A London-based company that sold coloured diamonds to the public as investment but did not deliver them was ordered into liquidation on 29 January on grounds of public interest following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Appleguild Limited, which traded as Gold Standard Commodities, falsely claimed to be an independent commodities broker based in the City of London since 2007. According to its now defunct website www.gscommodities.co.uk the company claimed it had been:
Advising clients on mainstream commodities which we believe can hedge our clients against the difficulties that face us in todays economy. We pride ourselves on the returns we show our clients. As you may already be aware commodities are in a bull market and continue to outperform in the current economic climate.
The company was in fact located at 1 Warwick Row, London, SW1E 5ER and operated only from August 2011 - when the company registration was bought off-the-shelf from a company formation agent - to January 2012, when its activities were forcibly closed.
Investigators were not able to establish the extent of the companys business due to lack of co-operation from the companys officers responsible for this period of trading and inadequate financial records.
The companys de facto director, Christopher Newhouse said 15 customers had placed orders for over 100,000 but only one order was fulfilled.
Welcoming the courts winding up decision, Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said:
This formally brings to an end the activities of a thoroughly disreputable company which said it prided itself on the investment returns for its clients, but who, in all but one instance, failed to supply investors with any diamonds.
Investors should not respond to cold-calling investment sharks as they stand to gain nothing and risk losing everything.
If any investor has been contacted by this company, the Official Receiver now handling its affairs will be glad to receive details of its dealings with you.
The Insolvency Service will not allow rogue companies to rip-off vulnerable and honest people and will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating or about to operate, against the public interest.