should be given a second chance but equally potential clients have a right to know a company's background. I won't be buying from the World of Wine Ltd