A 15 year disqualification order has been made against Renwick Robert Haddow following an investigation by the Insolvency*Service.
The High Court of Justice ordered Mr Haddow?s disqualification for the maximum period of 15 years, effective from 2 March 2018.
Deputy Registrar Baister stated in his judgment of 9 February 2018, that:
Misleading marketing material was disseminated to investors which seriously misrepresented to lay people the value of the investments,?duping lay people into parting with their money
This is fraudulent conduct of the nastiest kind
I regret that Parliament has restricted me to 15 years
The allegations made out in court were that he:
had acted as a director of the company, in breach of a previous director ban
had failed to keep, preserve, or deliver up Agri Firma?s records and that
he had caused the company to mislead its investors
This follows disqualifications for the company?s two registered directors, Robert Ross White (8 years) and Richard John Lyon Henstock (9 years) in 2016 to 2017.
Agri Firma Capital Ltd offered investment in wheat-producing agricultural land in Western Australia and Lithuania.
The company misled its investors, to believe that a legitimate and valuable lease had been purchased for them for farmland in either Lithuania or Australia. However, there is no evidence that any land was purchased in Lithuania and the land purchase in Australia was never completed.
Assurances regarding the Australian wheat investment of 9% farming income and 11-15% capital gain were given, despite both professional advice being received that such was unachievable and investor capital being reduced by undisclosed 65% up-front marketing and other fees.
The disqualifications prevent all three from directly or indirectly becoming involved (without the permission of the court) in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of their bans.
Deputy Registrar Baister added that:
Mr Haddow pulled the strings, and was ultimately in charge, of the company
Mr Henstock and Mr White had limited knowledge of and involvement in Agri Firma?s affairs; and, to the extent that they did have any involvement, only did so under Mr Haddow?s direction and instruction
Mr Haddow was the ultimate beneficial owner of the Capital Alternatives group of companies associated with Agri Firma and he, his family, and companies under his ownership and control, were the principal beneficiaries of Agri Firma?s activities
Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, Chief Investigator at The Insolvency Service, said:
I can only echo the words of the Deputy Registrar in this case, the evidence showed both that this entire investment was a fraud and that it was controlled by Mr Haddow.
This case particularly illustrates, not only the excellent day-to-day relationship the Insolvency Service has with the Financial Conduct Authority, but also the vital assistance of The Malta Financial Services Authority and Australian Securities and Investments Commission. With such International co-operation, the tracing of investor monies across the world, in cases such as this, is made possible.