Wine Traders "puppet director" disqualified for 15 years after investors lost £2 million
Stephen Pierre Boyd, the former director of The Wine Index, has been banned from being a director for 15 years by the High Court.
Investigators from the insolvency service found that Boyd acted as a puppet director for Wine Traders International, although he was already serving a 13-year disqualification for his role in The Wine Index.
Under Boyd's direction, Wine Traders sold fine wine as an investment to members of the public. The High Court found that the wine was overpriced and in some instances no wine was ever purchased for the customer. The court also found that Boyd had:
• Caused the company to fail to supply customers with wine purchased for nearly £2million;
• wrongfully transferred customers' wine valued at over £1million to a fictitious entity that he had created
• wrongfully taken away a Porsche car leased to the company
• failed to keep records to explain over £3million expenditure.
In addition, a large quantity of the company's stock was transferred to ‘Bradshaw & Karr' - a fictitious corporate entity created by Boyd. The two disqualifications will run concurrently until 2028.
Wine Traders was wound up in the public interest by the High Court on 4 March 2010 after an investigation by the insolvency service's company investigations team.
Further investigations by the insolvency service's public interest unit found that Boyd had used false names including Pierre Boyd, Steve Gordon and Dave Martin. This revealed the existence of a puppet director and to Mr Boyd being uncovered as the man in control of the company, the insolvency service said.
Sitting in the High Court, Registrar Derrett found all of these allegations to be proven and handed down the maximum period of disqualification available.
"Hiding behind false names and stooges will not protect rogue directors. As this case shows, our investigations will reveal who is ultimately in control and we will take robust action to address wrongdoing," said Paul Titherington, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit.
"In handing down the maximum possible period of disqualification, the Court has shown that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates that the insolvency service will seek to remove these people from the business environment"