Carbon-ex S.à r.l.: Carbon trading “industry-leader” or just another boiler room scam?

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Carbon-ex S.à r.l.: Carbon trading industry-leader or just another boiler room scam?

Meet Carbon-ex S.à r.l. “With 30 years bluechip experience, we are an industry-leader in trading carbon credits.” According to its website, that is. Unfortunately, the company’s website provides no information about its 30 years bluechip experience. Carbon-ex was incorporated in Luxembourg in October 2010. And the company’s website was registered only two years ago.

Here we go again. Another company involved in trading carbon credits claiming to be an “industry-leader”. Carbon-ex has been mentioned in comments on REDD-Monitor following a post in January 2012 about MH Carbon. It seems worthwhile to take a look at Carbon-ex, to see how many red flags this company raises based on what we know so far.

On its website, Carbon-ex claims that, “With offices in Luxembourg, and access to Bluenext, Carbonex S.A.R.L are ideally placed to help.”

The company gives its office address as 13 Rue de la Fonderie, Luxembourg. The photograph above is of the company’s office on google maps. It looks nice enough, but, well, kind of small for an “industry-leader in trading carbon credits”. Perhaps more importantly, BlueNext closed its spot and derivatives trading operations in December 2012.

Carbon-ex states that, “According to the World Bank, the global carbon trading market is now worth a phenomenal US$144 billion, up 6% from 2008 despite the global downturn,” and offers “access to this market by trading CERs, VERs and EUAS”.

Actually, the value of global carbon markets fell in 2012 by 35% (from €96 billion in 2011 down to €62 billion). More seriously, for anyone wanting to make money by buying carbon credits, the price of carbon credits fell by almost half in 2012, down to €5.82 per ton, from €11.45 per ton in 2011.

Carbonex explains the process of investing in carbon credits. Carbon-ex buys the carbon credits, investors contact Carbon-ex and open a trading account, then, “Sell the credits on to businesses who supply companies and organisations with carbon credits, and enjoy a potentially significant return on investment based on the value of the credits.”

It’s worth comparing this to a statement that the UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau put out in June 2012: “If you buy carbon credits you WILL NOT make any money no matter what the salesman says.” (Strangley, the statement has been removed from the NFIB website, but a copy is available here.) The director of NFIB, Detective Superintendent Dave Clark points out that,

“The investment ‘opportunities’ are constantly evolving, ranging from shares to land to carbon credits to precious metals, but the objectives of the fraudsters remain the same – take all the money they can possibly get.”

“Who’s buying them?” asks Carbon-ex on its website. It’s a good question. If no one buys your carbon credits you won’t make any money. To reassure potential investors, Carbon-ex’s website has a series of company logos belonging to companies are using carbon credits. These include EDF, Sky, UPS and the UN’s office for disaster risk reduction. But there’s a catch. “These are intended as examples only and have no association whatsover with Carbonex S.A.R.L.,” a note following the logos explains. But Carbon-ex is keeping quiet about the fact that companies buying carbon credits want recent vintages. Vintage refers to the year that the reduction took place. On its website, Carbon-ex doesn’t mention how old the carbon credits it is selling are.

Nowhere on Carbon-ex’s website, as far as I can tell, are the names of any people who work at the company. According to Open Corporates, the company is registered in Luxembourg, but I could find no mention of Carbon-ex on the Luxembourg Registry of Companies.

The company’s website was registered on 25 February 2011. It was registered by Tony Lentino of Instra Corporation a New Zealand company that sells web address. (Lentino recently became CEO of Mega, Kim Dotcom’s latest venture). Of course that doesn’t mean that there’s any connection between Lentino and Carbonex.

Carbonex also used to have a German office and website. This website was registered in the name of Norbert Przibilla, a German who was director of a UK registered company called Carbon-Ex Nominees Ltd, until September 2011. The other director of the company is Qaisar Abbas, who is also director of Cex Trading Ltd and Carbon-Ex Ltd.

  • Carbon-Ex Nominees was incorporated in October 2010. It’s current status is non-trading. It’s only shareholder is Carbon-ex S.à r.l.
  • Cex Trading Ltd was incorporated in September 2011. Qaisar Abbas is the only director and the only shareholder. More than 22,500 companies share Cex Trading Ltd’s registered address in London- it’s an address that can be bought for £45 per year (plus VAT) from a company that offers registered office addresses.
  • Carbon-Ex Ltd was incorporated in April 2011. The company’s current status is non-trading. It shares the same address as Cex Trading Ltd. There were two other directors, James Pettitt and Detlef Bruno, but they left the company in 2011. Abbas is the only shareholder.

A Carbonex UK website was registered on 23 August 2010 under Carbonex’s German address.

Przibilla set up Carbon-ex S.à r.l. in Luxembourg. The company Statutes, dated September 2010, explain that,

The purpose of the company’s business is to buy and sell emission allowances and certificates and trade in any other environmental rights goods and services.

In September 2011, Przibilla resigned as manager of Carbon-ex S.à r.l. and was replaced by Qaisar Abbas. Przibilla transferred 500 shares in Carbon-ex S.à r.l. to Carbon-Ex Ltd. In July 2012, 500 shares were transferred to Abbas.

According to a post on Just Answer’s website, last year Carbonex sold 1,000 carbon credits from New River Landfill Gas Methane Destruction Project in Dublin, Virginia, USA for US$9 each (for a commission fee of US$45). The project number isn’t the same as the the number on the Carbon Action Reserve registry and the project isn’t listed on Carbonex’s website. This seems like a high price, although from the information given, we don’t know the vintage of the carbon credits that Carbonex was selling. There’s a nice explanation of why vintage is important on a discussion forum by someone describing themselves as a professional working in the carbon industry:

When you are buying wine it is generally true to say that buyers will pay a higher price for older vintages than they will for the newer wines. When you are buying bread it is generally true to say that the fresher the bread the higher the price. It is the complete opposite to wine. Carbon credits are the same as bread and nothing like wine.

The same commenter explained that, “I can buy VERs and CERs in the market for less than £1 each. Yes, even the CERs.” And added, “If I can do it then so can these carbon firms.”

