Press release

Director disqualified for selling carbon credits

James Michael Cable, a director of Beta Commodities Limited, has been disqualified as a director for a period of 14 years for selling carbon credits as an investment.

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The director of Beta Commodities Limited (BCL) based in London’s Docklands, has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to be disqualified as a director for a period of 14 years for selling Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs), a type of carbon credit, as an investment. The disqualification regime exists to protect the public and Mr Cable’s disqualification from 22 April 2016, means he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2030.

This disqualification follows investigation by the Official Receiver at the Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations into the affairs of the company.

The Official Receiver’s investigation uncovered that between April and October 2012 BCL made sales totalling £681,000 by cold calling members of the public to sell them VERs charging them two and five times the price it had paid its supplier.

As early as 2010, it was apparent that HM Revenue & Customs; the Financial Conduct Authority; the Registries and the carbon credit market’s own self-regulating authorities considered that there was no viable exit strategy for the carbon credits sold by BCL at the time and that, even if there was, members of the public had no access to it. Even if there was a viable exit strategy, the price BCL was charging for the carbon credits meant that the carbon credits could not be sold at all without financial loss.

Commenting on this case Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:

Mr Cable should have known that the carbon credits the company was selling were wholly unsuitable as an investment given the price the company charged, and the absence of a marketplace where investors could sell their carbon credits.

As a result of this investigation, the marketplace has been protected from Mr Cable who has been banned from acting as a director for a substantial period of time.

Notes to Editors

Beta Commodities Limited (Company Registration No. 07798987) was incorporated on 5 October 2011. Its trading address was at 26-28 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4HE.

James Michael Cable is of Eastleigh and his date of birth is September 1981.

The petition to wind up the company was presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills in the public interest following an investigation conducted by Company Investigations (Live), another specialist unit within the Insolvency Service which uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 (as amended) to conduct confidential enquiries into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations & Skills (BIS). The winding up order against Beta Commodities Limited was made on 1 May 2014.

On 28 March 2016, James Michael Cable signed a disqualification undertaking for a period of 14 years. The period of disqualification will commence on 22 April 2016.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company

  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership

  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions is available.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency 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.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to:

The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit (South), The Insolvency Service, 2nd Floor, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London WC1B 3SS.

Tel: 020 7637 6496 Email: piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

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Published 21 April 2016