‘Influential Londoner’ must pay £1m over wine investment

‘Influential Londoner’ must pay £1m over wine investment

An entrepreneur once described as “one of the 1,000 most influential Londoners” was spared jail last week for running a fine wine investment company while banned.

Frederick Uche Achom, 42, acted as the manager of APW Asset Management after he was disqualified from holding UK directorships back in July 2002.

He appeared at Southwark Crown Court to admit being in breach of his disqualification order and was handed a six-month suspended sentence.

Mr Achom must now pay almost £1m of his profits to the court within three months, or face up to five years in prison.

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.

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.

No significant decision about the business was taken without his approval between December 2004 and July 2013, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The Nigerian-born entrepreneur has featured as one of the 1,000 most influential Londoners in the Evening Standard, in 2010 and again in 2011. He was also listed as one of the 100 most influential black business people in the UK in 2011.

He is also said to be a major shareholder Mumbai manufacturing firm Communication Power Engineering Company.

Mr Achom, reported to own homes in Paris, Miami, Val d’Isere and Lagos, was co-owner of Bennett Oyster Bar & Brasserie in Battersea Square, London, before it was taken over and relaunched by Gordon Ramsay in 2013.

He describes himself on his Twitter page as an “investment entrepreneur, investing in startups, early and growth stage”. According to Wikipedia, he was invited to 10 Downing Street “along with fellow honourees, selected for his success and efforts in business”.

Mr Achom admitted acting in contravention of a disqualification order. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years and must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.