12 year disqualification secured against Stephen John Coles following an Insolvency Service investigation.

Stephen John Coles, a director of Met-X Corp. Limited (?Met-X?), a company based in London which supplied Rare Earth Metals (?REMs?) to companies for onward sale to members of the public, has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be disqualified as a director for 12 years.

An Insolvency Service investigation found Mr Coles facilitated the sale of REMs to members of the public for investment and did not maintain and/or preserve records, and also did not deliver adequate records to the Official Receiver

The disqualification regime exists to protect the public. Mr Coles? disqualification, from 26 October, means he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2028.

This disqualification follows investigation by the Official Receiver at the Public Interest Unit (PIU), a specialist team of the Insolvency Service. The PIU?s involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations, another part of the Insolvency Service, into the affairs of the company.

The Official Receiver?s investigation uncovered that from 2012 Met-X had supplied REMs to broker companies who sold the REMs onwards to members of the public as an investment. Mr Coles knew and chose to ignore, or knew that the REMs were wholly unsuitable as an investment, as there was no market for REMs without industry certification and in the quantities sold by Met-X.

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

Mr Coles ought to have been aware that his corporate customers were selling Rare Earth Metals to the public when he knew they were wholly unsuitable as an investment. Our investigators challenged Mr Coles? attempts to distance himself from this objectionable trade resulting in a significant ban on him being a director.