Lochwood Capital is a company that was registered in the UK on 29 July 2011. Back then, the company’s name was Infinitas Investments Limited. It was registered in the name of Barbara Kahan, who was 80 years old at the time.
Kahan has been the director of tens of thousands of companies, but most of them for only a short time. One of her current directorships is with A1 Company Services, a company that exists to set up companies in the UK. The basic package costs £29.99, and the full Monty costs £149.99. (A1 Company Services is also linked to 91 companies registered in countries such as Samao and the British Virgin Islands. The companies are mentioned in the Panama Papers, leaked earlier this year from Mossack Fonseca.)
Kahan also set up Merlins Wood, a company that set up an iffy looking REDD project in Pakistan, about which REDD-Monitor had more than a few questions. Merlins Wood’s accounts are overdue, and the company faces an active proposal to strike off. But since Kahan was a director of Merlins Wood for only a few hours, it would be unfair to hold her responsible for anything that Merlins Wood subsequently did.
Back to Lochwood Capital, then. Alexander Johnson has been the company’s sole director since 29 July 2011. On 22 April 2016, Johnson sent a message to REDD-Monitor:
I was surprised to hear that Johnson had made “multiple attempts” to contact me. This was the first I’d heard from him. I wrote back pointing out that there are thousands of comments on REDD-Monitor, and that a link to the comment and the name of Johnson’s employee and company would help.
Johnson wrote back on the same day:
Indeed, Russell Brooker had also contacted REDD-Monitor on 18 April 2016:
Name: Russell Brooker
Comment: There is a defamatory use of my name on your website which is effecting my reputation. I would like this to be removed please. Please email me to discuss the specific mention. If this could be handled as quickly as possible this would be very useful as it is damaging a series of different elements of my life.
Someone called Gordon left the comment that seems to have upset Johnson and Brooker. Gordon wrote the comment on 15 October 2015. Here it is in full:
Blythe & Bridges contacted me to say they had taken over all Able Alternatives clients. I asked if they could help with quarterly payments long due from VOIP and IMT. Ronnie Peters said if I became one of their clients he would look into it for me or pay £4,000 up front to manage my portfolio. I was stupid enough to be taken in by a Mr.Michael French & Russell Brooker of Able Alternatives for the sum of £35,000. I was very disappointed with the FCA when they told me there was something suspicious going on with Able Alternatives and did not have the decency to tell me I had been taken for a ride and that I had lost all my hard earned savings. There’s no fool like an old fool and that’s me.
Able Alternatives was part of the Capital Alternatives network, run by Renwick Haddow.
Russell Brooker also appears in another comment on REDD-Monitor, posted on 21 July 2015, by Shan. At the time, it seems, Brooker was working at Sterling and Bond, another part of the Capital Alternatives network:
First of all I’m thankful to Chris Lang for offering a platform to pass message through Sterling and Bond. Currently Sterling and Bond website doesn’t contain any email or any UK phone numbers.
I would like to request Mr Nash or Mr Russell Brooker (London Office) to sell my graphene stock. Please note I’m not asking for any profits but simply my investment back even though if prices have gone done as I’m willing to cut my losses. Many Thanks
Predictably enough, neither Brooker nor anyone else from Sterling and Bond responded to Shan’s request.
In a comment on 192.com, someone calling themselves Mark Gale links Brooker’s name with IIS Genesis, a company that traded as IIS International. According to a comment on The Motley Fool (and confirmed here) Keith Mealings, a director of IIS Genesis, was the website/IT specialist at Capital Alternatives.
In February 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority put out a warning against IIS Genesis accusing the company of “providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation”. IIS Genesis was voluntarily dissolved on 26 April 2016.
On 25 April 2016 Alexander Johnson wrote again:
Here’s a screenshot of Johnson’s LinkedIn account:
Since it’s somewhat light on details, I thought I’d try to find out a little more.
Worldwide Natural Resources Plc
On 15 December 2009, Johnson registered the website wnrplc.com. The website belonged to a company called Worldwide Natural Resources Plc. On 21 February 2011, Johnson became a director of the company.
