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MH Carbon update: Claims total more than £4 million

REDD-Monitor first wrote about MH Carbon in January 2013. At the time the company was selling carbon credits to retail investors. Since then, the company has gone into liquidation – first voluntary, then compulsory.

MH Carbon was one of a web of companies that was wound up in the High Court in May 2014, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. Eco-Synergies Ltd was at the centre of the web, buying carbon credits and supplying them to a series of related companies (including MH Carbon), which sold them on to the public.

Ordering the companies into liquidation in the High Court, Registrar Clive Hugh Jones said:

I am satisfied on the basis of the evidence before me that the sale of VER carbon credits to the public on the basis that the credits will increase significantly in value would be a sale based on a fraudulent misrepresentation.
 
It is plain that the companies were trading VER carbon credits as investments which is wholly incorrect and misleading.
[ . . . ]
It is in the public interest to wind up a company that has obtained pecuniary advantage from members of the public by misrepresentation and the conduct is fraudulent.

Last week, “David Hotson” left a comment on REDD-Monitor, asking about a company called Grant Thornton UK LLP, that had recently written to him about MH Carbon. Grant Thornton UK LLP was appointed as the liquidator of MH Carbon in August 2014. I wrote to David Ingram, a partner at Grant Thornton, with the following questions:

  1. Has there been any progress on tracking down the money that MH Carbon took from retail investors, while the company was operating?
  2. What happened to the previous liquidators?
  3. Has any progress been made in bringing the people behind the company to justice?
  4. Is there any other recent news (hopeful or otherwise)?

Here are Ingram’s responses to these questions:

I confirm that I was appointed liquidator of M H Carbon Ltd on 14 august 2014 following the compulsory winding up of the company on 1 May 2014. The company was wound up by the court (Compulsory Liquidation) upon a petition by the Secretary of State for Business and Skills (BIS). Prior to be being places into compulsory liquidation the company was in Creditors voluntary Liquidation (CVL). Jamie Playford was the CVL liquidator. When the company was placed into Compulsory liquidation the CVL liquidation came to an end.
 
1. My investigations into the flow of monies are on-going. I trust that you will appreciate that the sensitive nature of these investigations I am unable to elaborate on this statement.
 
2. Previous liquidator – see above
 
3. I can confirm that I am very much aware of my duties to report known or suspected criminal activities. Pursuant to regulations I am not, however, at liberty to discuss whether or not I have submitted any such reports. My role as liquidator of the company is to realise assets for the benefit of creditors, it is not to “bring the people behind the company to justice”; that is the role of the police.
 
4. There is nothing else to report. As you are not a creditor of the company there is very little information that I can provide to you. Much of the above is already in the public domain or is information that you are already aware of.

On 29 September 2015, Grant Thornton filed a report with Companies House on the progress of the liquidation for the year ended 13 August 2015:

Progress report

 
As you may be aware, the Company was wound up by the Court in the public interest as part of a petition with 14 other connected companies.
 
I am the Liquidator of four of the connected companies. Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited and James Dowers of DDJ Limited have been appointed as liquidators of the remaining companies.
 
Carbon Credits
 
Eco-Synergies Ltd, one of the connected companies, was a wholesaler of Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) carbon credits and supplied them to the Company. The Company marketed and sold the VERs to the public as investments between September 2010 and April 2013. MH Carbon Nominees Limited (MHCN), another connected company, was a non-trading company which held the VERs on trust for investors, as the Registries which held the VERs were not willing to open accounts for individuals to hold VERs because they did not consider VERs to be suitable investments for individuals.
 
I am the joint liquidator of MHCN with Nefim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited. I am undertaking further investigations with the Registries as to the location and ownership of the VERs. I will update creditors in due course regarding the outcome of my investigations.
 
Bank Analysis
 
I have obtained and analysed the Company’s bank accounts.
 
My enquiries are ongoing in this respect and I am liaising with the liquidators of the other connected companies as appropriate. I will update creditors regarding this line of investigation when it becomes appropriate.
 
Directors
 
Jeffery Razaq was the Company’s director from October 2012 until the date of liquidation. I am in correspondence with Mr Razaq in relation to the Company’s affairs.
 
Jonathan Cocks and Gavin Manerowski were the Company’s directors from September 2010 to July 2011 and October 2012, respectively. I have received no response to my letters addressed to them and I am considering instructing my solicitors to compel their co-operation.
 
Jeffery Razaq has been disqualified from being a director for 14 years (from July 2015 to July 2029) by the Insolvency Service for selling VERs to members of the public as investments when they were not suitable for individual investors.
 
Jonathan Cocks has been disqualified from being a director for 11 years (from 12 May 2015 to 11 May 2026) by the Insolvency Service following his conduct as the director for the Company.
 
Creditors
 
There are no preferential or secured creditors in this matter.
 
I have received unsecured claims totalling £4,246,785.61.
 
