in UK

Another 19 carbon credit boiler room scams bite the dust. Including (not before time) Carbon Neutral Investments

On 3 February 2016, the High Court in London ordered 19 companies into liquidation, following an investigation by the Insolvency Agency. One of the companies is CNI (UK) Ltd, whose director Edward Carlton had previously worked as “Head of UK Operations” at Carbon Neutral Investments.

REDD-Monitor first wrote about Carbon Neutral Investments in November 2012, after Enviro Associates was caught by the BBC making misleading claims about carbon credits.

“We are a clearing member of Carbon Neutral Investments Limited (CNI),” Enviro Associates stated on its website. Enviro Associates is another of the 19 companies shut down by the High Court.

Carbon Neutral Investments’ list of clearing members included almost 90 companies, many of which will be familiar to readers of REDD-Monitor’s “boiler room” series of posts.

Paul Seakens was a director of both Enviro Associates and Carbon Neutral Investments.

The Insolvency Service’s investigation revealed that the companies were involved in selling well over 5 million carbon credits to retail investors, for more than £36 million.

The Insolvency Service found that nearly 90 broker companies were involved in the scheme, many of which have since been closed down. (The Insolvency Service doesn’t say whether the 90 companies were those on Carbon Neutral Investments’ list of clearing members, but most of the 19 companies shut down were on the list.)

The Insolvency Service comments as follows about CNI (UK) Ltd:

The company is shown to have taken over the carbon offsetting and consultancy business of a related company of similar name in or around April 2013, adopting a near identical website.

When I wrote about the links between CNI (UK) Ltd and Carbon Neutral Investments I received a letter from Thomas Eggar LLP, a UK-based firm of solicitors, acting on behalf of CNI (UK) Ltd. Thomas Eggar informed me that “any association with … the company Carbon Neutral Investments is false.” Oops.

CNI (UK) Ltd has appeared several times on REDD-Monitor, and played a starring role in a great series of posts by Richard Smith on Naked Capitalism.

In a press release, Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor at the Insolvency Services, says:

“This stoke of boiler rooms was one giant scam emitting the now all too familiar hot air on an industrial scale, persuading ordinary people to part with their hard earned savings to invest in near worthless voluntary carbon credits which were aggressively peddled to them by these companies at significantly inflated prices.”

Here’s a list of the 19 companies that were shut down:

