The FCA is continuing its High Court claim for money to be returned to investors in the African Land and Capital Carbon Credits schemes. The FCA continues to maintain that the defendants made false and misleading statements to investors in these schemes.
The FCA launched legal action in July 2013 in respect of two investment schemes, promoted by Capital Alternatives Limited and a number of other firms:
- African Land (also known as Agri Capital) which offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone as run by African Land Limited
- Reforestation Projects (also known as Capital Carbon Credits) which offered 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 above schemes were collective investment schemes which could not be lawfully operated by the defendants. Some of the defendants appealed, and in March 2015 the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal and also found 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.
Since receiving the Supreme Court’s ruling, the FCA has also been preparing the legal documents needed to continue its High Court claim by way of a trial. Following a pre-trial review hearing on 7 April 2017, the trial has now been scheduled for July 2017 (with exact dates to be confirmed). The trial will deal with various issues (including misleading statements which the FCA alleges were made to investors).
As the court has ruled that these are collective investments schemes and they were operating unlawfully, it may order the defendants to pay compensation that can be passed on to the investors. The sixteenth defendant has settled the case on the basis that it will contribute up to £200,000 in total if any other defendant is required to pay compensation. The sixteenth defendant will not take part in any further proceedings.
At present, the previous undertakings and injunctions obtained by the FCA from July 2013 onwards remain in place. Further information will be provided when it is available.
What should I do?
The FCA has explained to investors that they should retain copies of all documents and evidence of payments made in each of the schemes and that they may wish to take legal advice on their own individual position.
Investors should note that the FCA is 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.
Copies of the judgments can 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'
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
- 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)
Notes for editors
- View the previous statement: FCA wins case against Capital Alternatives
- On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
- The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers
- Find out more information about the FCA