A Claims Management Company
Total amount invested
An estimated £23 million based on an assessment by the UK Serious Fraud Office.
Why did people invest in it?
The product was sold as an ethical investment with a capacity to help the climate and produce a green biofuel from Jatropha trees in Cambodia.
Why was it mis-selling?
Clients were deliberately mis-led into believing that Sustainable Agroenergy owned land in Cambodia; that this land held a crop of Jatropha trees; and that there was insurance in place to protect against a failed crop.
Potential value of cases
The averaged potential estimate of value per investor (approx. 250 investors according to UK Serious Fraud Office) is £92,000.
Sustainable Agroenergy sounded like a very good investment. It claimed that it was an opportunity for a truly ethical investment, which would be helping the environment and your wallet at the same time. To achieve this, the company said it wanted to grow crops of Jatropha trees in Cambodia, on land it had purchased for the project. Investors were promised that they would see a significant return on their investment, and ultimately, an estimated £23 million was invested.
In 2012, the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Sustainable Agroenergy, investigating allegations of fraud that had occurred between April 2011 and February 2012. This investigation led to the arrest of the directors of the company, and ultimately in December 2014 they were sentenced to a total of 28 years in prison for fraud and bribery offences.
Investors were deliberately misled into believing that SAE owned land in Cambodia, that the land was planted with Jatropha trees, and that there was an insurance policy in place to protect investors if the crops failed.
When handing down sentence HHJ Beddoe described the fraud as a "thickening quagmire of dishonesty... there were more than 250 victims of relatively modest means some of whom had lost all of their life savings and their homes."
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