A company offering carbon credit and diamond opportunities lied and cheated investors, the High Court in London heard.
Mulberry Wynford was marketed as a global business with an investment track record going back more than 150 years and with offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai.
The reality was the company had a mail forwarding service in London and operated from a serviced office with just two directors – Michael Bashir (37) and Andreas Christodoulou (25).
The claims lent the company a veneer of respectability that was a sham.
The business caught the intention of the government’s Insolvency Service as the supplier of carbon credits to another firm wound up in the public interest by the High Court for duping investors.
Investors lost money
The directors argued that the company had not sold carbon credits to consumer investors, but an investigation by the Insolvency Service uncovered evidence to the contrary. Carbon credits are certificates that are traded between companies and institutional investors, but are worthless to consumer investors.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has repeatedly warned investors that trading in carbon credits is a scam.
The court was told that Mulberry Wynford kept poor records and denied selling carbon credits but was caught out when the Insolvency Service found documentation proving they had been sold and swindled investors in the UK, Ireland and South Africa out of an unknown amount of money.
As a result of the evidence, the court ordered the company into liquidation.
Chris Mayhew, company investigations supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said: “This company sold 500 carbon credits at 115 times their face value to another company that was under investigation for misleading investors.
“The directors could not explain why a company selling carbon credits to consumers at inflated prices would sell them to another company as well which had no need to buy them because it was also selling carbon credits.
“Our view is both were scamming consumers and the prices were set to compensate Mulberry Wynford for the part the company played in the deceit.”
The judge, Deputy Registrar Garwood, found the company had not maintained an effective registered office and agreed the company had undoubtedly sold carbon credits to consumer investors.
He also stated Bashir and Christodoulou did “not know the difference between right and wrong”.