“Unscrupulous” land bank wound up by High Court

A land banking company has been ordered into liquidation on public interest grounds following an investigation by part of the Insolvency Service.

The High Court ruled that VP Commodities should be wound up after an investigation by Company Investigations decided that it had marketed plots of land in Grantham, Lincolnshire, to investors on the false claims that it had strong development prospects.

The court was told that VP Commodities was formed to carry on the “unscrupulous” land banking business of Vinci Trading, which was previously closed down on grounds of public interest.

Vinci Trading had falsely told investors that land being marketed would likely be granted planning permission for residential development. The same land was then marketed by VP Commodities.

Chris Mayhew, supervisor with Company Investigations, says: “The public need to be on their guard against the activities of unscrupulous companies which exploit investors in land banking with the promise of high returns which may never materialise.

“This decision sends a clear message that we will continue to crack down on companies which deliberately mislead the public in this way.”

The Financial Services Authority recently secured a victory in the £32m High Court over three land banks.