Three connected companies that sold non-existent carbon credits to the public using high pressure sales tactics were wound up in the public interest by the High Court, following investigations by the Insolvency Service.
Oxford Sunergy Limited, Fast Corporate Solutions Ltd and Vero Energy Ltd traded through virtual office and email contact facilities, between August 2011 and October 2012. They used cold-calling and high pressure sales techniques to persuade people to invest in Voluntary Emission Reductions (voluntary carbon offsets).
Oxford Sunergy was based in Oxford while Fast Corporate Solutions Ltd and Vero Energy Ltd were based in London. Investors were promised short term high returns from selling carbon credits to corporate clients including Marks & Spencer and British Airways. In practice the companies took customer funds without providing any products in return.
The companies were found to have all been abandoned and only one director from Vero Energy Ltd co-operated with investigators, and claimed that she had been a victim of identity theft, being unaware that her name had been used as that of an appointed company director.
None of the companies’ customers had received any proof of ownership of carbon credits documentation, and have been left out of pocket in the sum of £690,000. In her judgment on 18 September 2013 in the High Court in London, Register Derrett stated that she was “satisfied that the trading practices of the companies demonstrated fraudulent trading and for that reason alone those companies should be wound up in the public interest.”
Commenting on the matter, David Hill, Investigations Supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said: “This company set out to fool the public into buying alleged carbon credits, when in reality, they were selling nothing more than hot air. The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to take action to put such unscrupulous companies out of business”.
Oxford Sunergy Limited was incorporated on 13 February 2008. The company’s registered office address is at The Quorum, Oxford Business Park North, Oxford, OX4 2JZ. The company has had no trading presence, at that address, and falsely used that address as its registered office. Fast Corporate Solutions Ltd was incorporated on 2 May 2007. The company’s registered office is at 124 Baker Street, London, W1U 6TY, where it had retained a virtual office facility up until April 2012. Vero Energy Ltd was incorporated on 30 December 2009. The company’s registered office is at Floor 29, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AA, where it retained a virtual office facility until September 2012.