UK company director banned for selling illiquid VERs at inflated prices

Published 14:13 on November 20, 2015  /  Last updated at 14:13 on November 20, 2015  /  Bavardage, EMEA, Voluntary Market  /  No Comments

The director of a London-based carbon credit company that was wound up by the government in 2014 has been disqualified for selling illiquid voluntary units (VERs) at inflated prices.

The director of a London-based carbon credit company that was wound up by the government in 2014 has been disqualified for selling illiquid voluntary units (VERs) at inflated prices.

Christopher James Thompson, a director of CT Carbon Limited (CTCL), was earlier this month barred from acting as a director in the UK for 14 years following an investigation by the Public Interest Unit, a unit of the government’s Insolvency Service.

The body said that between 2011 and 2012, CTCL made sales totalling £1.1 million by cold-calling members of the public to sell them VERs, charging them 2.5-3.5 times the wholesale price it paid.

“After receiving a letter from an investigative journalist highlighting concerns regarding the favourable rates offered by CTCL, the performance of the VERs as an investment, and the absence of a market where investors could sell their VERs, Mr. Thompson approached a new supplier and continued to sell VERs,” it added.

“As early as 2010, it was apparent that HM Revenue & Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority, the registries and the carbon credit market’s own self-regulating authorities considered that there was no viable exit strategy for the carbon credits sold … the time and that, even if there was, members of the public had no access to it.”

“Even if there was a viable exit strategy, the price CTCL was charging for the carbon credits meant that the carbon credits could not be sold without financial loss.”

CTCL was incorporated in July 2011, with its trading address in London’s square mile financial district, but was shut down by the UK High Court as part of a “web” of 13 companies that were found to have raised almost £20 million through similar practices.

The Insolvency Service has wound down dozens of UK-registered companies over the past few years after hundreds of investors claimed to have lost tens of millions of pounds of personal savings through these dubious schemes.

Only a small fraction of those funds has been recovered, while very few, if any, of the individuals behind the companies involved have reportedly been charged with criminal offences or jailed.

By Mike Szabo – mike@carbon-pulse.com

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