The company’s website has disappeared, but here’s an archived copy. This is how Worldwide Natural Resources described Johnson on its website:
Mr Johnson has extensive knowledge of the coal fines and mining industry, with a particular focus on mining, mineral processing and oil and gas exploration and development in Africa. Mr Johnson’s published research into coal fines and mineral processing has acted as a key contributing factor to the WNR modeling and technology strategy.
Mr Johnson had been acting as corporate advisor to the incumbent CEO Luca Tenuta for several months, in this time acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the company’s operational practices. It is this holistic company insight coupled with his knowledge of the coal fines and mining industries that make Mr Johnson a welcome addition to the company’s strategic board.
Worldwide Natural Resources planned to turn coal mining waste into pellets using a process called High Efficiency Advanced Pelletisation (HEAP). The pellets could then be re-used as fuel. Here’s what Growth Company Investor had to say about Alexander Johnson in November 2011 (that’s Johnson on the right, holding a coal pellet):
Chasing big deals with South African and Russian business bosses is youthful Alexander Johnson, chief executive officer of PLUS-quoted coal waste treatment specialist Worldwide Natural Resources. Claiming at 24 to be the youngest ever head of a UK quoted company, Johnson is negotiating a 15 million-tonne feedstock contract and has his eyes on a deal with a South African coal mining company to treat ten million tonnes of coal a year and generate a hoped-for £4 million annual profit.
A student at London’s Regents College business school before doing a stint with formidable ex-public relations chief Brian Basham’s investment research outfit Equity Development, Johnson joined London-based WNR earlier this year as investor relations director before moving into the hot seat later on. The company, which has raised more than £1.5 million of equity so far, holds exclusive rights in much of southern Africa to the proprietary HEAP process, which turns coal waste (known as ‘fines’) into pellets that can be re-used as fuel, with moisture cut to below 10 or 5 per cent and calorific value enhanced by up to 30 per cent.
With investors including Stephen Evans, producer of First Night and The Madness of King George among other films, and powerful Angolan backing, Johnson hints that WNR could also be in line for a 12 billion-tonne joint venture involving oligarchic Russian tycoons and yielding a potential £9 a tonne. The other day, Gopolang Makokwe, an ex-Anglo American mining engineer aged a venerable 42, became chairman of WNR, which has fixed a £2.2 million convertible loan facility to establish its first 50-tonnes-per-day plant.
Johnson has not always been concerned with basic industry. While at school, he worked for the ‘Paul & Betty’ fashion company.
In July 2012, Worldwide Natural Resources announced that it had “secured” 15 million tonnes of tailings feedstock and had “contractually secured off-take agreements to sell all of its pellets”. In addition, the company’s 50 tonne per hour coal waste pelletisation plant had arrived in Durban, South Africa. Worldwide Natural Resources just needed to raise the money to transport the plant to the production site in Newcastle, 340 kilometres away from Durban. And of course more money would be needed to commission the plant.
Five months later, Johnson resigned from Worldwide Natural Resources – on 10 December 2012 to be precise.
And on 2 July 2014, Jeffrey Brenner of B&C Associates Limited was appointed liquidator of Worldwide Natural Resources. Here’s part of the liquidator’s 2015 progress report:
As you may be aware, in a compulsory liquidation the duty to investigate the Company’s affairs is the responsibility of the Official Receiver. There is no requirement on the liquidator to submit a report or return on the directors’ conduct to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, however where matters are brought to the liquidator’s attention these are reported as appropriate to the Official Receiver for further consideration.
The Liquidator has instructed Mackrell Turner Garrett (MTG) solicitors to assist him in his enquiries under a conditional fee arrangement. In particular MTG are investigating whether there are any potential recoveries available to the Liquidation.
These investigations include an analysis of payments made from the bank account of the Company. Although explanations have been provided, further investigations have been deemed necessary.
A particular focus is the activities of the Company in South Africa, with specific regard to a loan of £300,000 by Premium Resources Limited, a South Africa-registered entity. The terms of the loan involve another entity, Restimanzi (Pty) Limited. The questions relate to whether the latter is wholly owned by the Company and, by extension, the legal ownership of various plant and machinery. MTG are currently conducting enquiries.
