A provisional liquidator was appointed this week by the DTI, saying it was not in the public interest for Alchemy UK to enlist new members.
On 19 June, the Independent on Sunday voiced concern about how long the scheme would last, and alerted the public to its grandiose claims. We asked the DTI to comment on Alchemy so that the public could be alerted to any problems. The DTI had nothing to say.
It now transpires that days earlier, on 14 June, the DTI had presented a petition to the Court to wind up Alchemy UK.
Yet when we spoke to Nigel Garvey, a founder member of Alchemy UK, he was adamant the scheme was here to stay.' The only way Alchemy will burn out is if we recruit everyone in the world,' he said.
When the winding up order from the DTI arrived, it came as a great shock, said Mr Garvey.
Alchemy UK may have bitten the dust, but Mr Garvey and two of his fellow founder members, Steve Roberts and Nick Davison, have wasted no time setting up a new venture - The Alchemy Foundation.
According to Mr Garvey, the assets and liabilities of Alchemy UK were transferred to a company called Quillpunch, trading as the Alchemy Foundation, on 30 May. The transfer was apparently to protect the Alchemy members and their money, and to ensure the continuity of the Alchemy concept.
'I don't suppose the DTI will like it, but at the end of the day it is a perfectly legitimate transaction,' says Mr Garvey.
He adds that no Alchemy UK member will lose any money and is adamant that the concept is here to stay in a big way - sentiments you may have heard somewhere before.
Mr Garvey says there have been big improvements to the scheme, and that both existing members and prospective ones can feel confident about the future.
As the Foundation's promotional literature says: 'The lessons have been learned from the subsequent legal advice on Alchemy UK, and we are all tremendously confident that our new organisation and prospectus will help all our student members to achieve their dreams for the future.'