Two carbon investment companies, Carbon Green Capital LLP and Agora Capital Ltd, have been ordered into liquidation in the public interest. The decision was made by the High Court on 22 October, following petitions presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
This decisive action was taken following the court’s earlier appointment of an Official Receiver. The Official Receiver was appointed on 30 July 2014 as a provisional liquidator of the companies, pending the acceptance of the winding-up petitions.
The winding-up order was issued following confidential enquiries by Company Investigations, which is part of the regulatory arm of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
False and misleading claims
The investigation into the two carbon investment companies found that both had traded from rented offices at 34 Lime Street, London.
Carbon Green Capital LLP was the first company to trade from this address, selling carbon credits to members of the public as investments. However, to smooth the sale, the company made false and misleading representations about the predicted investment returns. The company managed to make £274,000 from members of the public by employing this strategy.
The second company, Agora Capital Ltd, then continued in the same vein, from the same address, even using the same forms and materials as Carbon Green Capital in the course of its work. Agora Capital managed to make a further £580,000 by offering members of the public the same carbon credit investment.
Dedicated to helping its clients
Carbon Green Capital LLP was set up by Mr Christopher Chapman and Mr Steven Sulley. In its promotional literature, the limited liability partnership professed to “take pride in its professional, transparent and ethical service” while being “dedicated to helping its clients”. The company claimed it was this approach which allowed its customers to invest with confidence.
Agora Capital Ltd then appeared on the scene and, trading from the same address, continued the same unscrupulous business by targeting vulnerable and unsuspecting individuals.
The limited company claimed that carbon credit prices were set to soar to more than three times their current level. This assertion, combined with high-pressure sales tactics, was enough to persuade members of the public to part with their cash.
Peddling near-worthless carbon credits
In response to the court’s decision, Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor, said: “This formally brings to an end the activities of two heartless companies that claimed to pride themselves on the investment returns for clients, but who in truth were peddling near-worthless carbon credits, which in some instances they even failed to supply. They managed to raise an amount approaching £1 million from the public.
“Far from the claimed world class investment services dedicated to helping clients, these companies were dedicated only to helping themselves.
“I would once more urge investors not to respond to cold calling investment sharks as you stand to gain nothing and risk losing everything. Simply end the call, not your savings.
“The Insolvency Service will not allow rogue companies to rip-off vulnerable and honest people and will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating, or about to operate, against the public interest”.
The court decided to wind-up Carbon Green Capital LLP and Agora Capital Ltd on the grounds of:
- Failure to purchase and/or supply carbon credits despite receiving payments from investors
- Failure to file company accounts
- Lack of transparency
- Lack of commercial probity
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