This was the registered office of Worldwide Natural Resources – The Station Masters House, 168 Thornbury Road, Osterley Village, Isleworth TW7 4QE:
Almost 200 other companies are registered at the same address.
Some of Johnson’s other companies
Johnson had been director of several other companies (many of them registered at the same address as Worldwide Natural Resources):
- BCOMP 374 Limited – Johnson was director from 15 April 2009 to 22 September 2009. On 19 October 2010, the company was compulsorily dissolved. Registered address: 39 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1JD
- Lexentron Limited – Johnson founded Coal Fines Technology Limited on 7 May 2010. Luca Tenuta was director from 5 October 2010 to 22 February 2011. On 22 March 2012, Johnson changed the company’s name to Lexentron Limited. On 30 July 2013, the company was voluntarily dissolved. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- Coal Fines Resources SA Ltd – Johnson was director from 4 March 2011 to 10 December 2012. The company’s accounts are overdue. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- Lochwood Capital Limited – Johnson became director of Infinitas Investments Limited on 29 July 2011, taking over from Barbara Kahan. On 5 April 2016, Johnson changed the company name to Lochwood Capital, and on 15 April 2016, the company filed accounts for a dormant company. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- Odin Productions Ltd – Johnson became director on 3 January 2013, taking over from Barbara Kahan. On 15 April 2016, the company filed accounts for a dormant company. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- Two Intelligent Limited – Johnson co-founded the company with Iain Richardson on 1 August 2014. Johnson resigned as director on 1 April 2016. On 29 April 2016, the company filed accounts for a dormant company. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- 2I Technology – Johnson co-founded the company with Iain Richardson on 1 August 2014. On 29 April 2016, the company filed accounts for a dormant company. Registered address: The Station Masters House, Isleworth, TW7 4QE.
- IIG Asset Management Limited – Johnson founded the company on 30 January 2015 and is still a director. Dr Norman Nepo was appointed director on 17 June 2015. Registered address: 1 Mayfair Place, London, W1J 8AJ.
- Mavarac Group Limited – Johnson founded the company on 6 October 2015. Registered address: Afentrίkas, 4, Afentrika Court, Office 2, 6018, Larnaca, Cyprus.
Lochwood Capital Limited
Since Johnson told REDD-Monitor that his company is Lochwood Capital, and Russell Brooker works for Lochwood Capital, let’s take a quick look at Lochwood Capital.
While the company has existed since 2011, the name Lochwood Capital has only existed since 5 April 2016. Johnson registered the company’s website on 17 March 2016.
Here’s a screenshot of the website:
While the website provides little or no information about the company, it does provide plenty of entertaining nonsense. Here are just a few samples:
Lochwood Capital is a new company. Both in age and in approach. It is the risk averse strategy of our founder and CEO, Alexander Johnson.
At Lochwood Capital we work closely with our partner firms to ensure transparency and clear deliverables. We are principal investors and conduct thorough due diligence. Our outlook is long term. We wish to build relationships for not years but decades. By investment strategy we are challengers to assumptions and forcers of progression.
A unique due diligence approach which means we look that much deeper at assumptions to which figures are based; and also via our exclusivity of investment access. Of paramount importance to us is ensuring our investors are given the maximum amount of information and transparency. Integrity, respect and customer satisfaction are everything to us, so we strive to maintain the highest ethical standards at all times. We take nothing more seriously than the responsibility we owe to our investors.
The company’s website gives an office address: 7-9 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1EE. And a phone number: +44 (0)20 7183 1051.
Here’s a screenshot of the fake William Grant & Co’s website:
The number is also used by a company called EU Wine Auctions Ltd, a company that encourages investors to put their money in wine.
Here’s a screenshot of EU Wine Auctions’ website:
Lochwood Capital is also not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA notes that, “Almost all firms offering financial services in the UK must be authorised by us”, and recommends only dealing with authorised firms.