Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Finance director collapsed Mayfair

Published:  23 July, 2008

The finance director of the collapsed fine wine merchant Mayfair Cellars sold almost 1 million of customers' wine without authorisation and then passed on the proceeds to his partner, according to the administrators report.

Creditors heard at a meeting held on 20 June that Dominic Smith used his senior position to conduct a massive fraud at Mayfair between 1 February and 31 March 2006.

Mayfair's total liabilities stand at 1.3 million.

Most of the wine was sold to fellow merchants Farr Vintners and Wilkinson Vintners. The administrator stated that there was nothing to suggest that either of these merchants were aware that the wine was being sold by Smith without authorisation'.

Andrew Comer, Smith's partner, was paid regular sums from the proceeds of the fraud. The report states: Further false invoices were issued to Wilkinson Vintners and Farr Vintners which made it appear that Mr Comer owned the wine... to date, there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Comer participated in the alleged financial irregularities or had any knowledge of it.

Mr Comer claims that he believed the money was paid to him for debt collection work for the company, and that Mr Smith was able to pay the balance of the money because he earned much more than he did.'

Smith's assets have been frozen and a civil action has been started, although the administrator said that the money obtained has already been expended and he had not obtained assets of any real value.'

The crime management unit at Hammersmith Police Station has been notified of the fraud and is continuing its investigations, although no charges have yet been made.

Andrew Hosking of the administrator Grant Thornton said that the police had asked him to hand over the evidence he has collected and that he hopes to do so in the next couple of weeks'. A criminal charge is likely to follow.

Private clients who were storing wine with the company that was unaffected by the fraud have recently been told that their wine has been separated from Mayfair's, and is available for collection.