A Denver-based CBD medication company that made headlines for its hemp-derived diabetic treatment has parted ways with its CEO after he was arrested for fraud in Colorado.
Phoenix Life Sciences founder Martin Tindall was arrested in July and charged with securities fraud, according to Boulder County court documents. Tindall, whom we wrote about in 2018 after he announced a contract to produce and distribute a diabetes medication from the island nation of Vanuatu, is due in court for his first hearing on October 1.
This isn't the first time Tindall has faced accusations of shady business practices. In 2013, he was sued by investors in several companies he owned, accused of siphoning off their investments for his personal use. The court initially ruled against Tindall, but he was able to get the decision reversed in federal court based on a technicality: not all of the investors he swindled were party to the lawsuit. Several years later, though, all the investors brought back the suit, and won in court.
After his recent arrest, a grand jury indicted Tindall on further charges of alleged security fraud from 2013 to 2017. He is still in custody at the Boulder County Jail, according to booking reports.
Tindall's deal with the Vanuatu government — a proposed 25-year contract for CBD pharmaceutical production, a series of clinical trials and a potential national care plan — could also be in jeopardy. According to the New Zealand publication that originally reported his arrest, Vanuatu's prime minister said there was no official agreement in place between the island nation and Phoenix Life Sciences.
In a statement sent to Westword, interim Phoenix Life Sciences CEO Janelle Marsden says that Tindall's legal issues "are of a personal matter and are unrelated to Phoenix."
As for the deal he'd trumpeted, negotiations are ongoing. "With regard to Vanuatu and the company moving forward, it is business as usual," Marsden says. "We strive to ensure that we work with the Republic of Vanuatu to provide jobs via workforce skills development, export opportunities and, of course, an improved health-care solution for the Ni Vanuatu population and other Pacific partners. There are, and always will be, continued points of negotiation, but we are committed to work with the Republic of Vanuatu in the best way forward for everyone."
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