Investing in a paulownia tree is a scam

Green flop - frustration for investors: total loss with eco-wood investment

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Anyone who has invested in balsa trees with the Swiss eco-investment company Sharewood suffers a total loss. Now investors are trying to get rid of their trees. Without success.

Hundreds of eco-investors feared the circular from Sharewood Switzerland AG from Zurich. Around nine years ago they invested a total of twelve million francs in balsa trees on plantations in Brazil. At the end of July, Sharewood boss Peter Möckli informed the customers that “in view of the complete lack of sales market” he saw no other option than “to stop the balsa project and professionally chop the trees and work them into the ground on site . "

Specifically: Sharewood has speculated with the fast-growing balsa trees and found no buyers. Hundreds of investors are thus losing a total of twelve million francs. Until recently, Möckli had promised them an annual return of six to twelve percent. Now they don't even get their money back.

Advertising ban in Germany

Sharewood resides outside Zurich directly on the lake. From here, telephone sellers sell balsa, teak and eucalyptus trees to customers mainly in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Sharewood has collected 100 million francs in customer money so far. The return calculator on the homepage promises dream returns of six to twelve percent for the main business with teak. In 20 years, CHF 31,000 could become CHF 231,000.

«Kassensturz» from May 29th, 2018: Bad investment

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The company Sharewood promises high returns when buying exotic trees. But the investors are waiting for their money.

In fact, Sharewood has also speculated on the teak business: More and more customers are complaining that they have so far received no return or only a few hundred francs. The plantations are located in the Mato Grosso region, 2,400 kilometers from the nearest overseas port, Santos. Transporting logs by truck is far too expensive.

In Germany, the Swiss company's most important customer, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin) has banned Sharewood from advertising teak, eucalyptus and balsa trees.

Explosive ruling by the Frankfurt Regional Court

The perfidious thing: Because the teak contracts have long terms, Sharewood can diligently collect money for years. Because only when the trees are felled after ten to twenty years will investors really know whether Sharewood's teak forecasts were just as badly off the mark as they were with balsa.

Secret tree buybacks

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“Kassensturz” knows: Insecure investors are already trying to sell off their long-term investments in teak trees and sell them back to Sharewood. Sharewood boss Peter Möckli officially insists that Sharewood will not buy back any trees. Understandable: After the balsa debacle, which has now been made public, worried investors would run into him. But «Kassensturz» knows various cases in which Möckli has made a deal with investors. These lost 50 to 70 percent of the money invested. The anger about it was less than the fear of a total loss in a few years.

Explosive: The Frankfurt Regional Court ruled in the first instance at the end of August that Sharewood had to repay all invested money plus interest in full. Since for the most part the same contractual documents apply to all investors, this decision can be seen as a precedent. That means: With the judgment that is now public, many investors will try to reverse their contracts. This can lead to liquidity problems at Sharewood Switzerland AG. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

Sharewood boss Peter Möckli writes about the judgment that he is of the opinion that it is “not watertight and incorrect. We are convinced that the verdict will not be confirmed by the next instance. " There was another judgment, which was in favor of Sharewood.

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  • Comment from Karl Franke (Kark.Franke)
    I don't think we should compare apples with oranges here. That the Sharewood customers have suffered a total loss with balsa is only possible because of the balsa properties. Because the light wood must be harvested in good time so that it does not become lignified and lose its material properties. Storage is also difficult and expensive.
    Teak is a hardwood for which there is a worldwide demand. A return of 4% is realistic here - and prices are rising.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Heinz Zürcher (heinz.zürcher)
    In my opinion, Sharewood is not the only rip-off trying to put on a green cloak so that the greedy "ecos" calm their conscience and at the same time high returns ("12% + pa" is also promised at Life Forestry ) can yaw. It's just stupid that the promised distribution of profits from the "investment time" should only take place 20 years later. Total loss much more likely. srf: take a close look at life forestry!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Rolf Meier (Flor)
    At the latest when I read the advertisement for the first time that a return of 12% was promised, it was clear to me that Sharewood had to be a scam. My regrets for people who fall for such machinations are therefore very limited.
    If the banks stop paying interest, then hardly any business can generate 12%. If that were the case, then the money vultures would have been standing there long ago and buying up all the return packages.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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