On 9 July 2019, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it had charged Andrew Skeene, a former director of Global Forestry Investments, with conspiracy to defraud, forgery, and misconduct in the course of winding up.
And on 31 July 2019, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it had charge Omari Bowers, also a former director of Global Forestry, with the same offences.
Skeene was arrested at Heathrow Airport on 29 June 2019. Bowers was charged by postal requisition.
Both men were charged with three offences of conspiracy to defraud, four offences of forgery, one offence of misconduct in the course of winding up, and one offence of making a false statement not under oath.
On its website, the Serious Fraud Office explains that, “The charges relate to alleged frauds concerning Global Forestry Investments between August 2010 and December 2015.” SFO adds that, “The investigation is ongoing and we cannot provide further comments at this time.”
On 12 January 2018, Bowers and Skeene were banned from controlling or managing a company for 10 years each.
REDD-Monitor has written about Bowers and Skeene’s company Global Forestry Investments twice:
Global Forestry Investments sold plots of land in two plots in Brazil, the Belem Sky Project and the Para Sky Project. In total the company received more than £24 million.
The Insolvency Service reports that,
[T]here was no evidence in GFI’s records or information provided by third parties that the majority of investors in the Belem Sky project received any returns after the first year, with investors receiving only £709,884.69 in total.
And there was no evidence in the company records or information provided by third parties of any returns being made to investors in the Para Sky project.
The Insolvency Service’s investigators found that investors’ money went to trust companies and more than £13 million was paid to Bowers’ and Skeene’s bank accounts.
According to the Insolvency Service,
The two directors explained that they had paid themselves the money as it helped ensure that running and operational costs of GFI could be paid whilst the company had no bank account. But investigators found that £8,820,311 of those monies were used to pay creditors of a Dubai based company controlled by Bowers and Skeene, which was wound up by the High Court in October 2014.
The Serious Fraud Office states that it has “now interviewed a variety of investors”. SFO requests anyone who invested in Global Forestry Investments and has not yet completed a questionnaire, to do so here: