Accused whisky counterfeiter ‘on the run’
A man accused of running a large-scale counterfeit spirits operation uncovered by Whisky.Auction has skipped bail and is thought to be on the run from police.
The alleged fraudster was arrested by Metropolitan Police on suspicion of Fraud by False Representation in February last year and was bailed pending further enquiries.
Online spirits auctioneer Whisky.Auction raised the alarm after it received a haul of fake vintage whiskies. The team visited the seller’s home where they claimed to have discovered a counterfeiting operation “with a scale of sophistication never before seen” in spirits.
Whisky.Auction has now confirmed to The Spirits Business that the man, who was 41 at the time of his arrest, has skipped bail.
“The police are continuing with the investigation so we are pretty confident that it will go to court,” said Isabel Graham-Yooll, director of Whisky.Auction.
Whisky.Auction conducted its own “lengthy investigation” into the accused’s alleged operations before informing police.
Alongside a genuine collection the team said they found a large-scale fraudulent set-up where “hundreds” of old bottles were being refilled with cheaper, younger liquids. It is understood that rum and other spirits were being re-bottled alongside whisky.
At the time, Graham-Yooll said: “What we saw at the property was a significant collection, hundreds of bottles, of supposedly valuable liquids that if genuine were unlikely to be available on such a scale.
“This was an immediate red flag and our doubts were justified when we began scrutinising individual bottles.”