Three companies involved in the supply of rare earth elements to the public were placed into provisional liquidation on 20 December 2013, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Denver Trading AG, a Swiss registered company, Denver Trading Ltd, a Seychelles registered company (collectively Denver Trading), and Imperial Escrow Ltd, who held money from customers on behalf of Denver Trading, all took part in the rare metal business.

Denver Trading acted as suppliers of rare earth elements – a set of 17 related metals – increasingly used in electronics-related manufacturing – to members of the public through agents. The agents have now ceased their selling activities on behalf of Denver Trading.

Furthermore, a number of those agents have themselves ceased trading, with some having been dissolved or entered liquidation. Imperial Escrow Ltd, a Nottingham-based company, was used to bank customer receipts and pay money to Denver Trading.

The role of the provisional liquidator is to protect assets in the possession or under the control of the companies pending the determination of the petitions. The provisional liquidator also has the power to investigate the affairs of the companies insofar as it is necessary to protect assets including any third party or trust money or assets in the possession of or under the control of the companies.

The case is now subject to High Court action and no further information will be made available until the petitions to wind up the companies are heard in the High Court on 12 March 2014.