Fraudulent firms’ £3.5m carbon credit scams

The management teams of two companies running carbon credit scams have been banned from trading. The disqualifications follow an Insolvency Service investigation into their fraudulent selling of voluntary emission reductions (VERs), a type of carbon credit, to members of the public […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The management teams of two companies running carbon credit scams have been banned from trading.

The disqualifications follow an Insolvency Service investigation into their fraudulent selling of voluntary emission reductions (VERs), a type of carbon credit, to members of the public as an investment.

Both companies lied about the nature of the VERs they were selling, which are intended to be retired by businesses or individuals to offset their carbon footprints – they cannot be sold on to make a profit.

Cleartrade’s Directors Marcel McKeigue, Carl Stuart Thornton and Graham Stephen Philip Hawrysh were banned from between 13 to 15 years.

It was judged they lied to, manipulated and scammed members of public, netting almost £1 million between November 2011 and October 2012.

World Future Limited’s acting Director Edward George Lee was banned for four and a half years. In addition, James Laurence Ward, Hollie Emily Chapman and Julie Margaret Sellers received disqualifications of between 12 and 14 years each.

The company netted just under £2.5 million between June 2011 and March 2012.

Anthony Hannon, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said: “This company held itself out as having extensive expertise in the carbon credit market and made bold claims about the potential returns available when investing in carbon credits.

“The directors and salespeople had no such trading experience and were only able to make sales on the basis of systematic misrepresentations about the VERs they sold. The truth is that the VERs were impossible to resell, making them worthless as investments. The company was run entirely for the benefit of those running it, at substantial cost to the investors who had been misled.”

James Michael Cable from London-based firm Beta Commodities was banned under similar circumstances last year.