By Chris Lang
Earlier this month, the director of a carbon credit company was disqualified as a director by the High Court for 15 years. Young Erumuse was the director of the London Carbon Credit Company Limited, a company that sold carbon credits to retail investors.
Andrew Penman wrote about Erumuse’s carbon credits scam in the the Daily Mirror in August 2012. Penman told the story of how the London Carbon Credit Company had tricked Bob Wright into handing over a total of £7,900 for worthless carbon credits.
Wright had been trying to get his money back since April 2012, but the company stopped answering telephone calls and emails. Its London address was a virtual office.
Company claimed to be selling carbon credits from Clinton Foundation projects
London Carbon Credit Company is currently in advanced negotiations with the world renowned Clinton Foundation to be sole UK provider of carbon credits produced from the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Carbon Capture and Forestry projects.
And in a press release dated 16 October 2011, London Carbon Credit Company announced that the company,
will soon be able to offer its clients carbon credits from Bill Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation.
The company’s website included two Clinton Climate Initiative projects in its list of “our voluntary carbon offsetting projects”, one in Malawi and one in Tanzania.
At the time, there was no mention of the London Carbon Credit Company on the Clinton Climate Initiative website. So, on 13 September 2012, REDD-Monitor wrote to the Clinton Climate Initiative to ask them some questions about their relationship (if any) with the London Carbon Credit Company.
The following day, the Clinton Foundation Fraud Alert page was updated to include the London Carbon Credit Company as one of a list of scams claiming to be associated with the Clinton Foundation:
Claims made by the London Carbon Credit Company that it is and/or will be selling carbon credits from the Clinton Climate Initiative. The Clinton Foundation and its Clinton Climate Initiative are not working or otherwise affiliated with the London Carbon Credit Company. The Foundation is undertaking efforts to address this matter.
Five days later an email arrived from D. James Baker, Director of Global Carbon Measurement Program at the Clinton Foundation. “This matter is a known fraud,” he told me.
Baker did not reply to my question about whether it was possible that the London Carbon Credit Company had bought carbon credits from Clinton Foundation projects.
He also declined to tell me what precautions the Clinton Foundation takes to ensure that its name, reputation and its projects are not used to legitimise the fraudulent activities of companies like London Carbon Credit Company.
Wound up in the High Court
The London Carbon Credit Company was wound up in the High Court in March 2013.
In a 2013 press release, the Insolvency Service wrote that in two years, the London Carbon Credit Company had managed to scam £1.7 million from retail investors. 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.”
According to the Insolvency Service, London Carbon Credit Company managed to sell the carbon credits at an average price of £110.70, having bought them for around £3.50.
Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:
“The London Carbon Credit Company Limited was involved in a scheme to deprive investors of their savings by persuading them to invest in a type of carbon credit which has no known resale market. The London Carbon Credit Company Limited purchased carbon credits for an average of £3.50 and charged its customers an average of £110.70 representing an average mark up of 3,163%. It was therefore LCCCL and not its customers, who profited from the VERs. Essentially, investors have lost their money.”
The sad story so far
From June 2011 to March 2013, the London Carbon Credit Company sold worthless carbon credits to retail investors. In August 2012, Andrew Penman exposed the London Carbon Credit Company’s dodgy operations. In March 2013, the company was wound up in the High Court.
The Clinton Foundation was unable to stop the company from claiming on its website that it was in “advanced negotiations with the world renowned Clinton Foundation”. (Here’s an archived copy of the London Carbon Credit Company dated 27 May 2013, eight months after the Clinton Foundation’s D. James Baker described the company as a “known fraud”.)
In September 2015, Young Erumuse, the director of the London Carbon Credit Company was disqualified as a director for 15 years. That seems like a pretty lenient punishment to me, given the £1.7 million that his company scammed from retail investors.