Consumer watchdogs are warning investors not to buy worthless carbon credits after another two companies selling the scam investments were closed down by the High Court.
Lately, the government’s Insolvency Service has forced a slew of companies that have defrauded investors of millions of pounds to close.
The latest were two separate cases that saw investors pay around £1 million for carbon credits with no market value.
Carbon credits are tradeable certificates companies issue to offset against emissions.
The credits are only traded in bulk or commercial markets between specialist dealers. The markets are closed to individual investors, rendering any credits they buy worthless.
Bans for directors
In the first case, Wealth Capital Ltd was shut by the court in the public interest after selling carbon credits for £273,000 to consumer investors.
“There was no market for these credits for investors and the price the company was charging meant even if there was, they would have sold at a loss,” said Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Insolvency Service Public Interest Unit.
Director Darren Bartlett, of Southend on sea, Essex, was disqualified from being involved in running a company for 11 years.
In the second case, Alternative Capital Ltd was also wound up in the public interest for selling carbon credits £873,000 at between two and 6.5 times their face value to consumer investors who were contacted by cold calling.
Director George Andretti was banned from running a company until 2030 and co-director Lewis Tweed was banned until 2031.
Warning for investors
The Insolvency Service is warning investors that HM Revenue & Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority and the carbon credit market’s own self-regulating authorities consider individual investors have no access to a market to trade their credits.
“Investors should not listen to smooth-talking salesmen trying to make them buy carbon credits or similar investments,” said an Insolvency Service spokesman.
“These investments cannot be traded and the scammers sell them at such a mark-up they would make a loss even if they could.
“Our advice is hang up the phone or do not reply to any investment opportunities of this kind because you will lose your money. No matter what they say investing in carbon credits is a scam”