We are continuing our High Court claim for money to be returned to investors in the African Land and Capital Carbon Credits schemes. Find out more about this and what it means for investors.
Collective investment schemes can be a risky investment and only authorised firms and individuals can operate or promote them. This is to protect consumers’ interests if something goes wrong.
We believed Capital Alternatives and several other connected firms and individuals were promoting and operating collective investment schemes without authorisation and making false and misleading statements to investors. We give the full list of defendants at the bottom of this page. We started legal action in July 2013 focusing on:
- African Land (also known as Agri Capital) which offers investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone run by African Land Limited.
- Reforestation Projects (also known as Capital Carbon Credits) which offer investments in carbon credits intended to be generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia and is run by Reforestation Projects Limited.
The High Court decided in February 2014 that the schemes were collective investment schemes which could not be lawfully operated by the defendants. Some of the defendants appealed this decision. In March 2015 the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal. On 28 July 2015, the Supreme Court refused to give the defendants permission to make a further appeal.
Following these rulings, the Court gave directions for a further trial to consider misleading statements, the extent of the defendants’ liability and the orders the Court should make. This trial took place over 22 days in July and October 2017 and the judgment was handed down on 26 March 2018.
The High Court initially ordered the defendants to pay £16.9 million in restitution. Following further applications by the FCA to take into account further losses from the African Land scheme, the Court has increased the amount to £18.7 million.
The defendants applied for permission to appeal the High Court’s decision. In a hearing on 24 April 2018, the trial judge refused the defendants’ applications for permission to appeal. Some of the defendants then applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal, and these were all refused in October 2018.
What this means for investors
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 enforcement process is likely to take some time.
We have obtained new undertakings from, or injunctions against, some of the defendants to ensure that they do not move or spend (‘dissipate or diminish’) assets.
When the enforcement process has reached a reasonably advanced stage so that we can make a good estimate of the amount we will recover from the Defendants, and no later than 30 September 2019, we will apply to Court for directions about how and to whom we should distribute the funds we recover.
The eighth and sixteenth defendants settled their cases previously and have contributed £33,000 and £200,000 towards compensation. We have received this money and will hold it until the Court issues directions about returning money to affected investors.
What you should do next
If you invested in the African Land/Agri Capital or Reforestation Projects/Capital Carbon Credits schemes, and have not yet replied with a completed questionnaire and documents in relation to your investments in these schemes, please send them to us either via email at [email protected] or in the post to: Freepost RTZE–RHAL–URAJ, marked for the attention of UBD JD/CG RE00718, Financial Conduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London E20 1JN.
It is very important that investors provide us with the information we have requested by 31 March 2019 so they do not to risk missing out on receiving compensation.
Once we have processed all questionnaires sent to us by 31 March 2019, we will contact investors regarding the Court application we need to make.
Please note that we are not seeking repayments from other investments promoted by or related to Capital Alternatives Limited and we do not need documents relating to these. Investors may want to take legal advice on their individual positions.
Contact by third parties
We know that third parties are continuing to contact investors offering to help them dispose of their investments with African Land or Capital Carbon Credits. In some cases these individuals claim to work for, or on behalf of, us. We are not approaching investors or asking anyone else to do so on our behalf. Do not make any payments to them.
List of defendants
We can confirm that the defendants in these proceedings are:
- Capital Alternatives Limited
- Capital Secretarial Limited
- Capital Organisation Limited
- Capital Administration Services Limited
- MH Trustees Limited
- Marcia Hargous
- Renwick Haddow
- Richard Henstock (case settled)
- African Land Limited (in liquidation)
- Robert McKendrick
- Alan Meadowcroft
- Regency Capital Limited
- Reforestation Projects Limited
- Mark Ayres/Eyres
- Mark Gibbs
- the estate of David Waygood (case settled)