The best part of the Carbonex website is the small print. This is the red flag that applies to anyone wanting to buy carbon credits as an investment. At the bottom of every page on its website is a notice that warns that,

Carbon Credit prices can go down as well as up. It may be difficult to obtain true market process for VERs as many are transacted “over the counter” and as such values may vary from reseller to reseller. There may be a big difference between the buying and selling price of carbon credits. You may in extreme cases lose your total investment amount trading in carbon credits.

Without the words “in extreme cases” it would be even better.

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102 Comments

  1. Great post Chris. Some of this is repeated from the MH Carbon discussion but here goes.

    Carbon-ex sell credits direct but also through a number of brokers including MH Carbon. Regardless of who you bought them through your contract is probably with Carbon-ex (through their solicitors Colemans).

    This means that Carbon-ex are ultimately liable for wrong doing under the agency/principal principle. So if your broker has disappeared or is not delivering on its promises of great returns you should go after Carbon-ex.

    In law the word ‘misrepresentation’ is used to describe the use of false statements made in order to induce you into a contract. This what we have all been victims of. This is a ‘tort’ – a civil wrong – which allows you to claim damages – i.e. get your money back plus interest.

    Carbon-ex will refer you to the Risk Warnings in the Terms of Business and contract, specifically a section which states that any representations (statements) made cannot be relied on. But you have the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 on your side. This states that a term is unfair if: it is not expressed in plain intelligible language and it causes a significant imbalance in the parties rights and obligations and this is to the detriment of the consumer. So, if the court agrees, they cannot rely on this and your claim for the tort of misrepresentation succeeds.

    So suggested steps are:

    Write to Carbon-ex (cc Colemans) stating that you were misled into buying credits by the promises of an exit plan/superior returns and it is now clear that those claims were false. Point out that as your contract is with them, they are responsible.

    If they reply, it will probably state that your broker, not them is responsible (wrong) and refer you to the Risk Warnings in the Terms of Business and contract.

    Then get your solicitor to write them a letter referring to all the stuff I mention above. (OK this will cost you a bit). They will probably pass this to their solicitors (Walker Morris) who will prevaricate, delay and suggest that your claim is weak and their client has no liability. Also:

    Contact the FSA and give details (The FSA cannot pursue your claim but may investigate and blacklist Carbon-ex if enough people do this)

    Make a claim through the Financial Ombudsmen.

    Write to the Lux authorities (CSSF) email direction@cssf.lu

    Contact Action Fraud

    If your claim is for less than £10K you can make a claim through the Small Claims Court. You can do it yourself to avoid costs and even if you don’t succeed they can’t claim back their costs. If that is beyond your compass just contact me and if enough people do so we can take a class action (where many people sue together) against them.

    Most importantly. Take action. Do not give up!

  2. excellent post, can you email me directly as I have monies invested and have had most interesting conversations with this company and its representatives.

  3. sorry don’t know how to email you directly, but looking forward to sharing experiences about Carbon-ex

  4. @Mike (#3) – Can I pass on your email address to Ritu?

    @Ritu (#2) – Can I pass on your email address to Mike?

    If you want to contact me, click on the envelope symbol in the right sidebar. Thanks!

  5. Yes sure and thanks.

  6. @Chris
    Could you also please pass my email address onto Mike.
    Thanks.

  7. Hello Mike,

    In the MH Carbon discussion on your last message
    you mentiond that there is possibility to get in touch with you, concerning Carbon-ex. How do I proceed?

  8. very shocking

  9. My broker carbon expert contacted me and recommended I swapped some of my VERs to GCERS with a promised exit in september 2013. The swap was done via a contract with Carbonex and through Colemans. I am now told there will be no paperwork just the Colemann’s contract. I think I have been duped. Anyone else in the same position?

  10. Is this Carbon Expert based in Marbella? Who is your contact there? Doesn’t sound too good, as only a couple of months ago they were telling me they had high volumes of VER exits in the pipeline.
    Did you have to pay an additional sum to swap your VERs for GCERs as this is what Carbonex seem to offering everyone.

  11. Dear Mike and Blazer,

    This is David Martin. The MD of carbon-expert. Would you both be so kind as to call into the office so we can have a complete and full conversation about the situation in question, so you are both comfortable with our advice and actions.

    We are and always have conducted our business in a transparent, ethical and forthcoming manner and as such we here to answer any questions you may have surrounding your holdings and business relationship with us.

    Please contact me on the main telephone line Tel Spain: +34 951 191 011 to discuss your individual situations.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    David Martin

  12. David

    I do not have an issue with Carbon Expert and this is a post about Carbonex. This is an exert from the email sent to me by Carbonex to induce me into a VER investment last year.

    ‘We are offering these credits in blocks of 7000 which will cost £34,860.00 per block, Carbonex has an exit in place for the 29/10/2012 selling these credits to be retired for £6.72 per credit giving a potential return of 34.94%.’

    Carbonex have admitted this was completely bogus but refuse to recompense me. They then phone me this year to tell me there is no prospect of selling these credits and offer me GCERs as a partial swap if I pay them more money. How does this sound?

    To everyone considering an investment into Carbon Credits I ask – is this a form you wnat to enter into a contract with?

    To everyone that has similarly been conned I urge you to contact the FSA, Action Fraud and Lux authorities about Carbonex.

    David, if indeed, you conduct your business in an ethical manner then well done – but if so is this really a firm you want to be associated with?

  13. My experience is similar. I first bought VER credits from MHC in 2011 and subsequently bought more from Eco Global (CERs), Sceptre (VERs later swopped for CERs), and Coactive Trading REDD VERs.
    The last 2 have disappeared and Eco Global is in administration. A Mark Beale of Carbonex rang me last December and I took up his suggestion to swap that others have been offered (trade in MHC/Carbonex VERS for gCERs @ £2.50 with a target of selling out for £10.80 late 2013).
    I have now been contacted by Alternative Markets (via Carbonex); Edgebrook & Carbon-expert all with promises to trade out the VERs providing I spend more money.
    If you speak to Mr Martin of Carbon-expert I would be interested to hear your views on them – they sound the most plausible.
    Like others I feel foolish, angry and sickened at being duped and hope that there is some way of salvaging something.

