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Serious Fraud Office charges three directors with fraud for forestry investment in Costa Rica

14 June, 2023 | News Releases

Today, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged former company directors Stephen Greenaway, Paul Laver and Matthew Pickard with fraud in relation to a collapsed scheme where 3,500 UK investors lost millions of pounds.   

For over eight years, Ethical Forestry Ltd operated tree plantations in Costa Rica and sold investments, starting at £12,000, in fast-growing hardwood saplings on their sites, offering a return once the trees were grown, logged and sold.

The company collapsed in 2015, triggering a comprehensive investigation by the SFO. Investigators heard from hundreds of savers who lost their savings and found most of them used funds from their self-invested personal pensions.

All three directors have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of fraudulent trading. They will appear at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 28 June, before the case is tried at Crown Court.

Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said:

“We delivered justice for over 10,000 victims of complex investment fraud in 2022 and we won’t stop fighting this threat.

“This company’s abrupt collapse impacted thousands of British savers and pensioners.  We could not have brought this case without the many victims who bravely shared their experiences; we are grateful.”