Press release

Director duo dealt maximum disqualification for selling unsuitable investments

George Vito Michael Andreetti and Lewis Joseph Tweed, directors of Alternative Capital Limited, have both been disqualified by the High Court for a period of 15 years for selling Voluntary Emission Reductions (“VERs”), a type of carbon credit, as an investment.

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Alternative Capital Limited (“ACL”), a company which traded in carbon credits, was based at 107 Cheapside, London EC2V 6DN.

The disqualification regime exists to protect the public. As a consequence of their actions, both directors cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company for the maximum period of time allowed in Insolvency law: in Mr Andreetti’s case, from 12 August 2015 until 2030 and in Mr Tweed’s case, from 18 February 2016 until 2031.

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, also part of the Insolvency Service, into the affairs of the company.

The Official Receiver’s investigation found that between April and October 2012, ACL made sales in excess of £873,000 by cold calling members of the public to sell them VERs, charging them between two and six and a half 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 ACL 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 ACL was charging for the carbon credits meant that the carbon credits could not be sold without financial loss.

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

Mr Tweed and Mr Andreetti should have known that the carbon credits the company was selling were wholly unsuitable as an investment, particularly 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 Andreetti and Mr Tweed, who have been banned from acting as directors for a substantial period of time.

Notes to editors

Alternative Capital Limited (CRO No. 07768797) was incorporated on 9 September 2011.

The company was ordered into compulsory liquidation in the public interest on 1 May 2014, on a petition presented by the Insolvency Service on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills.

George Vito Michael Andreetti is of London and his date of birth is 29 November 1989.

Lewis Joseph Tweed if of London and his date of birth is 15 March 1990.

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.

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.

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Published 4 March 2016