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Four men charged in £23m SFO biofuels investigation

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Four men connected to collapsed biofuels firm Sustainable AgroEnergy have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud worth an estimated £23m.

The men, all British nationals, have been charged in connection with a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the promotion of biofuel investments to UK investors.

The men have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to furnish false information.

They are former Sustainable AgroEnergy director and chief commercial officer Gary West, former Sustainable AgroEnergy chief executive James Whale, former Sustainable AgroEnergy financial controller Fung Fong Wong, and Stuart Stone, an IFA associated with the company.

West, Stone and Wong have also been charged with offences under the Bribery Act 2010, the first time charges have been brought under the act by the SFO.

In March 2012, Money Marketing reported Southwark Crown Court had issued a freezing order on assets held by Sustainable Growth Group and its subsidiaries Sustainable AgroEnergy and Sustainable Wealth Investments after a request from the SFO. The Sustainable Growth Group of companies was placed into administration in March 2012.

Around 1,500 people, mostly Sipp investors, are thought to have invested in the firms, which invested in Jatropha tree plantations in South-east Asia.

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  1. Ah well then – the SFO. Nothing to worry about. The accused will probably be able to sue them for wrongful arrest, slander, business interruption and loss of profits when the case collapses – as seems the norm with the SFO.

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