17th December 2010

Choc Finger offloads his cocoa

'Choc Finger', aka Anthony Ward of Armajaro Holdings, has now sold the immense stockpile of cocoa he's been sitting on since July when he cornered the market by buying up and taking delivery of 240,000 tonnes of cocoa beans.

That £658 million purchase represented about 15% of global stocks and drove cocoa prices up to a 33-year high.

1st November 2010

Andrew Mitchell In Trouble Over Links With Choc Finger

Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, is in the news over revelations that he intervened on behalf of the multimillionaire cocoa dealer known as 'Choc Finger', after receiving funding from him while in opposition.

'Choc Finger' is the nickname of Anthony Ward, whose hedge fund Armajaro Holdings donated £40,000 to Mitchell's parliamentary office between 2006 and 2009. The firm donated £50,000 separately to the Conservative party in 2004.

Armajaro Holdings had been banned from trading in western Ghana, over allegations of smuggling. Cocoa is often smuggled over the western border of Ghana to take advantage of better prices in the Ivory Coast, which results in lost tax revenue for the Ghanaian government.

After Choc Finger requested his help, Andrew Mitchell phoned the British high commissioner in Ghana and his officials in his office contacted the Foreign Office to say that the matter required "urgent attention". This is despite the fact that his department is responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty, not promoting British business interests overseas.

The trading ban on Armajaro was then lifted.

Andrew Mitchell now faces an investigation after being referred to the parliamentary standards watchdog.

23rd July 2010

The Return of ‘Choc Finger’

There was lots of excitement in the media over the last week, with cocoa prices briefly hitting a 33-year high after a single buyer cornered the market, purchasing and taking delivery of 240,100 tonnes of cocoa.

That’s £658 million worth of cocoa beans, representing around 7% of the world’s annual production of cocoa, or 15% of current global stocks.

The buyer is a hedge fund called Armajaro Holdings, headed up by multi-millionaire Anthony Ward. The fact that Mr Ward has actually taken delivery of the beans suggests that he is stockpiling them, betting on future cocoa shortages with the hope of selling them on for a whopping profit.