Carbon Credit and Wine Scams Still Being Targetted

The High Court has forced 8 interlinked companies into Liquidation following an investigation into bogus carbon benefit and wine investment schemes.

The investigation by the Insolvency Service found that vulnerable individuals were being targeted and aggressively sold carbon benefit units (pre-verified carbon credits) in 2 overseas projects for investment and wine for investment. The Court was told how investors were cold called and high pressure sales techniques employed to persuade people to invest, without any mention of the investment risks involved.

Huge Mark-Ups

Investors were persuaded to pay £7.50 a unit in one project and £3.75 a unit in another, representing a mark up of up to 872% and 577% respectively of the original price paid for the units by the company. At least £3 million was raised from the sale of these units to the public for investment.

The wine sold to investors was marked up by up to 89% of the original price paid by the company. At least £1.5 million was raised from the sale of wine to the public for investment.

It was found that investors were lied to and bullied into investing such that one vulnerable couple trusted one of the companies to look after all of their financial affairs and agreed that all of their mail was to be directed to the company, which systematically deprived them of all their life savings of £1.2 million.

Liquidation

The companies were each ordered into liquidation following Petitions presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to wind up the companies in the public interest.

The linked companies are London Carbon Neutral Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Wine Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Ltd, Savi IT Ltd and KMD Energy Solutions Ltd which were all based in Croydon; Earthsky Limited which was based in Chelmsford; and two British Virgin Island companies Consolidated Carbon Projects Limited and WK Investments Holdings Limited.

Matthew Howat, Commercial & Dispute Partner, comments: “This high profile Insolvency Service investigation and High Court ruling reinforces the continued clampdown on Carbon Credit and Wine Investment “scams” and serves as a warning to those involved in similar activities. The Courts have wide powers of intevention and activities seemingly carried out behind the “corporate veil” of a Limited Company will eventually come to light and sanctions will be imposed”.

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