Anthony Allen director of Global Neutral Ltd has been banned from being a company director for 15 years following High Court hearing.
Anthony Allen, aged 31, the director of Global Neutral Ltd (Global Neutral), has received the maximum disqualification preventing him acting as a director for 15 years. An Insolvency Service investigation found that under Mr Allens sole control, Global Neutral used misleading sales practices to take more than 1.1 million from members of the public between April and September 2012 to buy Voluntary Emission Reduction carbon credit units (VERs) as investments. There is no genuine market for VERs that is accessible to the public to resell their units. In the unlikely event they could have been sold, the units had been marked up so much over cost price by Global Neutral that customers would not be able to make a profit.
This disqualification follows investigation by the Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service. The Official Receivers involvement on the winding up of the company in the public interest and followed an investigation into the affairs of the company by Company Investigations, another team within the Insolvency Service.
The Official Receivers investigation uncovered that Global Neutral was the successor to World Future Ltd, another company that was investigated and wound up in the public interest for its misleading sales of VERs as investments.
Apart from working as a junior salesman for 8 months at World Future, Anthony Allen had no knowledge or experience of the carbon market when he set up Global Neutral and took on at least 12 of World Futures sales staff without interview.
Mr Allen claimed: The carbon credits were not sold as an investment, as I dont believe it was an investment. Some customers believed it was, not due to anything we said. However, sales scripts recovered from the trading premises and information from customers make it clear that the sales people repeatedly misled customers by referring to high returns that customers would allegedly make.
Paul Titherington, Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, said:
The company persuaded members of the public to part with substantial sums by falsely claiming that customers would be able to easily sell the units and make large profits. In reality there was no market to sell their units, and so the customers have lost all the money they believed they were investing. The misleading scheme operated only for the benefit of those running the company.
As is so often the case, if an investment scheme appears too good to be true, it probably is.