Three men who ran a voluntary emission reduction carbon credit investment scheme have been disqualified for a total of 44 years.

The High Court handed down disqualifications of 15 years against Lee John Thompson and Andrew Michael Spiteri on 30 November 2016. Earlier on 10 May 2016 Stephen Michael Leary had agreed to a disqualification undertaking of 14 years.

The men acted as directors of Worldwide Commodity Partners Limited (Worldwide) which sold voluntary emission reduction carbon credits (VERs) to members of the public as an investment. An Insolvency Service investigation uncovered that between July 2011 and November 2012, Worldwide sold VERs to members of the public who lost almost ?3m. The VERs they were selling had no potential to show a return and Thompson, Spiteri and Leary knew, or should have known that this was the case.
Records revealed that Thompson, 47, lately of Canvey Island, was the registered director of the company. Spiteri, 36, of Tower Hill, and Leary, 33, of Finchley, while not formally appointed directors had day to day control of sales.

Thompspn and and Spiteri did not defend the court proceedings. Their disqualifications begin on 21 December 2016 and mean that they cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2030. The disqualification undertaking given by Leary commenced on 10 May 2016.

Commenting on this case Anthony Hannon, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:

This company made bold, exaggerated claims about the financial advantages of buying carbon credits, but the truth is, the advantage was all in the company?s favour. The lengthy disqualifications handed down show this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated by the Insolvency Service nor by the Court.