Four men have been disqualified from acting as directors in the UK for 14 years for their part in a £3.2 million carbon credit scam, the British government’s Insolvency Service said on Monday.
Bradley Peter Ferry, 38, and three brothers – Barinua Carr Nwikpo, 40, John Ekpobari Nwikpo, 38, and Daniel Nwikpo, 35 – were linked to London-based company Tullett Brown, which was wound up by the government in Mar. 2012 on the grounds of public interest.
The firm, which initially sold undevelopable greenbelt land to vulnerable investors for over £2 million between 2009 and 2011, turned its attention to carbon credits and sold 500,000 voluntary units (VERs), which it had bought for £600,000 from Eco-Synergies Ltd., to around 400 victims at highly-inflated prices, the Insolvency Service said.
Tullett Brown raked in £3.2 million from the sales between May 2011 and Mar. 2012, before it was forced to shut down, it added.
“The investigation revealed that their supplier paid as little as 37p per carbon credit, with those same carbon credits then being sold by Tullett Brown to its victims for £6.90 per carbon credit,” the agency said.
It added that all four men used pseudonyms as part of the scam: Barinua Nwikpo was known as Bari Carr, John Nwikpo as John Stone, Daniel Nwikpo as both Daniel Fox and Daniel Peters, and Bradley Ferry, who was identified as “nothing more than a salesman who acted on the instructions of the Nwikpo brothers”, was known as Brad Baker.
The VER sales then continued at another London-based firm – Foxstone Carr Ltd. – until that company was shut later in 2012.
“Foxstone Carr sold 98,500 carbon credits between Nov. 2011 and May 2012 for a total of £523,900 at an average of £6.67 per carbon credit, which were also supplied by Eco-Synergies,” the agency said.
Two other companies – Pinecom Services Limited and Pine Commodities Ltd – were ordered closed by the UK High Court in July 2014 after they were found to have continued the businesses operated by Tullett Brown, Foxstone Carr, and a third company named Carvier Limited, the Insolvency Service said last year.
More than 40 firms have been ordered into liquidation by British courts since 2012 over claims they collectively made more than £45 million through the use high-pressure techniques to sell VERs to more than 1,500 unwitting and often elderly investors.
By Mike Szabo – email@example.com