Peters & Peters

SFO takes action against Stephen Greenaway, Paul Laver and Matthew Pickard

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Key facts:

Following the collapse of Ethical Forestry Limited in 2015, the SFO opened a criminal investigation into tree-based investment schemes run by the Ethical Group, which included the Ethical Forestry Limited.

In 2023, the SFO charged former company directors of Ethical Forestry Limited, Stephen Greenaway, Paul Laver and Matthew Pickard. The directors were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and one count of fraudulent trading contrary to section 993 of the Companies Act 2006.

The allegations relate to the running of Ethical Forestry Limited, a tree-based investment scheme, between January 2008 and December 2015. Ethical Forestry Ltd was said to operate tree plantations in Costa Rica and sold investments, starting at £12,000, in fast-growing hardwood saplings on their sites, offering a return once the trees were grown, logged and sold.

The case has been listed for trial in early 2026 at Southwark Crown Court.

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