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Court orders Wine Investment Fund to be wound up

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Winding up order: Rodney Birrell of the Wine Investment Fund (File photograph)

A mutual fund set up to invest in fine wines is to be wound up, the Supreme Court ordered on Friday.

The Bermuda Monetary Authority said in a release that it had successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of Bermuda to wind up The Wine Investment Fund Ltd.

The BMA said a winding-up petition was presented by the Authority to the Supreme Court on March 3, and a winding-up order of the Fund was issued and the appointment of joint provisional liquidators Michael Morrison and Charles Thresh, of Teneo (Bermuda) Ltd, was continued.

The BMA said the director of the fund was Rodney Birrell, the fund adviser was Anpero Capital Management, a related company operating out of the UK, the directors of which were Mr Birrell and Andrew della Casa. Mr Birrell and Mr della Casa are located in the UK.

Winding up: Andrew della Casa

The Authority said the Wine Investment Fund Ltd had breached several sections of the breaches of the Investment Fund Act and its related rules, including failing to prepare and file audited financial statements within six months of its year-ends for the fiscal years 2016 to 2022 and failing to appoint a custodian that was independent of its other service providers, to safeguard its unallocated cash as directed by the Authority.

The BMA said the Fund also failed to adhere to licensing rules and “failed to conduct its business in a prudent manner resulting in the assets of the Fund becoming impaired”.

It added: “In this regard, the Fund through ACL, made a loan to a related party, Lilliput Holdings Limited, a company incorporated in Bermuda.

“Loans were not permissible under the offering documents and, as at the date of the presentation of the Authority’s petition, had not been repaid in full.”

The BMA said it also failed to update the Offering Document as instructed by the Authority to include language that expressly prohibited loans to affiliates.

Additionally, it said the Fund failed to update the offering document to reflect various other material changes including replacement of administrators and fund managers and the resignation of former directors.

The BMA said: “The Authority viewed the above breaches as serious because of their extent and duration, and no longer had confidence in the Fund’s ability to manage its affairs.

“The Authority’s actions highlight the importance of its role in protecting the reputation of the jurisdiction and the interests of investors.”