On June 15, 2022, the UK Serious Fraud Office announced the sentencing of Andrew Nathaniel Skeene and Junie Conrad Omari Bowers, following their May 31, 2022 conviction on charges of common law conspiracy to defraud, and misconduct in the course of winding up a company.
Skeene and Bowers were founders and directors of Global Forestry Investments, which established teak tree investment schemes in Brazil between August 2010 and December 2015. They held the teak plantations out to investors as an ethical and environmentally sustainable scheme that would produce steady income for investors while protecting the Amazon rainforest and supporting local communities in Brazil. Investors may have been particularly drawn to the scheme by its proclaimed ethical and green claims. In fact, Skeene and Bowers removed £750,000 from the investment funds in cash, and spent an additional £2 million on luxury items and personal expenses.
The two men were sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment, and disqualified from serving as company directors for ten years. Confiscation proceedings are expected to follow.