At Southwark Crown Court today, the SFO has secured convictions against two directors behind fraudulent green investment schemes in Brazil, which took in investments worth approximately £37 million and where about 2000 investors were deceived.

On 25 February 2015, the SFO announced it had opened an investigation into Global Forestry Investments, a company which presented as a secure, well-managed, ethical investment scheme that would help protect the Amazon rainforest and support local communities. The company established three teak tree investment schemes in Brazil, known as Belem Sky Plantation, Para Sky Plantation and Para Grosso Sky Plantation.

The directors were found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of misconduct in the course of winding up a company. They will be sentenced at a later date. As well as substantial custodial sentences, they will face confiscation proceedings to deprive them of the benefit of their criminal conduct. Confiscated assets will be used to compensate the investors whose desire to invest in companies that protected the environment was exploited.

These convictions will provide further relief for the SFO, in advance of the publication of the findings from Sir David Calvert-Smith's independent review into the failings of the SFO in the Unaoil bribery case.

The SFO press release can be read here.