REDD-Monitor first wrote about MH Carbon in January 2013. At the time the company was selling carbon credits to retail investors. Since then, the company has gone into liquidation – first voluntary, then compulsory.
MH Carbon was one of a web of companies that was wound up in the High Court in May 2014, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. Eco-Synergies Ltd was at the centre of the web, buying carbon credits and supplying them to a series of related companies (including MH Carbon), which sold them on to the public.
Ordering the companies into liquidation in the High Court, Registrar Clive Hugh Jones said:
I am satisfied on the basis of the evidence before me that the sale of VER carbon credits to the public on the basis that the credits will increase significantly in value would be a sale based on a fraudulent misrepresentation.
It is plain that the companies were trading VER carbon credits as investments which is wholly incorrect and misleading.
[ . . . ]
It is in the public interest to wind up a company that has obtained pecuniary advantage from members of the public by misrepresentation and the conduct is fraudulent.
Last week, “David Hotson” left a comment on REDD-Monitor, asking about a company called Grant Thornton UK LLP, that had recently written to him about MH Carbon. Grant Thornton UK LLP was appointed as the liquidator of MH Carbon in August 2014. I wrote to David Ingram, a partner at Grant Thornton, with the following questions:
- Has there been any progress on tracking down the money that MH Carbon took from retail investors, while the company was operating?
- What happened to the previous liquidators?
- Has any progress been made in bringing the people behind the company to justice?
- Is there any other recent news (hopeful or otherwise)?
Here are Ingram’s responses to these questions:
I confirm that I was appointed liquidator of M H Carbon Ltd on 14 august 2014 following the compulsory winding up of the company on 1 May 2014. The company was wound up by the court (Compulsory Liquidation) upon a petition by the Secretary of State for Business and Skills (BIS). Prior to be being places into compulsory liquidation the company was in Creditors voluntary Liquidation (CVL). Jamie Playford was the CVL liquidator. When the company was placed into Compulsory liquidation the CVL liquidation came to an end.
1. My investigations into the flow of monies are on-going. I trust that you will appreciate that the sensitive nature of these investigations I am unable to elaborate on this statement.
2. Previous liquidator – see above
3. I can confirm that I am very much aware of my duties to report known or suspected criminal activities. Pursuant to regulations I am not, however, at liberty to discuss whether or not I have submitted any such reports. My role as liquidator of the company is to realise assets for the benefit of creditors, it is not to “bring the people behind the company to justice”; that is the role of the police.
4. There is nothing else to report. As you are not a creditor of the company there is very little information that I can provide to you. Much of the above is already in the public domain or is information that you are already aware of.
On 29 September 2015, Grant Thornton filed a report with Companies House on the progress of the liquidation for the year ended 13 August 2015:
As you may be aware, the Company was wound up by the Court in the public interest as part of a petition with 14 other connected companies.
I am the Liquidator of four of the connected companies. Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited and James Dowers of DDJ Limited have been appointed as liquidators of the remaining companies.
Eco-Synergies Ltd, one of the connected companies, was a wholesaler of Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) carbon credits and supplied them to the Company. The Company marketed and sold the VERs to the public as investments between September 2010 and April 2013. MH Carbon Nominees Limited (MHCN), another connected company, was a non-trading company which held the VERs on trust for investors, as the Registries which held the VERs were not willing to open accounts for individuals to hold VERs because they did not consider VERs to be suitable investments for individuals.
I am the joint liquidator of MHCN with Nefim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited. I am undertaking further investigations with the Registries as to the location and ownership of the VERs. I will update creditors in due course regarding the outcome of my investigations.
I have obtained and analysed the Company’s bank accounts.
My enquiries are ongoing in this respect and I am liaising with the liquidators of the other connected companies as appropriate. I will update creditors regarding this line of investigation when it becomes appropriate.
Jeffery Razaq was the Company’s director from October 2012 until the date of liquidation. I am in correspondence with Mr Razaq in relation to the Company’s affairs.
Jonathan Cocks and Gavin Manerowski were the Company’s directors from September 2010 to July 2011 and October 2012, respectively. I have received no response to my letters addressed to them and I am considering instructing my solicitors to compel their co-operation.
Jeffery Razaq has been disqualified from being a director for 14 years (from July 2015 to July 2029) by the Insolvency Service for selling VERs to members of the public as investments when they were not suitable for individual investors.
Jonathan Cocks has been disqualified from being a director for 11 years (from 12 May 2015 to 11 May 2026) by the Insolvency Service following his conduct as the director for the Company.
There are no preferential or secured creditors in this matter.
I have received unsecured claims totalling £4,246,785.61.
At this stage, there are no funds available for a distribution to be made up to creditors.
The previous liquidator, Jammie Playford of Parker Andrews, also attempted to track down the carbon credits. Here’s what he wrote in his progress report, dated 27 June 2014:
Location of Carbon Credits
I expended a considerable amount of time in attempting to locate the carbon credits of investors. This involved liaising with the various registries and my findings are summarised as follows:
Eco-Syndergies Limited. This company is in liquidation and the credits are held with Citadel Trustees Limited (“Citadel”). Citadel have advised that credits are held under MH Carbon Nominees Limited (“Nominees”) and not the Company.
Reco Environmental Partners LLP (“Reco”). Reco do not hold credits for individual investors, however, did advise that some credits were showing as held under trust by Citadel for the Company.
CDC Climate (“CDC”). The registry department of CDC was closed in December 2012 and the credits were transferred. CDC have been unable to provide any further information regarding where the credits were transferred to.
In November 2013, the director of the Company advised that the carbon credits were held under Nominees and a letter was sent out to the investors from Nominees.