Two directors have been disqualified for a combined 20 years after they pocketed millions from investments intended for Brazilian teak schemes.
On 12 January 2018, Junie Conrad Omari Bowers and Andrew Nathaniel Skeene gave undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 10 years each.
This means Junie Bowers and Andrew Skeene are prevented from controlling or managing a limited company without leave of the court.
Junie Bowers and Andrew Skeene were directors of GFI, which traded as Global Forestry Investments, and their business promoted two teak investment schemes in Brazil.
The Insolvency Service investigation found Junie Bowers and Andrew Skeene caused or allowed the company to operate with a lack of commercial probity from 24 September 2010 until the company ceased trading in March 2014, following a compulsory liquidation.
Investigators found that GFI received ?20,146,631 from the sale of plots in the Belem Sky Project and ?3,863,185 from plots sold in the Para Sky Project.
But there was no evidence in GFI?s records or information provided by third parties that the majority of investors in the Belem Sky project received any returns after the first year, with investors receiving only ?709,884.69 in total.
And there was no evidence in the company records or information provided by third parties of any returns being made to investors in the Para Sky project.
However, investigators discovered that investors? funds for the purchase of plots was paid to trust companies and over ?13 million arising from the sale of the plots was paid to the bank accounts of Junie Bowers and Andrew Skeene.
The two directors explained that they had paid themselves the money as it helped ensure that running and operational costs of GFI could be paid whilst the company had no bank account. But investigators found that ?8,820,311 of those monies were used to pay creditors of a Dubai based company controlled by Bowers and Skeene, which was wound up by the High Court in October 2014.
Anthony Hannon, Official Receiver for the Insolvency Service, commented:
Directors who receive investment monies and misapply them for purposes not to the benefit of the company can expect to face the consequences of a lengthy period of disqualification.