By Chris Lang
London Carbon Credit Company was exposed as a scam by Daily Mirror journalist Andrew Penman in August 2012. Last month, Penman reported that the company has been wound up in the public interest in the High Court in London.
According to a press release from the Insolvency Service, in the less than two years that the company existed, London Carbon Credit Company managed to collect £1.7 million from investors. The company sold the carbon credits, “at an inflated price with an excessive mark up”. Even if a market did exist to sell voluntary carbon credits, investors would have been unable to do so because London Carbon Credits Company “failed to provide identifiable carbon credit certificates”.
The Insolvency Service’s investigation into the company also found,
- untrue claims were made regarding carbon credit registration and accreditation
- investors were unable to track carbon credit investments through online accounts as they’d been led to believe
- a lack of expertise, training and monitoring of the LCCCL sales staff
Two linked companies have also been shut down (Erumuse was director of both): London Carbon Company Ltd; and Carbon Acquisitions Limited.
David Hill, Investigations Officer at the Insolvency Service, said:
“It was clear that these companies could not provide a shred of evidence to support their exaggerated claims and that anyone who fell for their slick patter was likely to end up losing out.
“The Insolvency Service will take action against and put out of business, companies that set out to rip off honest investors.”
On its website, the company claimed “that it will soon be able to offer its clients carbon credits from Bill Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation.” (As of today, the company’s website is still live – and the claim is still there.) The two Clinton Foundation projects were listed on London Carbon Credits Company’s website in a list of what it called “our voluntary carbon offsetting projects”.
In September 2012, REDD-Monitor contacted the Clinton Foundation to clarify its relationship with London Carbon Credits Company and whether it was possible that the company may have bought carbon credits from Clinton Foundation projects. “This matter is a known fraud,” D. James Baker of the Clinton Foundation replied. “The Clinton Foundation and its Clinton Climate Initiative is not working or otherwise affiliated with the London Carbon Credit Company.”
But Baker did not answer REDD-Monitor’s question about whether London Carbon Credits Company may have bought carbon credits from Clinton Foundation projects. He also declined to answer the following two questions:
- Is it possible that London Carbon Credits Company could have bought credits from a Clinton Foundation project from a third party and could therefore legitimately claim to be selling carbon credits from Clinton Foundation projects in Tanzania and Malawi?
- Does the Clinton Foundation take any precautions to ensure that its name, reputation and its projects are not used to legitimise the questionable activities of companies like London Carbon Credits Company? If so what, and if not, why not?
Now that London Carbon Credit Company has been shut down, REDD-Monitor looks forward to hearing how the Clinton Foundation plans to avoid becoming the victim of similar scams in the future.