Anglo Capital Partners’ website describes carbon credits as “The ethical alternative investment” and “a phenomenal alternative investment opportunity”. This description is dramatically different to the advice on the UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau: “If you buy carbon credits you WILL NOT make any money no matter what the salesman says.”
Anglo-Capital Partners offers the usual boiler room type deal on carbon credits: carbon credits at inflated prices which the company claims will be worth a lot more at some point in the future. Anglo-Capital Partners also offers a variant: an exit strategy, that is a means of selling the carbon credits. The company’s website explains the exit strategy as follows, under the headline “Complete Control of when you exit”:
When making any investment it is important for you to understand your exit methods and the transparency of this investment. We advise all clients to hold on to the Carbon Credits for a minimum of two years as this is likely to reward you with a significant return on your investment.
The same page of the website includes the FSA’s warning about carbon credits as investments.
While this may seem reassuring, the reality seems somewhat less so.
In November 2012, someone calling themselves “John” posted the following on the website Just Answer, which provides advice for people who think they may be victims of fraud:
I also have been contacted by Anglo Capital Partners who say they have an exit strategy to sell 7000 carbon credits which I purchased through another company namely MH-Carbon. They say they can get £13 a credit on 22 march next year (I paid an average of £3.50 around 3 months ago) However I would need to buy credits from them worth £4500 in order to become a client before they can sell my existing credits.
MH-Carbon say they can sell the credits I purchased from them for £7 (in March next year) per credit providing I buy an extra £12000 from them.
The date for exiting is prior to the new tax year when the credits will be valued at £16 as per government legislation.
So Anglo-Capital Partners’ exit strategy is four months in the future and involves handing over a further £4,500. Meanwhile MH Carbon is offering to sell the same carbon credits at almost half the price, if the investor spends another £12,000 on carbon credits.
The FSA warning about carbon credits (reproduced on Anglo-Capital Partners’ website) has the following advice: “If you are concerned about a carbon credit trading scheme you should stop sending money to the firm and individuals involved.”
Anglo-Carbon Partners was established on 10 October 2011 by John Oakes. For most of last year Brett Jolly was also a director. He left the company in December 2012. Jolly is director of more than 270 companies. He hit the headlines in 2007, when he announced the discovery of the world’s biggest diamond – a story that only got better when it turned out to be a hoax. Jolly has not given up his career as a carbon credit salesman though. He is a director of Green Planet International Investment Holdings and the company’s website offers carbon credits “coming soon”, along with land and property investments in Brazil.
Anglo-Carbon Partners’ website gives an office address in London. More than 100 other companies and a strip club share this address. As the website gives no floor, suite or room number, it seems unlikely that anything posted to this address would actually arrive at Anglo-Carbon Partners’ office.
But the company’s website has some great testimonials. From politicians (Barack Obama, George Osborne, Tim Yeo) and newspapers (the New York Times and the Sunday Times). None of them, of course, have anything to say about Anglo-Carbon Partners, but they have all “remarked on the growth of Carbon Credits”. So that’s OK, then.