At this stage, there are no funds available for a distribution to be made up to creditors.
 

 
The previous liquidator, Jammie Playford of Parker Andrews, also attempted to track down the carbon credits. Here’s what he wrote in his progress report, dated 27 June 2014:

Location of Carbon Credits
 
I expended a considerable amount of time in attempting to locate the carbon credits of investors. This involved liaising with the various registries and my findings are summarised as follows:
 
Eco-Syndergies Limited. This company is in liquidation and the credits are held with Citadel Trustees Limited (“Citadel”). Citadel have advised that credits are held under MH Carbon Nominees Limited (“Nominees”) and not the Company.
 
Reco Environmental Partners LLP (“Reco”). Reco do not hold credits for individual investors, however, did advise that some credits were showing as held under trust by Citadel for the Company.
 
CDC Climate (“CDC”). The registry department of CDC was closed in December 2012 and the credits were transferred. CDC have been unable to provide any further information regarding where the credits were transferred to.
 
In November 2013, the director of the Company advised that the carbon credits were held under Nominees and a letter was sent out to the investors from Nominees.
 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Thank you for the update on MH carbon. I get depressed every time I think about it but at least key people associated with the scam are also feeling some pain. I note though that there is no money for creditors. You live and learn but it was a painful lesson!

  2. I invested with MH Carbon during 2012.
    Their representative was a Richard Clark(e) who had written articles which appeared in the weekend FT in 2012 as far as I remember. This seemed to give some confirmation that this may be a respectable company with a product that was ok, subject to the usual risk warnings.
    Does anyone else who gave money to MH Carbon remember Richard Clark(e) referring to his articles?
    MF.
    17th Oct 2015

  3. Hi
    Have been cold called by a company called LACKNER KURK
    of bond street i believe they are a clone company check fca website aviod

  4. I have carbon credits through MH Carbon and have been approached by Vanguard Trading who state for a fee of at least £1000 they can swap my ver credits for the good credits and sell them in Brazil. has anyone used or heard of this company?

  5. Does any body think we will get any money retfunded from this scam?

  6. Hi Chris
    I have an offer to sell my carbon credits for around £5 per unit by a company Blackrock Commodities. Their buyers are a Swedish company Asio Capital . I have been given their address in Sweden and the address of the company they are using to presumably broker the deal (Carter and Carter) and also Alexander Forbes the Escrow Agents they are using. I have spoken to both these companies who say they have been dealing with Blackrock for a number of years and have successfully completed various deals. The deal is that I pay £6000 upfront to secure the Corporate Re-diversion of the credit. This is refundable after the deal is complete (1st April). I feel there is nothing else I can do to confirm that this deal is legitimate but I am still not convinced. Do you or any readers have any contact with Blackrock or any advice.

  7. Tel Nos are
    Blackrock 0207 859 4985 0207 859 4985(London W1J 6BD)
    Carter and Carter 0207 164 6597 London WC2N 5BW)
    Alexander Forbes 0207 310 8461 (London WC2N 4HS)
    Asio Capital Uppsala Sweden Tel 0800 6893973

  8. @john arnold – Thanks for this. Here are some red flags:

    1. Blackrock cold called you. That’s a really bad sign. Here’s what the insurance company Aviva plc has to say about this sort of thing:

    Aviva advises as follows:

    Reject cold calls – If you’ve been cold called with an offer to buy and sell shares, chances are it’s a high risk investment or a scam. You should treat the call with extreme caution. The safest thing to do is to hang up.

    2. The unfortunate reality is that your carbon credits are worthless.

    3. Carter and Carter’s website was registered (anonymously) on 11 March 2016.

    4. According to the most recent accounts filed with Companies House, Carter and Carter is registered at 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PW. It shares this address with 32,741 other companies.

    5. The accounts filed by the company with the registration number 08292905, are “Total exemption small company accounts”. Yet Carter and Carter’s website claims to have “185 partners and employs more than 4,500 of the profession’s brightest minds”.

    6. The website blackrock-commodities.com was registered (anonymously) in January 2016.

    7. There is a really big company called Blackrock Commodities Income Investment Trust. It’s registered in the UK with the number 05612963. But this company has nothing to do with the scammers that cold called you. If you google “Blackrock Commodities” you’ll find lots of information about this really big company. The people that contacted you are a clone of the real Blackrock.

    8. Clicking on blackrock-commodities.com is pretty revealing:

    9. The website alexanderforbesinternational.com was registered (anonymously) on 4 January 2016. It’s a clone of a company called Alexander Forbes.

    Please report these clowns to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

  9. I also have received a letter from Alexander Forbes stating that they have received my funds from the sale of my ‘alternative assets’. What sale? The funds are supposedly held I their HSBC account for private clients. The letter states I should contact Mr George Anderson on 0207 3108461 and is signed by Sara Taylor, office administrator.
    Also attached is a list of other supposed clients who have either received payments or are yet to claim payments