  1. Alpine Consult Limited was incorporated in April 2010. The current director is James Brown. From April 2010 to September 2012, Thomas Knifton was a director. The company was sole supplier of the carbon credits that the boiler rooms sold to retail investors. Between September 2011 and April 2012 the company received £808,000 for the supply of carbon credits. James Brown, Thomas Knifton and Paul Seakens were directors of Carbon Neutral Investments. Knifton has something of a history with boiler room scams.
  2. Environmental Acquisitions Limited was registered in the British Virgin Islands in April 2012. The sole director is a company registered in the Bahamas called White Port Finance Ltd The ultimate beneficial owner of the company is Thomas Knifton. Environmental Acquisitions took over from Alpine Consult as supplier of carbon credits to boiler rooms. In two months it issued invoices for £2,310,000.
  3. Blue Horizons Trading Ltd was incorporated in August 2011. In August 2015 the company went into voluntary liquidation. The directors were Richard Brindle and Richard Smith. Between January 2012 and February 2013, the company sold 348,502 carbon credits to retail investors for £2,186,502. Comments about Blue Horizons Trading have appeared on REDD-Monitor here, here, here, and here.
  4. Burlington Energy Markets Ltd was incorporated in May 2012 and dissolved in February 2015. The directors were Thomas White and Charles Duffield. In December 2012, the City of London Police arrested eight men “after finding evidence linking them to fraudulent companies Hudson Forbes, CT Carbon and Burlington Energy Markets”.
  5. Charles Stratton Limited was incorporated in August 2011. Directors were Sami Raja (until November 2011) and Ansar Ali (until September 2012). Between October 2011 and January 2013, the company sold 175,105 carbon credits for £1,037,109 to retail investors. Comments about Charles Stratton Limited have appeared on REDD-Monitor here and here.
  6. Claremont James Ltd was incorporated in January 2012. The directors were Brendan Cullen (until March 2012) and James Jarman. Between February 2012 and February 2013, the company sold 70,924 carbon credits to retail investors for £501,758.
  7. CNI (UK) Limited was incorporated in January 2013. The directors were Edward Carlton until October 2014, when Michael Fortun took over.
  8. Clear View Partnership Ltd was incorporated in June 2012. The directors were David Pierce (until September 2012) and Ashley Hunte (from June 2012). Between January and February 2013 the company sold 25,765 carbon credits to retail investors for £156,601. REDD-Monitor wrote about Clear View Partnership in May 2013, and comments about the company have appeared on REDD-Monitor here and here.
  9. Eden Brown Group S.L. was registered in Spain in October 2009. The director was Michelle Blackwood. Between March 2012 and January 2013, the company sold 137,800 carbon credits to retail investors for £788,789.
  10. Enviro Associates Limited was registered in February 2011. The directors were Luke Ryan and Paul Seakens (from June 2011 to December 2012). Between October 2011 and February 2013, the company sold 301,066 carbon credits to retail investors for £1,451,140. REDD-Monitor first wrote about Enviro Associates in November 2012.
  11. Global Carbon Exchange Limited was incorporated in June 2011. The director was Stephen May. Between January and June 2013 the company sold a total of 39,283 carbon credits to to retail investors for £271,986.
  12. Harman Royce Limited was incorporated in November 2011. The directors were Sami Raja (unitl August 2012), Sandeep Dosanjh (until August 2012), and Lynn Howard (from July 2012). Between February 2012 and January 2013, the company sold 204,164 carbon credits to retail investors for £1,288,704. Comments about Harman Royce have appeared on REDD-Monitor here, here, and here.
  13. Karlsson Chase Limited was incorporated in December 2011. The sole director was Adam Hawkins. Between April 2012 and February 2013, the company sold 60,299 carbon credits to retail investors for £443,893.
  14. Liberty Alternative Investments Limited was incorporated in January 2012. The directors were Michelle Blackwood (until February 2012), Henry Shaw (from February 2012 to April 2013) and Michelle Blackwood-Maccow (from April 2013). Between May 2012 and January 2013, the company sold 116,822 carbon credits to retail investors for £701,512.
  15. New Frontier Partnership Ltd was incorporated in July 2010. The directors were Graham Manuel and Michael Duff (from July 2011 to October 2012). Between November 2012 and January 2013, the company sold 14,012 carbon credits to retail investors for £64,016.
  16. Oswald Bradshaw Limited was incorporated in November 2011. The directors were John Oakes, Colby Short (until August 2012), and Sami Raja (until January 2012). Between December 2011 and January 2013, the company sold 75,311 carbon credits to retail investors for £409,683. Comments about Oswald Bradshaw have appeared on REDD-Monitor here, here, and here.
  17. Pure Carbon Ltd was incorporated in July 2011. The sole director was Steven Sulley. Between February 2012 and February 2013, the company sold 513,779 carbon credits to retail investors for £3,191,054. Comments about Pure Carbon have appeared on REDD-Monitor here, here, here, here, and here.
  18. Seasaw Limited was incorporated in August 2011. The sole director was Edward Carlton. Between August 2011 and February 2013, the company received £148,074 from sales of carbon credits to retail investors.
  19. Strategic Carbon Solutions Ltd was incorporated in August 2011. The sole director was Robert Turner. Between November 2011 and January 2012, the company sold 82,830 carbon credits to retail investors for £583,861.

Leave a Reply


  1. Any news on the Frost brothers and Viceroy Jones that Action Fraud were dealing with ?

  2. @Phil Wilkinson – The press release from the Insolvency Service, includes this statement:

    Also presented in the High Court at the same time were petitions to wind up a further 10 companies on grounds of public interest and those petitions remain opposed (including in the case of Viceroy Jones Ltd, its restoration to the register) and are listed for trial in the High Court in early 2017. No further details regarding the action taken against those companies will be made available until the petitions against them have been determined by the Court.

    The opposing 10 companies are:

    – Opus Capital Limited (company number 08380328)
    – Gemmax Solutions Limited (company number 07260486)
    – Opus Capital Investments Limited (company number 07768323)
    – Otium Ventures plc (company number 05874310)
    – Vaeron Finance Limited (company number 07241915)
    – Tocan Limited (company number 07662985)
    – Opus Clearing Limited (company number 07670885)
    – Gemmax Solutions Nominees Limited (company number 08481505)
    – Yarmouth Place Limited (company number 08331161)
    – Viceroy Jones Ltd (dissolved company number 0791260)

  3. I am trying to deal with a company involved in this scam. Would you suggest I report the matter to Company Investigations Supervisors at the Insolvency Services rather than keep bashing my head against a brick wall.

    I also can’t understand why I, as a company director am continuously prompted by HMRC, Companies House, VAT etc to keep supplying information and paying tax by its due date on threat of all manner of fines etc – aren’t these authorities interested in these scammers?-

  4. Is there any due process that one can go through to get any compensation?

    I have contacted lawyers and the ombudsman, but does anyone have any stories of successful claims etc. Is there anyway i can recover any of my money?

    My credits were brought at £7.50 through CNI and Gemmax and i can only estimate that i could sell them for 0.10-0.50 if at all!! its disgusting that a registered London stock broker can be cold selling in an unregulated market with no repercussions and no support for the victims.