  14. I have previously communicated with Carbon Expert and agree they seemed geniune. But at the end of the day I was not prepared to put more money into this market. So I can’t comment further as I am not a client.

    Also you can see my dealings with Carbonex and judge whether you want to end up in another contract with them.

  15. Nigel – yes we all feel alternately sick, angry and ashamed. We cling to hope that someone will help us get out, but our judgement is impaired and that leaves us vulnerable to follow-on scams.

    I have a post above that is awaiting moderation – presumably because it is so explicit about my dealings with Carbonex.

    Consider this. Carbonex are telling us that the VERS we bought that were going to rise in value are now near worthless, while simultaneously continuing to sell them through brokers. They want us to part with more money for exchange to gCERs which they tell us will be worth over £10 later this year. Look at that coldly and dispassionately if you can.

    David Martin from Carbon Expert. If you are following this and are geniunely trying to help people in our position, you will understand the problem we have.

  16. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your response and I completely understand your fustrations and issues. I have similar issues, on the understanding that I built the business up based on a well structured and ethical business plan. The longer I have spent in the sector, the more I have come to realise that a large percentage of our competitors have conducted themselves in an unscrupulous manner and as such they have tarnished the whole industry in the process. I sympathise with any investors that have been mislead and missold. I would love to help any individual that has been “duped” into buying cc’s without the proper and relevant information. Here is my issue…I set up carbon expert in an ethical and transparent way, with a specific set of ethics and rules. We have signed contracts and spent a lot of company capital on “client acquisition costs”. The physical cost to sign up each business is very expensive, and whilst we mitigate those costs through consultancy fee’s, it still remains a cost. My only issue in terms of these forums, is that any person or body can write anything about any company on these types of forums and the thought of one of our business clients reading such a forum is disasterous. It could have a massive knock on effect on our reputation and brand irrelevant of what is said. Based on that fact, I would ask any one of you, to call the office and I will make sure I am available to speak to you and give you a true and honest picture of a market as a whole, as opposed to opinion, advice, or any comment that can be passed on this forum. Thank you, as always for your understanding.

    Kind regards,

    David Martin
    ,

  17. @Mike (#15) – Your comment that was stuck in the moderation queue has now been approved. It’s #12, above.

  18. David

    Personally I believe what you say, and I understand that you simply source credits from Carbon-ex and cannot be responsible for their dealings with clients.

    Notwithstanding this, I will not be dissuaded from exposing Carbon-ex or from seeking redress for myself and anyone else who has a valid complaint against them. Carbon-ex solicitore have written to me obliquely suggesting potential action against me for defamation, presumably in an attempt to scare me off. I say ‘bring it on’. Everthing I have posted here about my dealings with Carbon-ex is truthful and accurate and anyone can judge how they behave from my post 12.

    I do understand that these forums are not perfect and could be damaging for a legitimate business operating in this arena. None of us would want this. Nevertheless they do serve a geniune purpose in exposing scams and allowing individuals to get together to potentially take joint action against companies with far more resources than we have acting alone.

    Ultimately this can only be good news for geniune, ethical companies.

  19. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SPEND ANY MORE MONEY TRYING TO GET OUT OF THIS MESS . WHETHER ITS A DIFFERENT COMPANY PROMISING YOU AN EXIT IF YOU BUY MORE CREDITS FROM THEM FIRST OR IF ITS TO CHANGE OVER FROM VERs TO gCERs IF AT THE END OF THE DAY THERE WERE ANY EXITS THE COMPANY THAT IS ALREADY HOLDING YOUR CREDITS SHOULD ALSO KNOW ABOUT IT .IF YOU HAVE BOUGHT CREDITS AND THEY ARE REGISTERED THEN YOU SHOULD NOT LOSE YOUR CREDITS EVEN IF THE COMPANY YOU BOUGHT THEM FROM GOES BUST .THE REASON THE VALUE OF THE CREDITS HAVE GONE DOWN SO MUCH IS BECAUSE OF OVER SATURATION OF THIS MARKET .BECAUSE OF THIS ALL PREVIOUS FORECASTS MADE ARE NO LONGER VALID. IF AT ANY POINT THE PRICE WAS TO RISE SLIGHTLY AND WE DECIDED TO SELL BY THE TIME THE COMPANIES TAKE THERE CUT WE COULD STILL SEE A LOSE .THE CARBON MARKET IS NOT REGISTERED WITH THE FSA BUT THAT DOES NOT STOP US FROM REPORTING THEM OR CONTACTING ACTION FRAUD .I THINK IT IS NOW SIMPLY A WAITING GAME. DOING NOTHING IS THE HARDEST THING BUT IS OUR ONLY
    SAFEST OPTION UNLESS WE WANT TO LOSE MORE MONEY

  20. Hi Mike,
    I too have bought carbon credits from Carbon-ex under the information given that they have an exit in place in September 2012. It never happened. The company told me they sell vers but they have no exit strategies.

  21. I also bought vers from world carbon, who later changed name to worldwide commodities. I was promised exits in september 2012 then in december 2012. I was urged to buy more vers in october 2012 with the promise of a joint exit in december 2012.
    The company folded in january 2012. I aim to report the company, in particular their director Lee Thompson, for selling vers knowing full well the company is going to fold.

  22. Edgebrook Carbon Invest promised to sell my vers but wanted £900 admin fee but I didn’t have to buy any more credits from them. I didn’t go ahead.
    Mayor Thomas promised also to sell my vers but I had to purchase 30k worth of crt credits. In a bit to instill confidence in me they gave me their FSA number. On checking it, a company Thomas Mayor was registered. They had nothing to do with investments. I googled Mayor Thomas and it came up as a scam.
    I’m losing all confidence in the secondary market in carbon investing. That is, I believe there is no exit strategies for private investors.

  23. baj

    Please send me details of your dealings with Carbonex – if you click on my photo my contact details are shown.

  24. I earlier posted a comment about a scam regarding a company I called Mayor Thomas. It’s not Mayor Thomas but Mayer Thomas. Sorry!!!

  25. Hi Mike,
    I will email you correspondence with carbon-ex

  26. @baj (#21) – Thanks for this comment. I wrote about Worldwide Commodity Partners in July 2012, here: Worldwide Commodity Partners Limited – another carbon credit boiler room?.

