A company called Claremont Partnerships is cold calling people who have been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment. The company claims it can sell their carbon credits, provided an upfront fee is paid. It’s a scam, of course.
Claremont Partnerships’ salesmen explain that they will convert voluntary carbon credits (VERs) to compliance carbon credits (CERs). The company explains this on its website:
VERs are sold for fewer, but more valuable CERs, prior to the ultimate sale which subsequently releases the capital.
And the company promises to sell the carbon credits in a few months’ time. One person contacted by Claremont Partnerships explained in a comment on REDD-Monitor that the company claimed it would be able to sell the carbon credits in February 2015, at a price of £12 per credit.
There is a very obvious problem with all this. While there is a secondary market for CERs, they are not “more valuable” than VERs.
CERs can be traded on the EU Emissions Trading System. The problem, that Claremont Partnerships seems to be hoping its potential clients/suckers won’t notice, is that the current price per credit is €0.08.
Here’s how the price of CERs has fallen since July 2011, (from the carbon trading company Vertis):
In a variation of the scam, the salesman explains that “the carbon credit registry” has appointed Claremont Partnerships as third party management and escrow agency for clients of Pine commodities Ltd, a company that was shut down by the High Court in July 2014.
Claremont Partnerships’ website looks impressive (but provides no information about who is behind the company):
The website bears more than a passing resemblance to that of a company called Aldershire Capital:
Both websites include a series of logos: London Metal Exchange; Metalor; The Royal Mint; DueDil; and the World Gold Council. As did the website of another scam company: Bradlodge Corporate Trading.
Aldershire Capital and Bradlodge Corporate Trading were both registered by Ceri John (who has a lot of directorships, 70 of which are active, 13 closed, and 925 retired).
Claremont Partnerships was registered in May 2013, under the name Grovebank Ltd. The company’s sole director from May 2013 to January 2014 was Darren Symes (who also has a lot of directorships, 161 active, 59 closed, and 604 retired).
Since August 2014, Claremont Partnerships’ sole director has been Christopher Hives. The company’s website was registered on 6 August 2014, two days after Hives became director.
Claremont Partnerships is 100% owned by a company called Paramount Properties (UK) Ltd. Paramount Properties (UK) has 284 subsidiaries. Paramount Properties (UK) was registered in 1981. Its director is Neil Cohen.
Cohen is also director of a company called Paramount Company Formations Ltd.
For £24.99 (plus VAT) Paramount Company Formations will set up a company in five hours. They’ll do it even faster if you pay more.
They also offer a nominee shareholder service. Here’s how the company explains this service on its website:
Our nominee shareholder service offer is structured to keep your personal information off the public record while ensuring full legality.
Therefore only by using our nominee shareholder service can your anonymity and confidentiality be ensured.
A specific contract will be put in place to confirm that the shares are held in trust on behalf of you the beneficiary.
Paramount Properties (UK) and Paramount Company Formations share the same trading address in north London. That’s a screenshot from Google maps on the right.
There are more than 500 companies registered at this address.
There’s probably nothing illegal about that. It must get pretty crowded in the driveway during rush hour though.
If you have been contacted by Claremont Partnerships with offers of selling your carbon credits, or if you have handed over any money to Claremont Partnerships, REDD-Monitor’s advice is to contact Action Fraud: