Art company wound up by court after role in £600k ‘cynical scam’
- Credit: PA
A Stowmarket art investment company has been wound up after it was involved in a “cynical scam” which left investors more than £600,000 out of pocket.
The activities of Camp Partners, based in Suffolk, alongside Wardells Design of Warrington, came to the attention of the Insolvency Service following investigations into four associated companies last year.
The four companies, Halifax Mannin Ltd, Hey Design Services Ltd, Gem Tobin Ltd and Dionysus Design Services Ltd were wound up in the public interest after abusing investors’ funds of almost £2.5million.
Investigators at the government agency later found Camp Partners and Wardells Design had been involved in an international multi-million pound art investment scheme, with Camp Partners operating from Spain under three different names – receiving payments from people who thought they were investing in paintings by renowned artists.
Camp Partners is said to have benefited from as much as £100,000 of the more than £600,000 received from investors – which was removed from the companies’ bank accounts, leaving investigators unable to determine how it was spent.
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On December 4 at the High Court in Manchester, district judge Adrian Bever wound up the two companies – again in the public interest – under grounds they had traded with a lack of commercial probity.
Judge Bever also found the businesses to have used or incorporated vehicles for fraud with their sole purpose being to receive money wrongly obtained as investors.
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The court also accepted the companies traded with a lack of transparency, and failed to cooperate with the investigation.
The Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the companies.
David Hope, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “These companies were used as part of a cynical scam targeting members of the public, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, and took more than £600,000 from them.
“There is no evidence that this investment had any value or is likely to generate any return for investors.
“The winding up of these companies following our investigation has put a stop to these activities and prevents them from causing any further harm.
“We would advise anyone considering an investment of this nature to exercise caution and take independent financial advice before doing so.”