Press release

Director of investment company banned for 11 years

Darren Bartlett, the sole director of Wealth Capital Limited (“WCL”) of London, is to be disqualified as a director for 11 years for selling unsuitable carbon credit investments.

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Mr Bartlett has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to be disqualified as a director for a period of 11 years for selling carbon credits as an investment on the basis they would increase in value, when such investments were wholly unsuitable

The disqualification regime exists to protect the public and as such, Mr Bartlett’s disqualification from 11 March 2016 means he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2027.

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 uncovered that between June and October 2012, WCL cold called members of the public to sell them carbon credits charging around two and a half to nearly three times the price it had paid its supplier for the carbon credits. WCL made sales totalling £273,000 and achieved an estimated gross profit of at least £175,000.

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 WCL 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 WCL 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 Bartlett should have known that the carbon credits his company was selling were wholly unsuitable as an investment, particularly at the price his company charged. Anyone showing such blatant disregard for commercial morality should expect to be banned from running any limited company for a lengthy period time.

The Insolvency Service will pursue those who misuse companies to deprive members of the public of their hard earned money.

Notes to editors

Wealth Capital Limited (CRO No. 08088672 ) was incorporated on 30 May 2012 and was based at Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 Smithfield, London E1W 1AW.

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

Darren Bartlett is of Southend-on-Sea and his date of birth is 2 May 1973.

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.

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Published 4 March 2016