  27. @david martin (#16) – Thanks for your comment. I’ve just written a post about Carbon-Expert, here. It seems to me that your company sells carbon credits as investments and uses a series of out-of-date quotations to encourage people to invest. I look forward to your response, to the post, in particular to the question, Is Carbon-Expert another boiler room scam?

    I’d also be interested to know more about the “specific set of ethics and rules” that you used in setting up Carbon-Expert.

  28. I have also had similar dealings with carbon-ex and colemans but via 360 Invest group who are no longer around. I spoke to all the top brass in Carbon-ex, 360, colemans, FSA etc before jumping in with VERs to gauge the ‘opportunity’ offered. There were ‘secured exits’, ‘irrevocable letters of intent to purchase’, ‘Kyoto’, ‘floor price’ etc. I bought two lots of VERs from one project. I was offered other credits in pressured phone calls from brash salesmen but declined.

    I visited the 360 invest group London office to see what the delay was about last year and was told something that made vague sense. At least they actually existed. The improving price that I had been given was not actually for the credits that I had been sold. Again there had been spiel of the lowest form.

    Then it went quiet, I called a few months later and again was given the good news about the price going up to £x etc. Would you like to buy more? No thanks.

    Then I was told in Feb this year that 360 Invest group were no longer trading, the market has dropped a lot and carbon-ex have some green c/cs for a small ‘fee’ with an exit very soon to make x%, with two weeks notice to buy. I confirmed the new sales firms details with carbon-ex and asked for them to pay the fee for me instead which they didn’t. I asked for a letter to present to a bank to get a loan which they said would not work, I wonder why. I declined the new ‘offer’. The offer may give the impression that an exit at a higher price is almost certain but I don’t think there is a guarantee of an exit at the higher price just a value change. It casts a deep shadow over carbon-ex in my opinion.

    I made notes during my many hours of phone calls and have many emails saved. These may be useful for a possible claim. I have not been able to track down the original people though as they have all gone AWOL.

    I think that the market is saturated and that the demand has dropped. The credits will automatically be retired in 2020 so we have until then to dispose of them. The market may pick up. A report is published each year (state of the voluntary carbon market) and the next one comes out around the middle of the year I think. There is also a carbon expo coming up in Spain. I hope that the market picks up as I can’t see an easy way out. We have only lost the exit and not the credits so all is not lost, yet.

    Perhaps forming a group together and pooling our knowledge may help to either take action against whoever or to find our own exit.
    Solicitors costs could be shared between us or perhaps a no-win no-fee is possible. I thought of setting up a website offering carbon credits to the public to offset their car emissions, I would retire my ones as I sell them. It is just an idea and I am aware that there are already such sites around.

    I found a website listing peoples credits for sale in a table but you have to pay about £50 to get on it. There is no real exchange platform for this over the counter product which makes it hard. I have also found a website that offers to find an exit strategy for you but I think it is just another scam site.

  29. Lu

    Please see my posts above (#1 and #12). A growing number of us with issues with Carbon-ex are getting together. Please contact me through carboncredits@hotmail.co.uk

  30. Interesting thread. Here is an excerpt from an email that my Carbon-Expert broker sent me last year about VERs from a Hydroelectric project in India. I bought these credits based on the “projected returns” spoken of in the email. I’ll let readers make up their own minds as to whether this is potentially misleading or not:

    Cost per Credit (GBP) £4.90

    Projected Returns:

    As a Hydro Electric project, this is a highly sought after credit. It meets key criteria set out in corporate & social responsibility policy, has strong ‘brochure appeal’ and we are confident that it will attract a minimum resale price of between GBP 7.50 and GBP 8.00 within 18-24 months. Indeed, with the introduction of Mandatory Carbon Reporting in April 2012 we are now extremely confident of exceeding this as many companies are now pre-empting the limited supply of quality projects and already coming to market and stockpiling them in anticipation for the future.

  31. Hi mike
    I brought carbon credits via brokers from carbon-ex and have exchanged some of then for GCER at a cost of £2.50 per credits on a strong recommendation from Carbon Expert. I was told that they had tied clients who are committed to by at a minimum price of £9.00. I have now been told that no paperwork will be provide other than the contract which does not specify the VER projects exchanged which is in my view unacceptable. Coleman’s have confirmed Carbonex’s position that the contract is proof of purchase. I think a receipt is a minimum legal requirement. Blazer

    I am interested in your possible joint action and will e -mail you at the address given. Blazer

  32. Hi

    I think I have also been scammed by 360 invest and Carbon Ex.

    I would be happy to share info and be part of any sort of group action against anyone involved.

    Nigel

  33. Nigel

    Please contact me direct with your details and will let you know the concerted action we are considering

  34. Like others I have opened an account with a broker selling Carbon-ex certificates. The only paperwork was from solicitors Colemans, when I kept pestering my broker person why I could not see my account I finally got a reply from Carbon-ex explaining why their site was not available.I was emailed a single entry with no surrounding buff? wait and see I suppose.

  35. I would be interested in any joint action. As I feel I may never see my money again.

  36. I would also like to join action and share my experiences –

  37. Perhaps wwe should all get together for a meeting to plan action-

  38. @Nigel (#32), @Rita (#34) and @Meenal (#36) – Thanks for your comments.

    On 8 February 2013, I did a post explaining what to do if you think you’ve been scammed. The short version is: Contact Action Fraud, either via their website or by ringing them up on 0300 123 2040.

    Action Fraud

    I know I’ve made this comment before (several times). Sorry about repeating myself, but I think it is very important.

  39. Meenal, Rita. Please see my posts and contact me directly.

  40. Hi mike. just found your forum.
    Like every one else I brought vcs from Carbon Ex and have had no luck in contacting them I did however manage to get a response from the projects in question and was advised that the market would improve by the end of this year, Following my communication from them I then received a phone call offering an alternative but I would have to pay out more to receive a return as they were not worth the paper they were written on.
    Once bitten twice shy, my answer was no..
    I have contacted other companies who have said they can help but of cause they all ask for some commitment, To open an account with them and to buy more credits.(I dont think so).
    Please keep me up to date if you have any luck or if you need further information from me.
    good luck
    Dawn

  41. Dawn, please contact me directly (not through this forum) with details.

  42. Hi Dawn,

    I have been trying to contact Chris at Redd for a while now but I work for a company that specialize in exiting clients from the carbon market and would be prepared to offer our services for free considering your circumstances. Please let me know if this would be of assistance and I can forward further information of the process. We for your information do not sell carbon credits so would not attempt like many to sell you more and we are also not a broker. We plainly sell clients credits to companies and charge the companies offsetting a handling fee to make profit.

