By Chris Lang
Andrew Skeene and Omari Bowers, former directors of Global Forestry Investments, last week pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. In 2019, following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, Skeene and Bowers were arrested and 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 11 June 2020, Skeene and Bowers appeared via telephone at a virtual hearing at the Central Criminal Court in London. Their trial is set for 6 April 2021, in Southwark Crown Court.
On its website, the Serious Fraud Office has the following announcement:
From 26 June to 7 October 2019, the GFI questionnaire experienced technical difficulties which means submissions made during that period were not received, even though you may have received a confirmation acknowledgement message thanking you for your submission. Therefore your questionnaire data was not stored or acted upon.
Anyone who sent in a questionnaire between these dates needs to resubmit the form via the Serious Fraud Office Secure Form:
Anyone who invested in Global Forestry Investments and has not yet completed the SFO questionnaire should also fill in the form.
Global Forestry Investments offered investments in plots of land in teak plantations in Brazil. REDD-Monitor first wrote about Global Forestry Investments in March 2014:
In February 2015, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it had opened an investigation into Global Forestry Investments:
In July 2019, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it had charged Skeene and Bowers. Skeene was arrested at Heathrwo Airport on 29 June 2019, Bowers was arrested at Gatwick Airport on 30 October 2019:
In February 2020, judge Philip Kramer in the High Court ordered Skeene and Bowers to continue with monthly payments under a settlement agreed in November 2018 totalling £8.6 million: