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ClearView Partnership Ltd: The most incompetent carbon credit boiler room so far?

In April 2013, UK-based journalist Tony Levene wrote about a phone call he received from someone called Jacob. “Have you ever invested in commodities before?” Jacob asked. In his article, Levene commented, “This dodgy outfit flogged carbon credits, a fraud I’ve written about so often that I have lost count.”

The carbon credit fraud is simple: Companies buy near worthless voluntary carbon credits and sell them for a lot more than they are worth. “Investors” eventually realise that they paid far too much, that the value of voluntary carbon credits declines over time and that in any case no one wants to buy their carbon credits. By that time, the company has often disappeared.

Jacob worked for a company called ClearView Partnership Ltd. During the phone call Jacob managed to forget Levene’s name, and told him that “due to the Data Protection Act”, he could only send him a company brochure if Levene first became a client of ClearView Partnership. Jacob also needed Levene’s date of birth. As Levene points out this is “total nonsense”. Then Jacob forgot about the Data Protection Act and said he would send the brochure anyway.

A week later, no brochure arrived, but Levene received another phone call from ClearView Partnership, this time from someone calling himself Fraser. ClearView Partnership is “a major company and a leading company”, Fraser said. Impressive, for a company that was only registered in June 2012.

When Levene kept asking questions about the company, Fraser handed over to a senior broker called Vince. Levene continued asking questions. Before slamming down the phone, Vince told Levene he was so rude and a waste of his valuable time that he would punish him be depriving him of this investment opportunity. “The worst scammers I’ve ever encountered!” Levene commented.

Levene tells a funny story, but doesn’t provide much information about the company – not even the company’s name (which is perhaps not surprising as he was threatened by lawyers after writing about another company, Tullett Brown, which was subsequently ordered into liquidation in the public interest.)

ClearView Partnership’s website was only registered in December 2012, six months after the company started. It is password protected. REDD-Monitor registered on the website, and received a message, “A member of ClearView Partnership will be in touch shortly to provide your login credentials.” I’m looking forward to hearing from them.

The company’s registered address is 90 Brixton Hill, London (see photograph, left). Google maps reveals that the address is actually a firm of accountants. The company was set up by two directors: David Pierce (who retired his position after three months) and Ashley Hunte.

The company was listed on Carbon Neutral Investments’ website as one of the “companies that CNI provides clearing and settlement services for”. (Carbon Neutral Investments is now called Opus Capital Ltd and the clearing and settlement services were taken over by a company called Gemmax Solutions Ltd. Neither Opus Capital’s nor Gemmax Solutions’ website is currently available.)

There’s an interesting discussion between several people who have been contacted out of the blue by ClearView Partnership’s sales team, on tellows.com. Winston from ClearView Partnership told one person that the company’s address was in Canary Wharf, a far cry from Brixton Hill. Someone else described the call from ClearView Partnership as a,

Very aggressive hard sell. All talking about green credits and how my investment will make 30 plus percent.

Another described a “pratt called Jamie” from ClearView Partnership, who “called and started being a fool on the phone”.

“Mike” went for a job interview with ClearView Partnership. “Seems dodgy,” he writes.

It’s run by a 25 year old guy called Chris Chapman who handed me a script which is just the boiler-plate way of getting people to invest. Who ever calls you up doesn’t know anything. At the end of the script, before you get to talking about what your selling, you hand over to a senior broker. I literally have no idea what it is they’re selling.

After the interview, he called Financial Conduct Authority whistleblower line to report the company. That ClearView Partnership managed to convince an interviewee to report them is quite an achievement!

If you bought voluntary carbon credits from ClearView Partnership, REDD-Monitor would be very interested to hear about your experience with the company, in the comments below. If you believe you are the victim of fraud at the hands of this (or any other) company selling voluntary carbon credits as an investment, you should contact Action Fraud, either via their website or by ringing them up on 0300 123 2040:

Action Fraud

 

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22 Comments

  1. Very interesting, I have painfully long calls, and am glad I found your site before I ended up sending more money!
    I questioned the age of the company and why they contacted me seeming to believe i had money to invest (lots) but seemed to get a plausible answer from broker ‘Tom’

  2. @Claire (#1) – I’m glad you found the post useful! If you believe that you are the victim of fraud, please contact Action Fraud, either via their website or by ringing them up on 0300 123 2040.

    Incidentally, I’m still waiting for ClearView Partnership to contact me, after I registered on the company’s website…

  3. I’ve just had a 30 minute conversation with Clearview, unsure how they got my number but seemed to believe I had between £50k-£100k to invest in “fancy coloured diamonds” Think their technique relies on the junior broker slating the government for cutting interest rates then you’re passed over to an aggressive sales broker (again called Tom) who sounded rather put out when I started asking questions and wanting time to read the information he was going to send and time to research the company! Glad I found this post, not that I would have invested any money with them anyway!

  4. I wonder if the BBC’s watchdog could get involved. I think they just deal with UK firms though. They have a send your story form on the BBC website.

  5. I have been phoned by clear veiw with information about Argyle Diamond mine wants me to invest 10/20K as uk interest rates are so low etc. senior broker comes on then passes me on to someone else for the FCA bit. All a load of crap. very happy that I did not purchase any diamonds using this company seems very much like a scam to me. DO NOT PART WITH ANY MONEY IT WILL BE THE LAST YOU SEE OF IT.

  6. Hi
    I have been talked into ‘investing’ two lots of £5,000 in carbon credits. Clearview are now trying to get me to invest in diamonds to ‘boost’ my returns. When I challenged the so called value of a .52 carat diamond they said was worth $6500 but I could find the same at $2000 on the web, some story came up about auctions etc. Glad I found this web site, I shalln’t be ‘investing’ any more, any way I can get my money back for these carbon credits, that Clearview now say are blocked from sale by the EU until 2019.
    Thanks for any advice.
    Rob

  7. Hi, interesting reading all this…I have just discovered that my elderly mother has been the victim of Clearview cold calling. She has “invested” 9000 in 3 instalments on carbon credits. I have reported this to Action Fraud and any advice on reclaiming the money would be helpful!She feels humiliated and ashamed, not to mention now suffering a big financial loss.

    Fiona

  8. Hi
    Astounded to read Rob`s entry saying that the EU have blocked sales of Carbon Credits until 2019. Can you tell me where this is written and why are they blocking sales. Any help would be much appreciated

    Regards
    Gary

  9. @Gary (#8) – To be fair on Rob, he was quoting what Clearview told him. And what Clearview told him was utter bollocks. Here’s what actually happened (see these reports from the Financial Times and Point Carbon:

    In July 2013, the European Parliament voted in favour of “backloading” pollution allowances on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Backloading involves temporarily withholding carbon emission allowances that were due to come to market between 2013-2015. It’s an attempt to address the massive over-supply of allowances on the ETS (the over-supply is the result of too many allowances being issued and the global economic crisis since 2008 which has reduced manufacturing and therefore reduced emissions).

    Pollution allowances are not the same as carbon credits, and the ETS trades compliance credits (CERs) not voluntary credits (VERs).

  10. Thanks for the reply Chris which clarifies the situation. Having invested in Carbon Credits with Pure Carbon (who are now enshrined in Clearview)I had not received any such information from Clearview as Chris had so I thought oh no “another nail in the coffin of my investment”. A little light at the end of the tunnel at least. Good luck to all with Carbon Credits in getting their money back.

    Regards
    Gary

  11. @Gary (#10) – Just to clarify, none of the information in my comment (#9) came from Clearview. It came from the Financial Times and Point Carbon (as I made clear in the comment).

    I’m sorry, but what I explained is not “light at the end of the tunnel”. I’m afraid that you are the victim of a fraud. You have been sold near worthless carbon credits at a vastly inflated price. Even if you could find a buyer for them (and as there is no secondary market for VERs that’s unlikely), you would not be able to get much money back, because the carbon credits are near worthless.

    Please report your case to Action Fraud, either via their website (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk) or by ringing them up on 0300 123 2040.

  12. I started out with Pure Carbon, got taken in and invested, they morphed to Clearview and promised my my money back, months ago. The City of London Police are aware of them and have contacted me for a statement. Clearview do keep in contact – we’ve had ‘Vince’ on the phone too. They say that the police are preventing them from trading but the police say that is nonsense. The police reckon that I won’t get my money back. I have just lodged a claim with the small claims court and the address I have used, where they have received my many letters before, is 33 Throgmorton Street, EC2N 2BR. If I get my money back – which I doubt – I’ll let you know.

  13. Well, Clearview are definitely still trading, if you describe ‘cold-calling people to invest in fancy coloured diamonds’ as trading. Lots of finance-speak about ‘diversifying your portfolio’ and the usual probing questions about my other assets such as ISAs. A waste of time, as usual.

  14. I invested with pure carbon, they then changed their name to clear view. The police say the carbon credits I have purchases have no re-sale value, the company still disagree. I wish the company knew the affect of losing a great deal of money has on people. I would like to hear from anyone in the same situation and maybe we could do something about it together.

  15. Hi Lyn

    I too have “invested” a substantial amount in Carbon Credits through Clear View and as previously reported on this site, I look as though I have lost the money. I still have them registered on the Gemax register but nothing saying I could sell them apart from Enviro Associates contacting me to say they will keep me informed of what is happening in the market (for £600) and “maybe” sell the credits for if they can find a buyer. Needless to say I didn’t part with any more of my money. It is a pity you cant go it alone in advertising carbon credits and selling them to get at least some money back or form a co-operative if someone has the flair to do it for the many people like me who look as though they have lost their investment. If so, maybe we can start a site off. Unfortunately I have no expertise in that area but I am willing to learn and help with the running of the co-operative FOR FREE. Anyone out there? Sorry to hear you also look as though you have lost your money Lynn.

  16. @Gary Kennedy (#15),

    Sorry to be the bearer of (even more) bad news, but are you aware of this Statement from Gemmax?

    If your credits were on the CDC Climat registry (which closed down December 2012) they now only exist on paper. They cannot be traded in any way. It would be worth enquiring with Gemmax whether this is true in your case.

    I doubt Enviro Associates – or anyone else – that say they can sell your credits would mention this problem. They’re only interested in your advance payment.

    Mark.

  17. Hello

    Has anyone had any dealings with Trend is Blue. They rang me today (Jun 20 2014) to say they may have a buyer for my Carbon Credits. They will confirm on Monday. They say they will charge me 1 point 5 per cent for selling them. Needless to say I will not be putting any money up front if that is what is required but if they have a buyer, and I get paid a reasonable price for the credits. I will be happy to pay them their cut from the money I bank. Apparently the market is supposedly opening up in America as their firms have to offset their carbon emissions with credits by the end of the year or be fined. I will keep you informed of what happens next week but in the meantime, has anybody had dealings with “Trend is Blue” in the past?

  18. Trend is Blue – never heard of them but I doubt this is genuine; the City of London Police have written to all scammed by Clear View (aka Pure Carbon) and other companies to warn us against any dealings with anyone offering to buy our credits. I think the proverbial ‘bottom line’ here is that carbon credits were never meant for trading. It might be of interest to know that, despite so widely publicised crackdowns and arrests of people involved in these boiler room companies that Clear View still operates – at least, someone answers their number and states the company name. My attempts to get them to court have failed to date; the response to my last effort was an almost incomprehensible reply to the court from someone I had never heard of claiming family illness prevented them attending. Neither the judge nor I could make any sense of it. The judge has ordered them to attend…or else…but I still wait and doubt I will ever see my money.

  19. Thanks Roger

    Hear what you say but I will listen to what they have to say in case and let you know the outcome. Good luck with Clear View.

    Regards
    Gary

  20. @Gary Kennedy (#17) – The Trend is Blue is almost certainly running a recovery room scam. How did they get your phone number? No reputable company would cold call you with financial advice. The Trend is Blue is not registered with the FCA. They were on Carbon Neutral Investments list of clearing members. My advice would be to report them to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

  21. Thanks Chris

    I will ask them when they ring back. After reading all of you very informative articles, believe me, I will not be parting with any more of my money in carbon credits or their sale. The main reason for the comment was to keep all the other people who have been scammed with new companies cold calling so they can be aware. Needless to say I will update the fraud people after they have rung back. Thanks again Chris for you wonderful site.

    Regards
    Gary