Thierry's bosses investigated

31 May, 2013

Accountants have been appointed to investigate the conduct of the directors at Thierry’s and report on the cause of its collapse.

Thierry’s went into administration last December with debts of more than £5.5 mil- lion and Abbott Fielding was appointed to oversee creditors’ claims.

But in March Thierry’s was placed into liquidation and accountacy firm Grant Thornton was called in as joint liquidator, working alongside Abbott Fielding, dividing the duties relating to the liquidation.

Grant Thornton was given responsibility to investigate the conduct of the directors and “perceived” shadow directors, along with any third parties agreed by the committee of creditors, as well as the reason for Thierry’s failure. Matthew Vines of Grant Thornton described the investigation as “ongoing”.

Abbott Fielding said it had already submitted a report to the government concerning the conduct of the company’s management and that it had undertaken an initial investigation into its affairs to establish whether there were any “potential asset recoveries or conduct matters that required further investigation”.

Abbott Fielding director Nedim Ailyan added: “I can confirm that I identified matters that justified further investigation. However, I am unable to provide any further comment at present as investigations are ongoing and I do not wish to prejudice any subsequent investigations.

“I am required to submit a report to the secretary of state to include matters which have come to my attention during the course of my work which may indicate that the conduct of any past or present director would make him unfit to be concerned with the management of the company. My report has been submitted.”

According to Ailyan, Abbott Fielding had received claims for £3.9 million from creditors. A further £122,338 was owed to HM Revenue & Customs, which had not pursued a claim, plus £1.6 million to other creditors who had so far not registered their interest in recouping the funds.

Unsecured creditors of Thierry’s subsidiary Edward Cavendish have been told to expect between 0.001p and 0.002p in every pound they were owed due to the collapse.

One creditor, who was left with a £10,000 unpaid bill for services it supplied, told OLN: “The administrators wrote to tell me what I would get and, for the amount I was due, it amounted to 10p.

“It’s disgusting. The whole thing has been a nightmare. It’s money I couldn’t afford to lose, but there is nothing I can do. And even if I wanted to complain, 10p wouldn’t even buy me a postage stamp.

“There are people in a much worse state than me. Some suppliers at last week’s London International Wine Fair are in a much more serious position. One company lost US$500,000. They are so upset, I feel awful for them.”

Thierry’s largest single creditor is Bordeaux supplier Producta Vignobles, which was owed £1.1 million. Beaujolais co- operative Signe Vigernons also had an unpaid debt of £157,000 and issued a wind- up order against Thierry’s in October.

Tesco was also owed £147,000.

A report by the administrator highlighted a dispute with the retailer over a promotion on Nicolas Feuillatte as a catalyst for Thierry’s demise.

Other major retailers are also among those listed as creditors with debts of up to £13,000.

Thierry’s former managing director, Hatim Dungarwalla, was unavailable to comment.




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