Ponzi schemes have persisted as long as money has existed, with such scams now taking many forms. Fraudsters solicit investments in non-existent projects, and Africa is emerging as a leading fictitious investment landscape. South Africa-based investigative researcher Khadija Sharife explains how these hoaxes continue to work, examining Rendick Haddow, CEO of Capital Organization, and his 30-plus shell entities across the globe. Below, we provide a sampling of the evidence she compiled over the course of her investigation for the Spring 2015 issue of World Policy Journal.
1. The internal document discloses that African Land, initially Agri Capital, “was owned on a 50/50 basis by nominee companies operated by Robert McKendrick (RMcK) and Renwick Haddow (RH).” The document details that “RH was to arrange the funding through his alternative investment brokerage Capital Alternatives Limited (CAL)…..”45 percent was deducted in respect of fees although from the remaining amount RMcK and RH retained all the monies by way of "investment arrangement fees”….Another company called African Land, relating to carbon credit deals, would be incorporated in the BVI.
2. Internal document evidences shifting of funds from Agri Capital (African Land) on weekly basis to both Haddow (Whitemoon) and McKendrick: average of $50 000 per week or $400,000 per month.
3. Earlier hearing between FCA and Capital network: FCA claims it is impossible to fully track funds, inquires as to the high agent fee; notes that Whitemoon is a company run by Haddow, etc.
4. Lakewood Assets issues investors with a document shifting clients to Platinum Commodities. The letter is vague and signed only by the 'Lakewood Team'. Platinum Commodities shortly follows with a letter, similarly vague, confirming the “takeover” of the investor’s account. Platinum Commodities lists a phone number for investors that is also used for other shells: 0845 867 5487.
5. Agri Firma sends investors a letter, outlining financial distress and offering “a way out” via VOIP. Like other Capital entities, Voiptel International (Russia) is a rip-off of Voiptel International (Switzerland). Agri Firma, listing 124 New Bond Street, signs off vaguely and provides investors with a recycled number used by myriad shells: 0845 867 5487. Agri Firma’s other listed number is used by Capital Alternatives: 44 20 3598 1050
6. Anthony Sargeant, Agri Firma’s liquidator, confirms that, “monies were invested through various third party companies which Mr. Henstock had some involvement in. It appears that Agri Firma Capital Limited did not have a bank account and therefore no money was received by the company from any investors.”
7. Platinum Commodities sends investors the bank details of Red Leaf, a Capital receiving agent. Platinum also lists itself as an agent for Voiptel.
8. Corporate Agriculture Australia is duped into signing with Haddow who enforces a non-disclosure with the company. He is listed as Agri Firma representative. The company’s physical address is 124 New Bond Street. The telephone number listed is the same previously used by Capital Alternatives
9. Investor sinking big money requests land lease; picks up that carbon credit land lease is signed by African Land and not the entity issuing certificates to investors, Capital Carbon Credits (CCC). She raises the issue and receives a new certificate with African Land logo from McKendrick, replacing CCC. The investor was not aware that the lease was forged as confirmed by Paramount Chief and others. Capital Carbon Credits lists 124 New Bond Street as the company’s physical address. African Land BVI signed the lease.
11. When writing to Ministry of Agriculture in Sierra Leone (2010) McKendrick lists Sophia House head office as his base.
12. McKendrick presents Capital Alternatives as the controlling party behind Agri Capital (African Land) and Capital Mining, to an official government Ministry.
13. Yoni community lawyer expresses dismay at the “clandestine” meeting of Yoni peoples, without their attorney. He similarly expresses “confound dissatisfaction” at the avoiding/skipping of meetings with him as Yoni lawyer.
14. Yoni Paramount Chief confirms that there was no subleasing to third parties allowed as promoted by the African Land deal.
15. Yoni Provincial Secretary confirms that there was no subleasing to third parties allowed as promoted by the African Land deal.
16. Yoni’s fraudulent subleasing document, evidencing thumb prints of community landowners, withdrawn from court by advice of African Land attorney. Not entered into Sierra Leone’s official land registry.
17. African Land’s Yoni project designated as community based organization
18. Agri Capital/African Land directors in Sierra Leone included Hargous – used by Haddow as a nominee for many companies coinciding with his 2008 disqualification, including the Capital Organization Ltd., Capital Alternatives Ltd., Capital Mining Limited, Capital Secretarial Ltd., MH Trustees Ltd., Rooms To Invest Ltd. etc.
19. FCA versus Capital Organization, including Hargous, Haddow, McKendrick, Henstock, Waygood and others alongside numerous related entities – Capital Secretarial, Capital Alternatives, Capital Carbon Credits, African Land, Capital Organization etc. Question interrogated appears minor but is critical: should the alternative investment schemes be collective schemes – and therefore regulated by FCA? The court rules yes. An appeal followed.
21. Palm oil land lease never entered into Sierra Leone’s OARG. Lease also didn’t allow for sublease. Green Energy, signing lease, distanced itself from PAM.
22. GAF letter to James Browne of Able Alternatives. Sent to investors as proof of solid “exit” deal from palm oil at “50 percent” uplift of initial investment of 2,100 GBP per acre of deforested land.
23. Able’s Browne negotiating in detail the $400,000 swap with investor for platinum-palm oil switch.
24. Anguilla’s authorities confirm GAF in good standing.
25. Anguilla’s authorities publicly revoke GAF: November 2014
26. Yet GAF already revoked prior.
27. GAF had used revoked number on its website
28. Gander’s LinkedIn profile listing Capital Alternatives
29. LinkedIn in profile of the Agri Firma contact, listing Lakewood and Capital Alternatives
Football Talent Fund:
The Fund is based at 207 Regent Street, a virtual office that can be rented for 79.99 GBP per month.
The Fund Administrators use the same physical details in Hong Kong and London (207 Regent Street, and 1709-1710, 17/F, 118 Connaught Road West, Hong Kong) as other Capital-related entities such as Able Alternatives, Curzon Commodities, etc.
The Fund Manager, Cavendish, also trading under the name Global Agricultural Fund, represented PAM, from the listed address ie: Spencer House, Anguilla – a mailbox building. The Fund Manager, Cavenish/GAF is a long revoked entity. In November 2014, Anguillan authorities officially confirmed the three were one, publicly revoking the company. The Legal advisor, Centurion, is a nominee agency based at Spencer House address in Anguilla that houses the Fund Manager. Centurion was identified as also representing GAF, by Lonnie Hobson, Anguilla’s Deputy Registrar, to the author in an email. The Auditing entities are based at the same virtual address used for other Capital-related entities such as 4 Corners Capital.
The directors of 4 Corners Capital included Robert Ross White, a nominee used in PAM, Pelmet Trustee, Capital Ideas, Agri Firma, etc. The Financial Receiving Agent is Castle Corporate Services. The same company was listed as a receiving agent, initially, for PAM on an earlier brochure version.
Castle Corporate is based at 5 Chancery Lane, a virtual office in London. When the author visited the relevant floor at Chancery Lane, the receptionist, a young women, had never heard of the company. On learning I was a journalist, she rectified her statement saying the secretary of Castle Corporate was out to lunch as were the executives. When she saw that I was planning on staying, having settled down with a book, she claimed that the secretary and executives were not in the building. This was later amended to the executive being in Dubai and no secretary being around, before finally – after being pressed for a secretary name, admitting there was no secretary and she had only a mobile number for the executive.
A check on the mail server reveals entities connected to Haddow, run by Keith Mealing. Omni Earth is Capital’s tech entity. The e-mails for cavendish-asset-management.com are routed through this mail server alongside other known Haddow entities.