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Notorious fraudster challenges order to repay £16.9m to investors

Notorious fraudster challenges order to repay £16.9m to investors

Notorious Bitcoin fraudster Renwick Haddow and his associates have applied to appeal against a High Court decision ordering them to repay £16.9 million to investors who lost money in unauthorised schemes they are accused of promoting unlawfully.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) won a case against Haddow, his associates and Capital Alternatives, last month for their roles in four unauthorised collective investment schemes.

But Haddow and associates Robert McKendrick and Alan Howard Meadowcroft are seeking to appeal the High Court decision.

The schemes in the case the FCA won involved investments between 2009 and 2013, where consumers were persuaded to invest in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone and in carbon credits intended to be generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia.

The schemes had gathered £17 million in funds from around 2,500 investors by 2013 according to the FCA.

The FCA first launched the legal action in July 2013 in respect of the operation and promotion of the four schemes and also over the ‘false and misleading statements’ made to consumers by individuals involved with the schemes.

None of the defendants in the proceedings were authorised to run such schemes.

The decision comes following protracted proceedings, an appeal and an eventual trial which took place over 22 days and concluded in October 2017.

According to Law360, in his bid to appeal, filed with the High Court yesterday, Haddow said he previously approached the FCA through his attorneys to ensure the schemes did not need to be authorized.

In court documents accompanying his appeal, he said: ‘Haddow and other defendants … were operating these schemes in good faith and advice from the FCA.’

Law360 also reported that Capital Alternatives’ legal adviser, Marcia Hargous, is asking the court to release funds from a freezing order against her to fund her own appeal.

It also reported that Meadowcroft is seeking to challenge the ruling on the grounds the court failed to consider certain facts, such as the date he was appointed as director of African Land Ltd., also known as Agri Capital, one of the unauthorized schemes, which offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone.

The FCA said in documents provided to the court that the date of Meadowcroft’s appointment is not critical to the order and that 'he did nothing to stop investments to new investors' when he was director.

It argued the factual findings are grounded in evidence and are unimpeachable.

According to other reports, Haddow is in the process of being extradited to the United States over separate investment schemes there, in which investors poured £28 million into two fraudulent entities.

One is thought to be a firm that rented out office space, and the other a cryptocurrency trading platform called Bitcoin Store Inc.

Other reports cite documents filed with the New York Southern District Court which accuse JP Morgan of having aided Haddow’s operations by failing to flag ‘suspicious activity’ within his accounts with the bank.

In its latest filing with the court, JP Morgan strenuously denies the allegation, according to reports.

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