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Sustainable Agroenergy SIPP Claims

Many people were told they’d be better off if they traded their pensions in for a Self-Invested Personal Pension: SIPP, and invest in Sustainable Agroenergy, helping to create a cleaner, greener world while making some healthy promised returns.

Now it’s in liquidation

Sustainable Agro Energy was sold on the premise that investors’ money would be placed into green-oil plantations in Cambodia – jatropha trees that would produce green biofuels for a number of uses, a seemingly great alternative to crude-oil based energy.

But Sustainable Agro Energy turned out to be more than a little bit of a stinker, with the Serious Fraud Office putting a Freeze Order on the company in 2012, moving swiftly to sentence Stuart Stone to 6 years in jail in December 2014 after earning around £3.1m in commission and leaving investors with nothing.

Over £23m of British investor capital was poured into Sustainable Agro Energy in good faith, on the promise of healthy and earth-friendly returns for the future.

Can you claim for having been mis-sold?

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Can you claim for Sustainable Agroenergy compensation?

Several financial advisers and the FSCS have been paying out compensation for the mis-selling of Sustainable Agroenergy investments via SIPPs and SSASs for a few years, with Spencer Churchill Claims Advice often leading the claim on a No Win – No Fee* basis.

If you:

  • Transferred your pension to a SIPP
  • Invested in Sustainable Agroenergy or other high-risk investments
  • Aren’t earning over £100k per year
  • Aren’t a Sophisticated Investor

Then you may have been mis-sold, and you could be able to make a claim for negligent SIPP advice.

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What happened to Sustainable Agroenergy?

When companies enter into insolvency proceedings, updates are provided on what has happened, and what is going to happen next.

Highlights from the Administrator’s Proposal state:

“The companies were effectively members of the SGG Group of companies which collectively invested in overseas agricultural developments.”

“It is unclear which of the Group entities own individual assets”

“[…] The assets of the Companies are restrained and as such I am not able to make a distribution to any class of creditor until the order is either varied or rescinded.”

According to the SFO’s statement after the conclusion of the investigation says:

“The investigation focused on the selling and promotion of SAE investment products […]. The green biofuel products were sold to the UK investors primarily via self-invested personal pension plans. These individuals 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.”

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Sustainable Agroenergy Timeline

2009 - Company Formed

Sustainable Agroenergy P.L.C was formed on the 26 March 2009, and called itself Carbon Credited Farming PLC for the first 2 years.

2012 - Serious Fraud Office

In 2012, things got messy with the Serious Fraud Office opening their investigation into the investment and related companies.

2013 - Liquidation

In March 2013, Sustainable Agroenergy entered into liquidation.

2014 - Stuart Stone Sentenced

Stuart Stone was sentenced to 6 years for his part in the fraud.

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Sustainable Agroenergy Compensation FAQ's

How do I know if I was mis-sold a sustainable agroenergy investment?

If you can see Sustainable Agroenergy on your SIPP pension statement, and you weren’t earning over £100k per year, or a sophisticated investor, but a financial adviser told you to invest, you may well have been mis-sold and could be able to make a claim.

The fact that the investment was fraudulent should give you some idea.

What happened to the Directors of Sustainable Agroenergy?

Gary West, James Whale and Stuart Stone were convicted of 5 Fraud and Bribery charges in 2014. Stone received 6 years, and the three were later ordered to pay a confiscation order totalling £1.36m.

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