TONY HETHERINGTON: The imprisoned boss… with two names
Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday’s star investigator, battling readers’ corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those left penniless. Find out how to contact him below.
Gallery Mode: Jon Sullivan
AT writes: I’m pretty sure Jonothan Piper, jailed for running Embassy Wine UK Ltd, is the same person as Jon Sullivan, now an adviser to Yield Gallery, an art investment company.
Piper cannot be a director of any company because he is disqualified.
Tony Hetherington replies: Good made to detect the remarkable similarity between Mr. Piper and Mr. Sullivan. In 2016, Jonothan Piper, then aged 30, was jailed for five and a half years after pleading guilty to fraud, money laundering and tax fraud.
All charges related to Embassy Wine UK Ltd, where Piper was the owner and sole director. After defrauding wine investors of £300,000, she attempted to dissolve the company without telling her numerous creditors, but was blocked by investigators from the Insolvency Service and Revenue and Customs.
The Daily Mail reported at the time that much of Piper’s loot was spent on luxury cars and hundreds of pairs of limited-edition sneakers. Piper was banned until 2026 from acting as a director of a company and participating in the promotion, formation or management of a company. Acting as a director while disqualified is a criminal offence.
And the same goes for Sullivan, who features prominently in a Yield Gallery article on the Financial Times website. Described as the gallery’s creative director, he says: “More than ever, we have seen enormous attraction to the art market, especially from smart investors looking to diversify and de-risk their portfolios.”
Sullivan adds: “With our experience, we can advise, educate and help inspire new collectors and art enthusiasts seeking financial security.”
Now, despite the job title, Sullivan is not a director of Yield Gallery. But he is a director of two other companies, or rather, he was a director until The Mail on Sunday launched this investigation and questioned him.
In November last year, he formed YG Group Holdings Ltd, which he owns and directors. He described it as a retail art-selling business. And in May this year, he and a member of his family formed Jerry Peggy Ltd, a financial intermediary. Again, Sullivan was appointed director. When he learned of this investigation, Sullivan resigned from both leadership positions.
Of course, all of this only matters if Piper and Sullivan are the same person. Photos of the couple certainly look alike. But what puts the identification beyond doubt are separate records showing that both Piper and Sullivan were born on the same day in 1986, and both used the same residential address in Wanstead, east London.
I contacted Sullivan at Yield Gallery and told him I had been recognized as a Piper from Embassy Wine UK. Sullivan’s lawyer told me: “He accepts that he is the person he has referred to as Jonothan Piper, and under that name he was convicted of certain offences, paid the penalty and was disqualified as a director in 2015. The disqualification ends in 2026. “. ‘
He added that Sullivan “was wrong to think that there was a difference between being appointed a director, on the one hand, and operating a company as such.”
His attorney emphasized that Sullivan had legally changed his name and had been completely honest with Yield Gallery, which decided he deserved a chance to rebuild his life after prison. And this was not a surprise. He had already discovered that the gallery employs Anthony Allen, another disqualified director.
Allen, now a salesman at the gallery, was banned by the High Court in 2016 from holding any directorship for the next 15 years. This followed an Insolvency Service investigation into his company Global Neutral Ltd, which marketed investments in carbon credits.
Through its attorney, Yield Gallery confirmed that Allen, like Sullivan, works there, but said, “Yield Gallery is a legitimate business enterprise, with physical facilities.”
Neither Allen nor Sullivan have any controlling role, the lawyer added.
Strong words that now seem empty…
When Department of Business investigators investigated Embassy Wine UK and its owner Jonothan Piper, as he was then called, the agency pulled no punches.
Piper did not cooperate with investigators and lied to them on key issues such as his company’s banking details, announcing that “the self-proclaimed fine wine broker had not traded legitimately at all and had set up the company simply to defraud investors.” of approximately £300,000′.
The Insolvency Service, which monitors offending company bosses, explained: “He cannot promote, manage or be a director of a limited company until 2026.”
Strong words. But when The Mail on Sunday contacted the Insolvency Service about Piper’s new name and her senior roles in the company, the response was much weaker. Officials said they had “no documentary evidence” that Piper breached the ban, although public records at Companies House clearly show this.
When Sullivan was told he was the same person as Piper and had admitted setting up companies with himself as a director while he was allegedly disqualified, the Insolvency Service backtracked and said it would review its decision. However, as things stand, the strong words used several years ago seem empty. And being disqualified as a director of a company does not seem to mean that an offender is actually disqualified at all.
If you believe you are a victim of financial irregularity, please write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the large volume of inquiries, it is not possible to provide personal responses. Please only send copies of the original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.