A British man has been disqualified from acting as a company director until 2029 for selling illiquid carbon credits to unwitting investors at inflated prices, the UK Insolvency Service said on Friday.
Charles Denbigh, director of London-based New Frontier Advisory Ltd. (NFA), was disqualified effective Sep. 15, 2015 by a high court, after his firm recorded profits of at least £1.7 million from sales of carbon credits and rare earth metals totalling £2.5 million between 2011 and 2012.
“Mr Denbigh should have known that the carbon credits and rare earth metals his company was selling, and the price his company charged for those products, meant that they were wholly unsuitable as an investment,” said Paul Titherington, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service.
“Anyone showing such blatant disregard for commercial morality should expect to be banned from running any limited company for a lengthy period time.”
UK authorities have disqualified or jailed at least a dozen men so far this year for their involvement in carbon credit sale scams or VAT fraud in the EU ETS.
The Insolvency Service said an investigation revealed that NFA cold-called members of the public to sell them alternative investments, charging two-to-three times the price it had paid its carbon credit supplier, and four times the price it had paid for its rare earth metals.
As a result, NFA was wound up in 2014 by a UK court acting in the public interest, along with 12 other companies that had collectively scammed people out of more than £19 million.
“It was apparent that … there was no viable exit strategy for the carbon credits sold by NFA at the time and that, even if there was, members of the public had no access to it,” the Insolvency Service said in a statement.
“Even if there was a viable exit strategy, the price NFA was charging for the carbon credits meant that the carbon credits could not be sold without financial loss.”
It was not clear whether criminal charges or civil proceedings were also being pursued against Denbigh.