in Australia, Brazil, Sierra Leone, UK

Capital Alternatives: Anyone who was scammed by African Land or Capital Carbon Credits should complete the FCA’s questionnaire before 31 March 2019

The Financial Conduct Authority is asking anyone who was scammed by African Land or Capital Carbon Credits to complete a questionnaire and send documents to the FCA by 31 March 2019.

If you handed over money to African Land or Capital Carbon Credits, and you have not yet contacted the FCA, please send an email, before 31 March 2019, to:

In a statement on its website the FCA explains that,

The FCA can now proceed to take steps to enforce the orders to obtain money from the Defendants. This may mean selling Defendants’ properties and/or making the Defendants bankrupt.

The FCA’s legal action against Capital Alternatives

The FCA started legal action against the Capital Alternatives network of companies, its head honcho Renwick Haddow and others, in July 2013. The focus of the legal action was on two “investment” schemes:

  • African Land (also known as Agri Capital) which offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone, and was run by African Land Limited.
  • Reforestation Projects (also known as Capital Carbon Credits) which offered investments in carbon credits generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia. It was run by Reforestation Projects Limited.

In February 2014, the High Court ruled that the schemes were illegal collective investment schemes.

Some of the defendants appealed. In March 2015, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal. And in July 2015, the Supreme Court ruled out any further appeals.

A further trial took place over 22 days spread over July, August, September, and October 2017 to consider misleading statements, the extent of the companies’ and individuals’ liability, and the orders the Court should make. The Judge, Patrick McCahill handed down his judgment on 26 March 2018.

The High Court ordered the defendants to repay £16.9 million. The FCA applied to increase this amount to include further losses from the African Land scheme. The Court increased the amount ot £18.7 million.

In April 2018 the trial judge refused the defendants permission to appeal. And in October 2018, the Court of Appeal refused their permission to appeal.

Contempt of court

The FCA has obtained undertakings from, or injunctions against, some of the defendants to prevent them from moving or spending their ill-gotten gains.

On 1 March 2019, the High Court of Justice sentenced Robert McKendrick to six months imprisonment for contempt of court, after McKendrick had “diverted funds and failed to disclose information about his assets” in breach of freezing injunctions.

McKendrick was the main director and shareholder of African Land. He was also behind the Capital Carbon Credits scheme in Sierra Leone. “The losses across the schemes in which Mr McKendrick was involved exceed £15m,” the FCA states.

The March 2018 Court judgement ordered McKendrick to pay these losses to the FCA in order that the money can be returned to investors. Towards the end of last year, McKendrick declared himself bankrupt.

In breach of the injunctions, McKendrick appointed his wife to manage his buy-to-let properties and diverted the rental income from these properties to his wife. He did not disclose these arrangements.

The judge noted that McKendrick’s breaches of the injunctions were “many, varied and deliberate, and intended to thwart orders of the court”.
 

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  1. [UK] Fraudster Gets Early Release On Freezing Order Sentence
    Law360, 22 May 2019
    A London judge granted an early release on Wednesday to a man jailed for six months for breaching two worldwide asset-freezing rulings tied to an order to pay at least £15 million ($19 million) to the Financial Conduct Authority for his role in an investment scam. Judge Marcus Smith said that Robert McKendrick, 60, could be released nine days before the halfway point of his sentence for contempt of court. The conman’s “exemplary behavior” since he was convicted was a “material factor” that justified his early release from Pentonville prison in London, Judge Smith said at the High Court. [R-M: Subscription needed.]