Frederick Achom's days of conducting business as if he were above the law have finally ended in justice. The self-proclaimed entrepreneur, who was banned from holding UK Directorships in 2002, but was well known to have been leading a wine investment company regardless, has plead guilty and accepted that he must pay £1m to the courts or receive a five year sentence behind bars.
December 19, 2016
For some Frederick Achom stood as an example of much of what is wrong with the British legal system. Banned from holding a Directorship in any UK company after being convicted of fraud the former member of the “1000 Most Influential Londoners” list simply ignored the ruling and flagrantly led a fine wine investment company soliciting funds from the general public. Many are crediting the hard work of getting Achom to plead guilty not on the UK legal system, but on the work of non profit individuals who expose those who flout the law. Achom will now have to pay £1m or find himself in prison for a minimum five year sentence.
This ruling hasn't escaped the attention of the major financial press, with FT Adviser, remarking, “The investment company, formerly known as Australian Portfolio Wines, recently went into liquidation. It is one of many business interests Mr Achom has been involved in throughout his business career.”
The FT Adviser continued, “Mr Achom was jailed for 12 months for conspiracy to defraud back in 2000. He was disqualified from holding UK directorships for 11 years from July 2002.” Yet, despite this disqualification “ No significant decision about the business was taken without his approval between December 2004 and July 2013, Southwark Crown Court heard.”
The Mirror reports “around 600 investors have been left in the lurch by the collapse of APW Asset Management Ltd, formerly known as Australian Portfolio Wines”. The popular blog decanter.com states it was “managing wine stocks worth an estimated £25m” at the time of its collapse.
Touting himself as an international business figure, when not posturing his apparent wealth, Achom claimed to be spending his time bouncing between his glamorous homes in Paris, Miami, Val d’Isere and Lagos.
The Nigerian â€˜business man’, and now twice convicted criminal, was also co-owner of Bennett Oyster Bar & Brasserie in Battersea Square, London, before it went into liquidation. The site was later picked up by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay.
Much of the mood surrounding the decision has been celebratory.
Investdrinks, a blog that specializes in exposing criminals like Achom, showed special attention to his case. One of Achom’s former customers stated, “We couldn't be happier to see this lionized banned director exposed and to get a fine like this. Hopefully in the future the penalty will be even greater.”
While the UK legal system still needs to tighten the noose on criminals like Freddie Achom, this conviction may well be a sign of good things to come.
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