Press release

Carbon copy investment companies that failed to deliver are ordered into liquidation

Two carbon credit companies have been ordered into liquidation in the public interest by the High Court.

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Carbon Green Capital LLP and Agora Capital Ltd were ordered into liquidation in the public interest by the High Court on 22 October following petitions presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The Official Receiver was earlier appointed by the Court on 30 July 2014 as provisional liquidator of both companies on the application of the Secretary of State pending determination of the winding up petitions.

Welcoming the Court’s winding up decisions 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, raising 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 petitions were issued following confidential enquiries carried out by Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.

The investigation found that Carbon Green Capital LLP had traded from rented offices at 34 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7AT selling sold carbon credits to members of the public as investments by making false and misleading claims as to the likely investment returns. The company received in excess £274,000 from members of the public.

Agora Capital Ltd then continued Carbon Green Capital LLP’s business operating from the same offices and using some of the same forms and materials of the limited liability partnership raising a further £580,000 from members of the public from the sale of carbon credits as investments.

The Court heard how the limited liability partnership was set up by Mr Steven Sulley and Mr Christopher Chapman and that it claimed to be ‘dedicated to helping its clients’ and to take pride in its ‘professional, transparent and ethical service’ to allow investors to invest with confidence, asserting that carbon credit prices were set to triple by 2015. Agora Capital Ltd seamlessly continued the same unscrupulous business.

The former websites of the companies were www.carbongreencapital.com and www.agoracapital.co.uk.

Each company targeted vulnerable and unsuspecting individuals using high pressure sales tactics.

Investors have also been targeted by organisations claiming to be able to recover investors’ losses.

Notes to Editors:

Carbon Green Capital LLP (Reg. No. OC375360) was incorporated on 18 May 2012. The registered office from incorporation to 20 February 2013 was c/o Brebners, 6th Floor, Tubs Hill House, London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1BL and from 20 February 2013 to present date 510 Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3FG. The recorded designated members are shown to have been Mr Steven Joseph Sulley from incorporation to 21 December 2012; Mr Christopher James Hamilton Chapman from incorporation to present date and Mr Marcus James Allen from 21 December 2012 to present date. No accounts have been filed.

Agora Capital Ltd (Reg. No. 08305470) was incorporated on 23 November 2012. The registered office from incorporation to 04 November 2013 was 34 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7AT and from 4 November 2013 to present date, 2nd Floor, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6BD. The sole recorded director of the company throughout has been Mr Christopher Chapman. No secretary is shown to have been appointed. The company’s share capital is shown to be one ordinary share of £1 held by Mr Chapman. No accounts have been filed.

The petitions to wind up the companies were presented in the High Court on 25 July 2014 under the provisions of section 124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 following confidential enquiries carried out by Company Investigations under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.

On the application of the Secretary of State Mr Justice Birss appointed the Official Receiver as provisional liquidator of the companies on 30 July 2014.

The grounds to wind up Carbon Green Capital LLP were its abandonment; lack of transparency; lack of commercial probity; failure to purchase and/or supply carbon credits for which payment had been made by investors and failure to file accounts. The grounds to wind up Agora Capital Ltd were its abandonment; lack of transparency; lack of commercial probity and failure to file annual returns.

In ordering the companies into liquidation on 22 October 2014 Mr Registrar Baister said:

This is the unopposed hearing of the Secretary of State’s petitions to wind up these companies which have marketed and sold carbon credits to members of the public as an investment opportunity. In a nutshell the companies have carried on a business that is becoming increasingly common and fraudulent to the effect that the products bought by investors are capable of sale at a profit by them when the reality as has been shown is that they get pieces of paper which in truth are worthless for the money they have paid. The nutshell version I have given sums up all that is necessary. Carbon Green Capital LLP has plainly exploited members of the public by selling products which in truth are of no value. The business of Agora Capital Ltd was precisely the same or so similar so as there to be no distinction with Carbon Green Capital LLP. I find the Secretary of State’s allegations fully made out and in the absence of any appearance by the companies or evidence opposing their winding up it is plainly in the interests of the public that these companies be wound up and I do make such orders.

A carbon credit is a certificate or permit which represents the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) and can be traded for money. The Financial Conduct Authority has consumer [information}(https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/carbon-credit-trading) on carbon credit trading and what to consider before investing.

The concerns of the FCA regarding the lack of a secondary market are also reflected in guidance issued by HM Revenue and Customs in relation to carbon credits.

In November 2013 the Insolvency Service highlighted action taken by the Secretary of State against 19 companies involved in the marketing of carbon credits to the public for investment.

The Financial Conduct Authority has launched an awareness campaign for those most at risk of investment fraud.

Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (“BIS”). Further information about live company investigations can be found on our website.

The Insolvency Service also administers the insolvency regime investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. The Service also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession; deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures; assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees; provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

By virtue of the winding up orders all public enquiries concerning the affairs of the companies should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit , 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT. Telephone: 0207 637 1110 Email: piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Published 5 November 2014