We are continuing our High Court claim for money to be returned to investors in the African Land and Capital Carbon Credits schemes. We maintain that the defendants made false and misleading statements to investors in these schemes. Find out more about this and what it could mean 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 (see the full list of defendants at the bottom of this page) were promoting and operating collective investment schemes without authorisation. We launched legal action in July 2013 focusing on two investment schemes:
- African Land (also known as Agri Capital) which offers investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone as 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. In March 2015 the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal, confirming that the schemes were collective investment schemes. 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 that should be made.
What this means for investors
The Court has ruled that these are collective investments schemes and were operating unlawfully. As a result, it may order the defendants to pay compensation that can be passed on to the investors. The eighth and sixteenth defendants have settled their cases and have contributed £33,000 and £200,000 for compensation. They will not take part in any further proceedings.
We have received this money and will hold it until the Court issue further directions.
At present, the previous undertakings and injunctions obtained by us from July 2013 onwards remain in place.
What you should do next
If you invested in either or both of the African Land/Agri Capital or Reforestation Projects/Capital Carbon Credits schemes, you may wish to take legal advice. However, you do not have to take any action in relation to our case at this stage. We will give you further information when it is available.
In the meantime, please ensure that you retain copies of all documents in relation to your investments, including any certificates and evidence of payments made in relation to the schemes.
Please be aware that we are not seeking repayments from other investments promoted by or related to Capital Alternatives Limited in these proceedings.
Investors may therefore wish to take legal advice on their individual position in relation to any other products or schemes they have invested in.
Contact by third parties
We are aware that some investors may have been approached by third parties offering to assist them in disposing of their investments with African Land or Capital Carbon Credits. In some instances these individuals claim to work for, or on behalf us. You should be extremely cautious if you are approached, particularly if you are asked to make a payment in advance.
If you think you may have been approached by an unauthorised firm or individual you should contact us on 0800 111 6768.
If you invest with a firm that is not authorised by us, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service (link is external) or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (link is external) (FSCS) if things go wrong.
Copies of the judgment
We are not in a position to provide copies of court documents to investors. Any investor who wishes to obtain such documents will need to apply to the court and pay any relevant fees.
Copies of the judgments can also be obtained as follows:
- the Court of Appeal judgment dated 25 March 2015 can be obtained from the BAILII website or from the Court of Appeal quoting case number 'A3/2014/0764: 0764A; 0766'.
- The High Court judgment dated 14 February 2014 can be obtained from the BAILII website or from the High Court quoting new case number 'HC-2013-000531'.
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
- Robert McKendrick
- Alan Meadowcroft
- Regency Capital Limited
- Reforestation Projects Limited
- Mark Ayres/Eyres
- Mark Gibbs
- the estate of David Waygood (case settled).