  43. @Paul (#42) – You wrote to me yesterday. I’ve just sent you some questions and look forward to your response.

    @Dawn (#40) – Thanks for this – please contact Action Fraud, either via their website or by ringing them up on 0300 123 2040.

    The “Paul”, who wants you to get in touch with him, is Paul Mark Green, who set up a company at the end of last year called Carbon Neutral Trading Exchange. He used to work for Enviro Associates, (for 10 months according to his LinkedIn page). Enviro Associates is a company that sells near worthless carbon credits at an inflated price to the public and claims that they are a good investment.

    Paul is now trying to sell carbon credits at the same inflated price to companies so that they can claim to be “carbon neutral”. He plans to charge the companies a 6% “handling fee”. The flaw in this strategy is that if companies want to buy carbon credits, they need to go through a lengthy process of due diligence and they can buy carbon credits very much more cheaply. Andrew Ager, the ex-head of Carbon and Emissions at Bache Commodities, reckons that this sort of carbon credit is worth less than 50 pence. Please read how he explained the trade in voluntary carbon credits in his presentation to the City of London Police last year:

    Why you should not buy voluntary carbon credits as an investment: A carbon trader explains

  44. Hi,
    I’ve read with great interest the ongoing list of comments about Carbon-ex.
    I,like so many of the correspondents, have had dealings with Carbon-ex, 360 Invest Group and Colemans, and am now being actively persued by Alternative Markets with the Carbon-ex offer.
    I have declined the offer and am now looking for ways to try and get at least something back on my initial investment.
    Any advice will be appreciated.

    More fool me, I also purchased Carbon Credits via a company called Charles Stratton.
    I’m not getting any replies to email or telephone messages and am getting suspicious that the situation is similar to that of Carbon-ex.

    Has anyone had any dealings with them?

  45. hello; i was also promissed an exit around october, then november 2012; then by the time i invested 5.600 euros in three transactions; i stopped before investing in other “opportunities” my broker offered me, untill i was going to see some money back; then 2 months passed and he vanished; e-mail not working any more, phone ringing out… the company i worked with in CoolPass – Milburn-equity; does anyone else has the same problem with this company or am i alone in this …

  46. Stefan, David and Dawn
    Please contact me direct at carboncredits@hotmail.co.uk as we have a growing group looking at concerted action regarding Carbonex.

  47. I suggest that anyone who has invested with Carbon-ex (via Coleman’s) based on false promises also write to Colemans informing them that they believe they have been subject to fraud.
    Remind Colemans that as solicitors they have a duty to report suspected criminal activity to the police even if it is by one of their clients.
    If enough people write, they are going to struggle to justify not passing this on to the police.

  48. I have just come across this website. I bought 10k vcs though coleman via select-globlal. Reading this I am now very concerned.

  49. @Scooter (#48) – I’m sorry to hear about this, but thanks for the comment.

    Please contact Action Fraud, either via the website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk (there’s a report you can fill online). Alternatively you can phone them on 0300 123 2040. The lines are open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays.

  50. Hi Mike,

    I would like to join to the complain. I have heavily invested with carbon-ex directly and then via a broker who disappeared (Carbon Central). They told me that If I bought credits with them they would put me in an exit date (last march 2012) which never happen, the credits where from carbon-ex too. In total I have more than 62000 GBP invested with them. I have requested to transfer all my holding to another broker who is member of CTX Carbon Trade Exchange a VERs trading platform.

    Can you send me your email. I am French and I don’t know If I can participate in the grouped legal action. What do you advice me.

  51. @Bernard (#50) – Thanks for this. Mike posted his email address above (#29). Feel free to write to him.

    I was reading Carbon Trade Exchange’s weekly newsletter this morning. The value of voluntary carbon credits depends on the project that generated the credits. From today’s newsletter, here’s a range of projects and prices:

    Forestry (Guatemala): US$9.00
    Liquefied Natural Gas (China): US$0.70
    Run-Of-River Hydropower (Brazil): US$0.60
    Biomass (Vietnam) US$4.20

  52. Hi,

    My late father purchased around 30000GBP worth of carbon credits in the VCS indian hydro project around 3 years ago. He passed away last year. I was just about to start with a solicitor to get the investment reassigned to my mother when I came across this thread. I am now very confused and worried as to the situation of this investment. is it worth us paying 2000pounds in solicitor fees only to not get anything out of this. I am only 21 and dont really have anyone else to help much with this sort of stuff as it is just me and my mum. my father purchased his investment at £5.26 per unit. is there anyway to find out what the current price is. I would appreciate any help regarding this. Thanks

    Yousef

  53. @Yousef (#52) – I’m very sorry to hear about this. I’m afraid your father paid way too much for the carbon credits he bought. However, here are two things you can do to start with:

    1. Get in touch with Action Fraud, telephone: 0300 123 2040. Report what happened and which companies were involved and ask Action Fraud for advice about what to do next.

    2. Get in touch with Mike – he and other people who bought carbon credits from Carbon-ex are getting together to try to get their money back. His email is above (#29). Mike has more suggestions for actions to take, see comment (#1).

    Hope this helps!

  54. Has anyone managed to contact Carbon-ex recently – the phone numbers I have are no longer in operation and no response to emails.
    Does anyone know who to check if they have (or are going into) liquidation – i.e. the equivalent of duedil?

  55. This is about 360Investgroup – I checked yesterday for their backlinks from the old site before it became an oriental property site. The only site that came up was yoursippguide.co.uk. It smells of alternative investments. It only has a form for your contact details. I ran a whois and the site is in Spain. I have not put my details in. I wonder what the connection is.

    Another thing – let citizens advice bureau know if you have had trouble with an investment firm governed by English law as they will put you in touch with trading standards who are running an investigation. They will send you a questionnaire.

