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News | Fri 3rd Feb, 2017
Following a four week trial at Southwark Crown Court, Thomas Hole was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud. Ryan Fraser pleaded guilty prior to the trial commencing.
James Thacker led Dominic Hockley (of 2 Harcourt Buildings) for the Crown (instructed by the Specialist Fraud Division at the Crown Prosecution Service).
Following a lengthy police investigation code-named Operation Dinghy no.2 it was discovered that Premier Wine Investment Limited was incorporated, had virtual offices at Tower 42 (the Old NatWest tower), so-called brokers cold called potential investors and sent out glossy brochures and wine articles and persuaded people to invest in the World’s most expensive fine wine. Investors were given exaggerated and untrue information about the growth that could be achieved and told to retain their investment for between 3 and 5 years.
In reality the company was a fraudulent vehicle from start to finish and used to extract as much money as possible without buying any wine other than that which the fraudsters drank themselves. Thomas Hole and Ryan Fraser spent vast amounts of money whilst travelling in Dubai and the USA, at spa resorts in Bath and Paris, on expensive restaurants in Mayfair, in designer shops, on bespoke tailors, and on rent for a luxury flat.
Sentence has been adjourned until 10th February 2017.