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Four charged in 'bio fuel' investigation

14 August 2013

Four men connected to Sustainable AgroEnergy plc have today been charged with offences of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to furnish false information, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, in connection with the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into the promotion and selling of "bio fuel" investment products to UK investors.  The value of the alleged fraud is approximately £23m and the offences are said to have taken place between April 2011 and February 2012.

The men, all British nationals, are:

- Gary Lloyd West (age 52) of Hertfordshire, the former Director and Chief Commercial Officer of Sustainable AgroEnergy plc

- James Brunel Whale (age 38) of West Sussex, the former Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable AgroEnergy plc

- Stuart John Stone (age 28) of Shropshire, an Independent Financial Adviser associated with Sustainable AgroEnergy plc

- Fung Fong Wong (age 57) of Middlesex, the former Financial Controller of Sustainable AgroEnergy plc

West, Stone and Wong have also been charged with offences of making and accepting a financial advantage contrary to section 1 (1) and 2 (1) of the Bribery Act 2010.

The SFO commenced proceedings today against the four and they will appear before Westminster Magistrates Court on 23 September 2013.

Notes for editors:

  1. Sustainable AgroEnergy plc is a subsidiary of Sustainable Growth Group (SGG).  The SGG group of companies were placed in administration in March 2012.
  2. The case was accepted by the SFO on 21 November 2011.
  3. The bribery charges against West, Stone and Wong are the first to be brought by the SFO under the Bribery Act 2010.
  4. The strict liability rule in the Contempt of Court Act 1981 applies.
  5. If you are a creditor of any of the companies involved or have invested in them and want more information, please email Chantrey Vellacott DFK LLP with details of your enquiry at the following address: SAEEnquiries@cvdfk.com
  6. The Serious Fraud Office is a government department responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud and corruption. It is headed by the Director, David Green CB QC, who exercises powers under the superintendence of the Attorney General. These powers are derived from the Criminal Justice Act 1987.
  7. For further information please call SFO Press Office on 020 7239 7000 / 7004  press.office@sfo.gsi.gov.uk - or via - www.sfo.gov.uk