  56. I am in the same position as the rest of of your commentators.
    I believe, from reading the comments here that the best person to get in contact with is Mike.
    I will contact him and would be very intereted in becoming part of an action against Carbon-ex. Although from the above comment it seems that they too have dissapeared into thin air.
    I live in Ireland and hope that this doe’nt preculued me from making a claim.
    Regards,
    Maggie Gliksten.

  57. Hi Lu
    We do not have CAB in our area. One can’t contact Trading Standards office directly. Do You have any idea how to get the questionnaire from them. I tried all the links and have been unable to get it-

  58. Has anyone managed to get log in details from Carbon-Ex for the data base? It has been months they have been working (?) on it !!! In the modern world does it take so long for it ? What exactly they trying to achieve ?

  59. @Meenal (#57) – Try phoning CAB: 08444 111 444. On the Trading Standards website, there’s the following notice:

    Need help with with sorting out problems – call Citizens Advice consumer service 08454 04 05 06

    Try phoning this number too.

  60. I would very much like to hear from anyone who has purchased CERs from Carbon-ex (or via a broker) as part of a swap for their VERs. The move of companies into the compliance market may well attract more attention from the authorities as this is a UN and government backed compliance market.

  61. @Mike (#60) – To contact Mike, click on his picture.

  62. Hi Mike,
    I did the awap, because I was told that the VER’s were going to be retired this year and I would loose my investment. So I did the swap. added some more the investmet to bring them up tp CER’s. Did this through Alternitive Markets. The company who took over from 360. 360 was the company I invested with in the beginning.
    I have not heard anything since making the swap.
    I hope to find the time to write letters to CarbonEx and Colemans next week and to make a report to Action Fraud.
    Keep me posted as I am not in a positon to let this go. As I’m sure the rest of you are not either.
    Regards,
    Maggie

  63. I had an email from APX-VCS registry today who said my Carbon-ex nominee sub-account has no credits in it. I bought many more than zero two years ago and have the photocopy to show it. I did not instruct anyone to sell or retire them.

    I couldn’t login to the Carbon-ex.lu site, the two phone numbers gave no reply and the contact form gives a 404 error page.

    Does anyone know what has happened?

  64. An update from Carbon-ex – they tell me that the credits were transferred to CDC Climat, Paris in April 2012 due a change in terms and conditions at the APX registry. I don’t recall being told that. The CDC registry closed end of 2012. Carbon-ex now hold a paper form of them. They can provide a contract if I want to sell or transfer them. They showed me that my credits
    are still there.I suppose that sounds OK.

  65. Hi Lu,

    This is very serious. I too have holdings brought through Carbon-ex. I paid to swap some of them them into CERs. Can you tell me how you contacted APX-VCX to check your holdings please. When you say you have a photo copy to prove your holdings it- was that a photocopy of your holding provided by APX-VCS or a list of your holdings from Carbonex? I the latter but not the former. I did not think private investors had access to the registry holdings. I thought they were held in a broker nominee accounts.

    blazer

  66. I used the APX email address from their website and gave my details. The copy was the carbonex list. I had my holding with carbon-ex nominees but the sub-account is still in my name.

    I think we should have been informed about the changes. I’ve had to go over carbon-ex to find this out.

  67. Blazer, have you found out any more? I’m not comfortable that our holdings are no longer on any registry and are now in ‘paper form’. This doesn’t seem to constitute much proof of ownership.

  68. I have only realized today that I too have invested unwisely. I put the name into Google and couldn’t believe all these posts. I telephoned the agent who sold me the carbon credits just now and a lady answered who sd she would get Karl to ring me back tomorrow morning. (I got the number by doing 1471 after he rang off) I would appreciate Mike contacting me for some advice – I have clicked on your post & it doesn’t click up. (Obviously not good at these as well as chosing investments! Thanks. I will wait until the morning before I contact Action Fraud.

  69. @Lesley (#68) – I’m sorry to hear about this, but thanks for your comment. Mike posted his email address here: http://bit.ly/14bnTTO (or you can click on his photo next to his comments, which brings up his gravatar profile, including his email address: http://en.gravatar.com/anomike).

  70. I have read this trail of post with interest and horror.
    I bought carbon credits (VCS) via 360 Invest and was later convinced by Alternative Markets to swap some of them to gGCR for a cost.
    I had anoter call from Alternative Markets yesterday trying me to swap my remaining VCS and now at a much higher cost…
    Mike I have sent you an email as I want to be part of the grout that takes action..

  71. The Carbon-ex.lu website is ‘unavailable’ today, have they ceased trading like 360 Invest group?

  72. My father original brokers 360 invest sold him Carbonex carbon credits. Alternative Markets have phoned him again today after many months of no contact, it would seem they are going through their list of contacts. He didn’t take up their offer of converting his credits so presumably they still think he is ripe for the picking. The mans name is William Golding and the telephone number is 0041435081418 if anyone has any questions for them.

  73. Hi all,
    I believe it is time for me, too, to admit that i have been fooled into the hype of these Carbon Credits. I was worked with the brokers Select Global to build up a portfolio of 3 projects, all VER based and through Carbon-Ex and Colmans, totalling around £40K. Various exit strategies promised, none materialised. Was advised by the broker contact at the time Adrian Hallmark, to convert one of the projects to gCER for another converstion cost, with a (verbal) promise of a £10.80 exist, plus exit for the VERs also. No exit existed and Adrian has “gone on long term sick leave”. the companty will not return calls, emails and I cannot seemt o get a name of anyone who will take any sort of responsibility for exiting me.
    Added to this, I recieved a couple of calls from companies that said they could get me out of the market, some having to buy more credits to “get onto their books”, etc. I also have to admit that I am working with one of these companies – Spencer and Elstein – which have been mentioned in other forum discusions. Yet to see if they deliver, I am suspecting not going on all the above and more related comments.
    Please put me down for the collective action against Carbon-Ex, Colmans and anyone else in this whole sorry mess.
    Regards and hope to all those in the same position I am in.
    Matt

  74. Hi Matt
    Are you involved in the “so say” 18th December sale of credits with Spencer and Elstein as I would be interested to know the outcome of this – they have been pushing me to sell through them and I keep saying if they are successful on 18th December we will all know as there will be reports from people on this forum
    Best wishes – James Newbold

  75. Would be interested in updates as I too was fooled into paying >£10k for carbon credits and >£5K in rare earth, both from Select Global.

