Brett Tremain and Mark Blyth, former directors of Natrocell Shareholders Limited, have been banned as directors for a total of 21 years by the High Court for ripping off 2.4m from the public through misleading and aggressive marketing.

The disqualifications follow investigations by the Insolvency Service.

Mr Tremain, 37, from Kent was banned for 12 years from 3 July 2013, while Mr Blyth, 49, from London had earlier signed a nine-year disqualification undertaking, which came into effect on 2 July 2013.

In 2008, the company had used overseas share brokers to raise 2.4million from new shareholders. The brokers used oppressive sales tactics such as cold calling and high pressure sales techniques, and also targeted elderly and vulnerable people.

None of the brokers were authorised by the Financial Services Authority which meant the new shareholders had no protection under financial services legislation.

The shareholders were led to believe their money would be used to fund development work of a subsidiary company. However, at least 1.4million was transferred to overseas bank accounts, purportedly to pay commissions to the brokers.

Additionally, 148,599 was paid out to Mr Tremain and Mr Blyth or to others on their behalf. Some 310,530 was paid out in unsecured loans to connected companies which failed to repay it.

Natrocell Shareholders Limited went into administration on 24 June 2009, owing 5.4million to shareholders.

Commenting on the disqualification, Robert Clarke, Head of Company Investigations at the Insolvency Service in Birmingham, said:

This is a sad case in which members of the public suffered significant financial losses as a result of being misled into buying shares by unscrupulous brokers, only to see most of the money end up as commission.
This ban is a warning to other directors tempted to raise funds by such means that the Insolvency Service will investigate and remove them from the business environment.