A MALLORCA-based investment firm is feared to have lost or ‘mishandled’ tens of millions of euros invested in forestry abroad, the Olive Press can reveal.
GWD Forestry, based in Palma, has been accused of the mismanagement of investors’ cash – with many claiming they have never seen a return.
The company, which invests in agro-plantations, is understood to have performed a recent audit, and told the Olive Press it is working to ‘pay back’ its clients.
One Irish investor, based in Malaga, told the Olive Press he fears he has lost €8,000 invested in eucalyptus trees in Brazil in 2011, before reinvesting another €10,000 in 2013.
“I have received one report in all these years, despite repeatedly asking how my stock was doing,” the investor, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed.
“I have received nothing back and have had no response from the company in months, I fear I have lost €18,000.”
To add insult to injury, various investors fear they are now being targeted by con artists posing as investment fund managers looking to take over GWD’s operations.
An Australian expat, based in Madrid, told the Olive Press she is being ‘hounded every day’ by them, and believes her initial investment is linked in some way.
The businesswoman invested €8,800 into GWD’s ‘Biomass arm’ in Brazil last August.
“It’s obviously dodgy,” she told the Olive Press, “they are offering me three times what I invested.
“But they want me to pay €5,000 ‘in insurance’ BEFORE they give me the money they are promising.”
She continued: “What gets me is how they know what I invested and when. Was there a data breach?”
It comes after a group of disgruntled investors contacted the Olive Press having created a forum online.
“I invested in acacia and coconuts and so far none of the payments due have been performed despite multiple promises,” one wrote on the GWD Forestry Investor Community.
“The transparency regarding investment performance and payments has been appalling.”
Another said: “The after sales care has been terrible. Dozens of other investors have said the same thing.
“Some have been waiting since 2015 for returns. I’ll be happy to get some of my money back.”
Up to 40 victims alone are being handled by Carlton Huxley, a UK based firm of legal and law enforcement consultants. The group have collectively invested over €3.5m.
The firm, which specialises in resolving conflicts and probing fraud, is currently negotiating with bosses at GWD, including director Martin Roche, who is based in Ireland, but also has investments in Marbella, sources told the Olive Press.
“We have held a series of meetings with the management, who are being cooperative,” a spokesman for the firm, Bill Ferguson, told the Olive Press this week.
“We are working to get a recovery programme under way in the new year.”
He confirmed that investors were receiving cold calls, offering ‘substantial’ sums for the trees, while also claiming GWD is under criminal investigation by the City of London police and is ‘in liquidation’ in the UK.
“Neither are true, there is no UK company to liquidate,” said Ferguson, adding that most of the calls were coming from a company called Belmont Insolvency.
“Belmont say the investment is for a company called Serex Investments Ltd, which is FCA registered…then say the clients should consider taking out insurance on the transaction for £5,000 to £8,000.
“We have contacted Belmont to ask them how they got our clients details and to provide evidence to support their claims GWD is in liquidation and that there is an ongoing criminal investigation by London Police.
“They say they are unable to divulge this information ‘as it is sensitive’ which it is not.”
Belmont Insolvency was not contactable for comment, while a website for the firm was down this week.
Meanwhile, one former employee who worked for GWD for two years in Mallorca told the Olive Press that it was ‘obvious’ that something was ‘not right’.
“Everyone working there knew something was up but they were all too happy to ride the gravy train to worry,” he said.
Another employee, who left last year, said it was ‘without a doubt’ being run questionably.
“By the end, at least, it was more like a boiler room,” he revealed, “They were selling stock they didn’t have and overselling the stock they did have.”
He added: “There is definitely no sign of life there today. It’s gone. Completely gone. I have no idea where they are now.”
He also claimed that an investigation was under way in Canada by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.
That commission told the Olive Press last night: “Regrettably our policy is not to comment on the existence or non existence of an investigation.”
Current director Roche told the Olive Press last night that claims GWD was run like a boiler room were ‘completely untrue’.
“It was never run like that. The main reason behind the failures of GWD were due to the Brazilian economy and the devaluation of the Real.
“We are working around the clock to have a package in place and we plan to pay back every single investor.”
He added that he hoped investors would have more concrete answers within the next two months.
- Luxury brands continue to bet on Marbella’s Puerto Banus as Hermes, Versace and Fendi to set up shop - 17 Jun, 2019 @ 13:09
- Rival the yachts of Marbella this summer with this HUGE inflatable boat from Amazon - 17 Jun, 2019 @ 11:55
- REVEALED: British flyers behind soar in on-flight incidents in Spain as Malaga, Alicante and Mallorca most affected by bad behaviour - 17 Jun, 2019 @ 11:24
- IN PICS: The stunning 16th century estate going up for auction in Spain - 16 Jun, 2019 @ 09:07
- Fake goods costing Spain and EU billions each year - 15 Jun, 2019 @ 08:38
- Brothers cuffed after trying to stuff 11 champagne bottles down one of their tops in huge shoplifting FAIL on Spain’s Costa del Sol - 14 Jun, 2019 @ 17:22
- British tourists still flocking to Spain’s Malaga as first quarter of 2019 shows almost 10% increase in hotel stays - 14 Jun, 2019 @ 17:04
- 8 things you didn’t know were ILLEGAL to do at the beach on Spain’s Costa del Sol - 14 Jun, 2019 @ 12:29
- Young paedo groomed at least 10 children across Spain’s Alicante, Andalucia and Valencia and paid them for explicit images while posing as underage girl online - 14 Jun, 2019 @ 11:26
- BREAKING: Barack Obama will be in Marbella TOMORROW for secret meeting at luxury hotel - 13 Jun, 2019 @ 16:50