  76. Hi James (#74)
    Yes – I have been “working” with them for a month or so, always with Liz Byford, firstly with an “asset swap” for my Rare Earth’s (I know – didn’t learn 8¬)) into gold, with a rounding up payment to buy 450g of bullion. For that “trade” they said they would also take the Credits as well – Nice …. if it comes off. In classic (what I know now) boiler / recovery room style, they phoned Thursday morning (18th) saying that after their meeting that morning, my account was flagged as one to be investigated for money laundering by their Compliance team – spoke with a Charles Hamilton. He said that 3 of the 15 people in the trade were affected and would take about a week to resolve. Alarm bells at that point …. Been trying to contact anyone at the company for the last day and a half, but just ringing to a recorded message. I might go an pay them a visit this afternoon and see if the building reception has a different number for them or something.
    Regards

  77. hey Scooter – have you spoken with Select Global recently – specifically regarding the Carbon ? My Rare Earths were from another broker (who were also a scam – WWS Capital of Findsbury Square – who disappeared in Dec 2012, just after the collapse of the REM-ex exchange – that is a whole other story !)
    Last one I spoke with was Simon Tuck at Select Global, but “promised” a call back in early Novemeber – still waiting.
    I have raised a Fraud ticket regarding them, awaiting the Police to contact me for more information if they need/want.
    Regards

  78. I too am involved with VCC from Select Global through a SIPP and the SIPP provider is chasing Colemans as they are probably up to their necks in this. I also bought $80,000 in gCERs on the advice of the smooth tongued Adrian Hallmark and resisted their convenient conversion option in July when he suggested it and really smelt a rat at that stage,

    My question is whether there is a market to sell the gCERs and whether anyone has had success. We all remember AH telling us that 10% profit was the “worst case scenario.

    I think we need to accept that Select Global have disappeared and Carbon-ex have made themselves uncontactable, Some form of joint action against Colemans and certainly a large volume of complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority will build up the pressure.

  79. Thanks for the information – I will be very interested to find out the final outcome of this situation – James

  80. I have a County Court Judgement against Carbonex – whether I can enforce this easily is another matter.

    Encourage everyone to complain to the SRA about Coleman’s, though (like me and others you will probably get an bland automated response). The SRA appear to be pretty toothless. But with sufficient volume should take it to the Law Society.

  81. I have been in touch with a Lux lawyer, who informs me that Carbonex have been declared in bankruptcy by a judgement dated Jan 6.
    Basildon CID are investigating Select Global, so clients of theirs should make contact.
    I am arranging a formal complaint against Colemans and have over 50 signatories. Contact me if you would like to join

  82. Now that all the fraudsters have disappeared, we are left with Colemans-ctts, as the most likely source of getting any money back and I believe that they may have made a fatal mistake. Any investors buying the greenCERs ( which we all know were sold as our salvation), between Jan and April 2013, were sent a letter from Olivia Jones at Colemans which clearly states “Serial numbers will be allocated and referred to in the contract” – clearly this did not happen. When I complained that I had no proof of ownership of anything, I received an email stating “there are no serial numbers or certificates and that this must have been a “typo” in previous letters. I would ask you whether your “letter to investors” from Coleman’s included this faulty letter. If it does, then this would appear to be a clear admission that they fatally and repeatedly misled investors. This is a wholly different situation from trying to prove that they were associated with fraudsters. Interested to hear from others who received the same faulty letter from Olivia Jones at Coleman’s.

  83. Very happy to add my name to a formal complaint against Colemans

  84. Richard thanks for that. Looks like the receivers are these lawyers:

    http://www.gueth-wolf.com/index.html

    so I’d suggest clients write to them

  85. I too have a familiar story. 5.6k with Carbonnex, the broker was Select Global, they have gone under and Enviro Associates are trying to get me on board to “help”. Of course I will not touch with a barge pole and would like to jump on board this campaign to see if we can all salvage at least something from this situation. I welcome any suggestions. Paul

  86. I have spoken recently with the police who are investigating these matters.

    They have asked me to encourage everyone to report their details to Action Fraud.

  87. Me too have a familiar story. 5.6k with Carbonnex, the broker was Select Global bought early last year through Colemans . I would be happy to add my name to any list and do anything that is suggested.
    Richard

  88. I have recently been contacted by China Development Finance Corporation,the deal appears good,but recently I noted some other people had contacted you regarding this company,and can no longer find the information.I would be grateful for the info.and also your opinion.Lastly are there any brokers exiting ver credits.

  89. I brought CERs in the period you mentioned in your e-mail but do not appear to have received the letter stating serial numbers would be supplied. Was this a separate letter?

    Terry

  90. @peter (#89) – I’ve written a post about China Development Financial Corporation here:

    China Development Finance Corporation is a transparently obvious scam

  91. Thanks Chris china development have been in touch and quite upset about your post.I have requested name and telephone number of any people who they have successfully sold carbon credits on their behalf.

  92. What involvement did Colemans Ctts have?

    Were people independently represented?

  93. This is for Mike. I’ve just come accross this link. I have £8,580 in Carbon credits with those scoundrels, Carbonex, and don’t want to write it all off. I wish to be included on the signatory list against Colemans Coutts and lend my support to any other avenues that as a group we investors can pursue. How can I sign up?

  94. Click on my photo for contact details

  95. Not sure if this thread is now cold, but as an update to my previous posts above with respect to Spencer & Elstein – Mike you have already called it – they are also a scam … they have closed up, gone away, etc. Went into Tower42 last Thursday, reception informed my that they have not been seen in their virtual office for a month or so.

    But in their stead – Goldberg & Reed (http://www.goldbergandreed.com/about.html) have sprung up – called by them last Friday, they know all about S&E and also what I hold (sic) with them and even how we went about it. Funnily enough they were only incorporated at Companies House in March – rat is very much smelt with these guys. So be forwarned that your dealings are known in detail by another company.

