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Australian wheat investment scam boss disqualified for 15 years

Agriculture Corn 480The High Court has disqualified a UK investment scammer who mislead clients into investing in land in Australia and Lithuania to the estimated losses of £508,667 and AUD $661,500.

Richard Haddock has been disqualified for 15 years.

Haddock acted as a director of Nottingham-based Agri Firma Capital between July 2011 and July 2014. During that time he failed to identify company assets, deliver up financial records, trace the disposal of investor monies, and ascertain the causes of business failure.

It was found that marketing material and other communication distributed to investors led them to believe they had investments in wheat-producing agricultural farmland in Western Australia and Lithuania.

A statement from the Insolvency Service says: “Assurances regarding the Australian wheat investment of nine per cent farming income and 11 to 15 per cent capital gain were given, despite both professional advice being received that such was unachievable and investor capital being reduced by undisclosed 65 per cent up-front marketing and other fees.”

No evidence was found of land purchased in Lithuania, while land purchase in Australia was not completed.

Communication with investors in June 2014 indicated the project and plantation were progressing, but these land purchases had actually fallen through.

The disqualification follows those of the company’s two registered directors, Robert White, for eight years, and Richard Henstock, for nine years, who had been found to have limited knowledge and involvement within Agri Firma, with all company responsibility under Haddock.

Deputy Registrar Baister stated in his judgement last week that: “This is fraudulent conduct of the nastiest kind.”

Agri Firma went into liquidation on 9 July 2014 with deficiencies of around £540,000 and AUD$661,000.

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