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En primeur fraudster jailed

Published:  17 January, 2011

A man who defrauded customers of almost £1 million in en primeur wine sales has been imprisoned for seven and a half years.

Benedict Moruthoane, of Raleigh Drive, London, who operated as International Wine Commodities Ltd or IWC and Templar Vintners Ltd or TVL, was charged with six separate offences of defrauding investors.

The company also fraudulently claimed an affiliation with the International Wine Challenge and advertised an "official" logo on its website, as well as trading on the IWC acronym.

Trading as IWC, Moruthoane, together with Oseghale Hayble of Battalian House, Colindale, collected £800,000 from would-be purchasers which they used 
to fund a lavish lifestyle.

TVL defrauded investors of £100,000.

Detective constable Peter Thody of Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "They boasted about operating from opulent offices, produced glossy brochures 
and employed genuine sales staff.

"They were able to extract money from victims who were taken in by their professional manner."

The men behind a third firm, Bordeaux Wine Trading Company, BWTC, which was operated by Paul Craven of Conner Court, Slade Hill, Enfield; Niklaus Cashman of Huntsman Road, Hainault, Essex; and Hayble, were charged with conspiracy to defraud after collecting £1.3 million from investors.

Hayble and Craven have been remanded in custody pending a retrial in June, Cashman was granted bail pending the retrial.