    Regards

  96. In October 2012 I invested my money with Carbon-EX, or at least I believed it was Carbon-Ex I was dealing with at the time. Their salesman, Karl Nicholson, led me to believe the investment was for 12-18 months. From my dealings with them I would advice you all to steer clear of these people!

    I noticed David Martin has responded to various comments. Has anyone invested money with these crooks? Have you received your money back?

    Dear Mr Oblie,

    Thank you for your e-mail dated 29/04/2014.

    Within the aforementioned e-mail you incorrectly state that you sent Carbon-expert 4,000GBP for the purchase of carbon credits.

    Please allow me to highlight the indiscretions in your e-mail :-

    1. Carbon-expert doesn´t handle client funds. All funds were sent to Barclays ESCROW via Colemans-ctts for the purchase of carbon credits from Carbon-ex sarl (a completely different company to Carbon-expert).
    2. Your purchase contract was not with Carbon expert, but Carbon-ex sarl. These are two completely separate companies. You entered into contract with Carbon-ex sarl. Carbon-expert was merely an introducer to Carbon-ex sarl and as such no transaction took place between Carbon-expert and yourself as an investor. That said, you were introduced by Carbon-expert and as such you are now on a waiting list for your carbon credits to be liquidated through the carbon consultancy Carbon Expert provides to its corporate clients. There are no specific timelines for this (as highlighted in the terms of business previously sent to you, which you agreed to before entering into the agreement with Carbon-ex sarl).
    3. The terms of business and contract that you agreed to and signed are all with Carbon-ex sarl, not Carbon-expert and as such should you be dissatisfied with their service, Carbon-expert recommends you contact them directly.
    4. In terms of reporting Carbon-expert for fraud; Through reading the terms of business which you agreed to and which have previously been sent to you, it will become clear that no type of fraud has taken place of any sort.

    Should you wish to receive a more thorough update in terms of the companies Carbon-expert is currently working with, please feel free to contact myself or Amy Spurr, your client liaison officer.

    I trust this is in order.

    Kind regards,

    David Martin
    Managing Director

    Contact Details:
    Tel UK: +44 (0)20 3137 5480
    Direct Dial: +44 (0)20 3137 5640
    Tel Spain: +34 951 191 011
    Email: David.Martin@carbon-expert.com
    Web: http://www.carbon-expert.com

  97. He is correct in stating that Carbon Expert do not handle client funds directly, but his company will have received a commission from Carbonex-SARL for acting as introducer. So they have almost certainly received money from the markup of overpriced carbon credits, albeit indirectly – a fact which they will not be forthcoming about if pressed. This, together with his statement that “no type of fraud has taken place” is interesting given that a) carbon credits were advertised by his company as investments. Every genuine expert in this field will state that these products are not, have never been, nor ever will be, suitable for private investors. b) There is no evidence that any of the companies Carbon-Expert are working with have ever purchased carbon credits in significant numbers from private investors, or that this would be a viable strategy given that companies can “cut out the middleman” and buy them cheaper directly from source. c) The business of selling carbon credits as an investment has been denounced as A SCAM by The City of London Police, the Financial Regulation Authority, the Insolvency Service, Action Fraud, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, Jo Swinson the Consumer Minister, Vince Cable the Business Secretary, and numerous members of the English Judiciary (when closing down dodgy firms through winding up court orders). It might be argued that fraud is fraud, and you are involved if you are benefiting from the proceeds – regardless of how direct the path is from the source of the money to its destination.

  98. I and many others who reported to Action Fraud have received a letter from Essex Police stating that they have dropped their investigations into Select Global and Others (presumably other agents of Carbon-ex) as ‘the case does not have a realistic prospect of resulting in a conviction’. I urge all to write back and to their MP to complain.

    Also 60+ of us have made a claim against the solicitors Colemans ctts who processed all the contracts with Carbon-ex. We believe they are guilty of handling the proceeds of crime and thus Money Laundering.

  99. This was David Martin’s response to me recently…

    Dear Mr Oblie,

    Thank you for your e-mail dated 29/04/2014.

    Within the aforementioned e-mail you incorrectly state that you sent Carbon-expert 4,000GBP for the purchase of carbon credits.

    Please allow me to highlight the indiscretions in your e-mail :-

    1. Carbon-expert doesn´t handle client funds. All funds were sent to Barclays ESCROW via Colemans-ctts for the purchase of carbon credits from Carbon-ex sarl (a completely different company to Carbon-expert).
    2. Your purchase contract was not with Carbon expert, but Carbon-ex sarl. These are two completely separate companies. You entered into contract with Carbon-ex sarl. Carbon-expert was merely an introducer to Carbon-ex sarl and as such no transaction took place between Carbon-expert and yourself as an investor. That said, you were introduced by Carbon-expert and as such you are now on a waiting list for your carbon credits to be liquidated through the carbon consultancy Carbon Expert provides to its corporate clients. There are no specific timelines for this (as highlighted in the terms of business previously sent to you, which you agreed to before entering into the agreement with Carbon-ex sarl).
    3. The terms of business and contract that you agreed to and signed are all with Carbon-ex sarl, not Carbon-expert and as such should you be dissatisfied with their service, Carbon-expert recommends you contact them directly.
    4. In terms of reporting Carbon-expert for fraud; Through reading the terms of business which you agreed to and which have previously been sent to you, it will become clear that no type of fraud has taken place of any sort.

    Should you wish to receive a more thorough update in terms of the companies Carbon-expert is currently working with, please feel free to contact myself or Amy Spurr, your client liaison officer.

    I trust this is in order.

    Kind regards,

    David Martin
    Managing Director

    …I am still pursuing them for my money. Reading this trend its clear that they mis-sold to a lot of people. Mike I would value your assistance – nickyoblie@hotmail.com

  100. Of general interest to those with VERs is the state of the voluntary market 2014. The summary, link below, suggests that there is still a VER market.

    http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/doc_4501.pdf

  101. @Lu (#101) – Correct, there is still a VER market. Unfortunately that doesn’t help anyone who was scammed into buying VERs as an investment for two reasons. First, the price of the VERs was vastly inflated. So even if you could sell them, you wouldn’t get your money back. Which brings me on to the second reason. There is no secondary market for VERs.

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