Marcel McKeigue, Carl Stuart Thornton and Graham Stephen Philip Hawrysh, the directors of Cleartrade Limited which sold worthless voluntary emission reduction carbon credits have been banned as company directors for a total of 43 years.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that the voluntary emission reduction carbon credits (VERs) were sold by Cleartrade at highly inflated prices and had no investment potential. Members of the public have lost almost ?1m as a result of dealing with Cleartrade.

Mr Hawrysh, 40, gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be disqualified as a director for a period of 13 years. Mr McKeigue, 39, and Mr Thornton, 36, did not defend proceedings brought by the Official Receiver and on 8 February 2017 were disqualified for 15 years each ? the maximum period - by the High Court after the Registrar found that members of the public had been deceived and that Cleartrade?s business was a scam.

Mr Hawrysh?s disqualification commenced on 13 July 2016, those of McKeigue and Thornton will start on 1 March 2017 and mean that they cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2031.

This disqualification follows investigation by the Official Receiver at the Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations into the affairs of the company. The disqualification regime exists to protect the public.

The Official Receiver?s investigation uncovered that between November 2011 and October 2012 the company sold VERs to members of the public as an investment, netting almost ?1m. The VERs they were selling had no potential to show a return and McKeigue, Thornton and Hawrysh knew, or should have known that this was the case.

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

This company?s claims about the profits to be made by buying its carbon credits were quite simply untrue and only the company and those working for it made money.
The lengthy periods of disqualification handed down in this case show that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated by the Insolvency Service nor by the Court.