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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Montevino Partners Ltd bust for £1.5 million


'A wine merchant you can trust' 
Yes! ... to go bust owing £1.5 million 

Thomas White – sole director of Spirited Ventures Ltd 
and Montevino Partners Ltd



At its creditors' meeting on 28th April 2017 Thomas White, sole director of Montevino Partners Ltd, revealed in his Statement of Affairs, that the company had debts of just under £1.5 million.  

The Statement of Affairs has yet to appear on Companies House website*. However, the following figures were provided by a creditor who attended the 28th April meeting.  

From the £1.465 million of total debt, 53 individuals are owed £946,166 with trade customers owed £450,166 and HMRC £62,743. I assume that the 53 individuals are unfortunate investors, who thought they were buying wine from Montevino Partners but who now find that their wine was never bought and quite probably never ordered. 

I understand that White has chosen to blame Brexit for the company's problems. All very convenient! However, I cannot see how Brexit prevents a company placing orders for wine for which they have received payment. 

Take, for example, the invoice sent an investor who has sunk over £100,000 in Montevino Partners for no wine. This invoice was sent out on 4th July acknowledging receipt of £76,320 for 636 bottles of Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Barolo Serre. The investor was assured that 'We will now begin the Wine transfer process. You will be kept up to date every step of the way.' 

Unforgivably this Barolo was never ordered from Stefano Gagliardo as the producer confirmed in email on 20th January 2017. Gagliardo explains that in June 2016 he had a visit from people from Montevino Partners: it was 'in June 2016. Since then, I never received feedback, reservations or orders. Please double check, because if they sold you Barolo Serre 10 Anni ’09, ’10, ‘11, it means they sold something they never bought.'  

This is the second  company that traded as Montevino Partners to go bust. Spirited Ventures Ltd was the first going into liquidation in July 2016 with declared debts of £691,326. However, due to White's failure to list individual creditors it is not known what the real deficiency for Spirited Ventures Ltd. White's two Montevino companies have now racked up debts of at least £2,156,326. 

Thomas White has been proposing to set another phoenix company where his salary would be an eye-watering £84,500 in 2017 and a reduced salary of just £53,500 reduced as he would accept a dividend. Presumably it is White's ambition to rack up an even bigger debt when this new phoenix company in turn goes bust. Incredibly, despite all the evidence to the contrary, White had persuaded a few presumably desperate individual creditors to back this third company. 

Details of backing – Thomas White (13th February 2017):

'With regards to the feedback from the group, at this point the highlights are :


- We have 4/6 that are prepared to assist financially to start a Newco. 

- We have further 7 that are willing to support the firm and assist in its success but at this time are unable to contribute to the set up.



So I'm hopeful that will be sorted ASAP.


- The rest of the group have at this point showed no interest or have opted out.'



It is not clear whether White's proposed new phoenix company is still being readied for 'take-off'. I hope the scale of the combined losses (£2.15 million) racked up by Spirited Ventures Ltd and Montevino Partners Ltd will have persuaded them that White only has a reverse Midas touch. They should conclude that it makes no sense to throw more good money after bad. 


* Update 15.5.17) Companies House now lists that these documents have been received (15.5.17) and that they will be available within five days.    


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Montevino Partners Ltd – into liquidation (28th April 2017) + various updates including 'antics'

.... going bust .....


As already reported by investdrinks Thomas Roger White has decided to put Montevino Partners Ltd, the phoenix company of Spirited Ventures Ltd that traded as Montevino Partners, into voluntary liquidation. Spirited Ventures Ltd went into liquidation in July 2016 before being wound up in the High Court in August 2016. 

The creditors' meeting for Montevino Partners Ltd will be on April 28th 2017 at the Wenta Business Centre, 1 Electric Avenue, Enfield EN3 7XU, on 28 April 2017, at 11:00 am:




It was notable that in the statement of affairs for Spirited Ventures Ltd White failed to make a complete declaration of all creditors. He left out an unknown number of the company's private investors who had paid for wine they did not receive. It is still not clear whether this omission by White was deliberate or just down to incompetence. 

Mark Ireson of the Insolvency Service is currently investigating White's failure to list all the creditors with regard to Spirited Ventures Ltd. I understand from Ireson that a liquidator has now been appointed to wind up Spirited Ventures Ltd. Details: Andrew Kelsall and Lee Green of Larking Gowen Chartered Accountants,  King Street House, 15 Upper King Street, Norwich NR3 1RB [0845 077 4165; info@larking-gowen.co.uk]. Creditors can claim by contacting the liquidators.
 
I trust that White's statement of affairs for Montevino Partners Ltd will be this time be properly comprehensive and list all creditors. Practice they say makes perfect!

White's statement should include the investor who bought around £70,000 worth of Barolo but who has never received their wine. Hardly surprising when no order was placed with the producer....   

White's statement of affairs for Montevino Partners will be available free through Companies House's excellent Beta Service. I suspect I will not be alone in reading this statement with keen interest... 




Montevino Partners – Mark 3
To date there appears to be no sign of the promised Montevino Partners Mark 3

Thomas White has been promising potential backers of this new venture that he will be instructing solicitors to put forward a case for defamation in relation to my various posts about the Montevino Partners saga. 

Here are a selection of email messages from Thomas White to potential supporters of his latest venture:   
   
'Also have instructed them to look into Jim Budd what can be done to stifle him to stop him damaging the Newco before we start.'  (Thomas White: 20.2.17)
 
'And I will be engaging the solicitor to continue to look at Mr J Budds (sic) antics, I don't wish him to jeopardise what we are trying to do, we require fair treatment.' (Thomas White: 22.2.17)

'I am still awaiting the full feedback from solicitor regarding the defamation posts online and what can be done or the approach that is best to take. It is a frustrating delay but I'm sure you agree that I wish to make sure that before we launch our new ship for its voyage beyond the harbour, we should check what the weathers like at open sea and if any storms are likely from Mr Budd.

So I will be actively chasing this advice down next week, so will update again when possible.' (Thomas White – early March 2017).

Despite Mr White's 'active chasing' I have yet to receive any communication from any solicitor acting for Thomas White, who I invited in February 2017 to inform me what he believed was 'defamatory' in my posts. To date I have received no reply from White. Probably hardly surprising as my posts are largely based on material that White himself has filed with Companies House.

Has White's intention to launch a third 'Montevino Partners' been slowed by the very welcome investigation by the The Insolvency Service or has White perhaps failed to convince enough clients of Montevino Partners to sink more good money after bad? Have they looked at White's record as a director at Companies House and concluded that 'third time lucky' is a gamble too far? 

We will see ....    






Friday, 3 March 2017

Spirited Ventures Ltd (Montevino Partners): Insolvency Service investigating undeclared creditors

Breaking news: 
Today I have been contacted by Mark Ireson, senior examiner and deputy official receiver for the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service. He is looking into the incomplete list of creditors submitted by Tom White, the sole director, in his Statement of Affairs when Spirited Ventures Ltd (trading as Montevino Partners) went into liquidation on 26th July 2016. 

Mark Ireson is very keen to hear from from any creditor of Spirited Ventures Ltd, who was not listed in White's Statement of Affairs for Spirited Ventures Ltd when it went into liquidation. If you bought wine through Spirited Ventures Ltd trading as Monetvino Partners and didn't receive your wine do get in touch with Mark Ireson.

It is known that there was at least one private investor client (DL), who was  owed £46,362. This debt was well known to Tom White as DL sent White an email on 15th March 2015 detailing the outstanding wines and their cost.

White replied the following day: 

'Tom White Wed 16/03/2016 14:39



To: DL



Hello Mr L

Thank you for your comments, sorry to hear you feel this way, And I assure you not our intention to provide our services this way. Just picked up your email, Please let me look into what has happened and why no progress has been made with your sale request.

Ok understood regarding the deliveries, Let me review the items you are awaiting for and I will provide an update of the landing time frames soon as I can.

Kind regards, Speak soon. Tom'

DL did not hear from White again.  

Please note that Ireson is only looking at Spirited Ventures Ltd at present and not at any wines owed to investors by White's follow on company – Montevino Partners Ltd.        

Mark Ireson can be contacted on 020-7637 6230 or piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk 

If you send an email please put Mark Ireson and Spirited Ventures in the heading.


Two Extracts from Tom White's Statement of Affairs: 26.7.2016



26.7.16: Tom White's director's list of debts owed by Spirited Ventures Ltd:
No private investors listed
26.7.2016: Tom White declares Stock of Wine as 'uncertain'!! 


***

12 X 75 ltd
investdrinks has received further reports that 12 x 75 Ltd has been cold calling Montevino Partners clients and offering to sell their portfolios. The callers are reported to be pushy and the valuations offered have not impressed.

It is not known how 12 x 75 Ltd acquired contact details of clients of Montevino nor details of the portfolios they hold. 

I suggest anyone contacting Mark Ireson regarding not being listed as a creditor of Spirited Ventures Ltd and who has been cold called should also report these calls from 12 x 75 Ltd. 

My advice to anyone cold called by 12 x 75 Ltd is to put the phone down.