  5. I’m trying to find other investors that have dealt with GE Commodities, owned by Mr James Hoile.

    This company looks like it is about to wind up and close. Its present status is “Active – Proposal to Strike off”. Any contact would be appreciated.

  6. John, We have, unfortunately, had dealings with GEC and Mr Hoile. We believe that his company is no longer trading or at least shouldn’t be!

    Jack, did you ever get anywhere in trying to pursue some sort of compensation for the apparent mis-selling? We too would be keen to try and find out more about any possible routes to recover some of the monies lost.

    Despite our best efforts and working with the relevant authorities, we do not feel that we are receiving any help whatsoever! It is all incredibly frustrating to be honest.

  7. Yes I agree with you Graeme there is no where to turn for all this my carbon credits were brought in 2012 from a company called diffrations ltd and they left to go to dubia and they sent our dater to m h carbon who I brought a further 10,000 pounds worth of credits overall I spent 52 , 0000 throusand pounds which was my father s inhetaince money I feel so bad and I’ll inside as I only work part time now but need to get a nother job to try to recoup this loss I have tryed all ways to get my funds back and hit my head against a brick wall I am devestated over this and it has made me very ill

  8. Hi there Graeme

    I agree with you I have been through think and thine with these carbon credits trying to get my money back my money that was put in was my fathers inheritance money which I would never had I put all my 55 , 0000 pounds in this Investment I was conned last year out of a rhousand 100 pounds from a company called knoble rock they disappeared after a week later and I never got my investment from them
    And also there is a nother company that are asking for money for the carbon credits I am hitting my head against a brick wall and coming back with nothing they are very Evil people out there taking your money they should earn a living of there own not other people’s money .

    There is no one out there That is going to help us it’s the governments fault and they are the ones that should help us all of us .

    I get very angry about this and been through hell I have become ill over this

  9. Just putting a comment here to name these individuals posing as the LONDON COMMODITY ARBITRATION SERVICE LIMITED informing me they have a buyer for my investment in EVERGREEN FARMING & FORESTRY LTD and in order for the sale to complete I need to put cash into a holding account first.

    They are not from the LONDON COMMODITY ARBITRATION SERVICE LIMITED as I managed to get in touch with the actual company director who confirmed it is not from them. They pose as directors (james noble) but are not. Do not transfer any money to them. the numbers they provide are 02034440212 and 02034773622 – email

  10. Graeme, have you reported Mr Hoile and his company to the Police?

    I was also contacted by LONDON COMMODITY ARBITRATION SERVICE LIMITED and told that my purchase did not actually take place and that they held the money – if I sent them my bank details they could start the process of a refund. As the only contact details they would give was a mobile number I didn’t take up their “kind” offer.

    I would still like to hear from other people who invested with Mr Hoile

  11. We were contacted directly by police in relation to GEC and have supplied them with all of the information that they requested from us.

    I believe that this will be (and already is) a lengthy investigation. From what I know the various police forces are hugely under resourced in order to deal with the scale and volume of these scams.

    Unfortunately it also seems that these fraudsters share your information with other fraudsters (boiler room) and you struggle to get out of the cycle of having to deal with these con-men!

    Best advise is if you haven’t contacted them first then don’t speak to them! After all how would they know that you had any investments in the first place?!

  12. Hi Graeme,

    Do you have any ref numbers, crime number from the police. I’m going to report my dealings with Mr Hoile of GE Commodities ans it might help them match up our problems.

  13. Hi it seems London Commodity Arbitration services are still around-I had a call from a Phillip Banks who claims he can sell my carbon credits but I need to pay 20% of the sale value up front first.


  14. I echo the comments above re LONDON COMMODITY & ARBITRATION SERVICE LTD. I was cold called for a few days as more information was gathered, and “we have found a company who want to buy your shares”. Nothing provided in writing, just “we need to move swiftly”. Then came the call from Philip Banks, apparently Solictor that LCAS use, who suddenly increased my offer from 3.5 times my investment to 4 times ! So long as I put my original amount into an Escrow account. Upon asking for his background information in the legal world & full details of the interested company the call was ended & I haven’t heard from them since. I suggest you AVOID.

  15. Thanks Chris.
    I told Phillip Banks I was not prepared to take up his offer and was not prepared to put good money after bad-he got quite annoyed accusing me of wasting his time. What cheek- they contacted me first!-some people have no morals!

    I now have a James Sinclair of First Plus Financial Services contacting me offering the same scam, which I will also ignore.

  16. London Commodity Arbitration Service LTD use Protonmail which is Swiss so no IP addresses are stored so e-mails can’t be tracked.

  17. Kezza – I have been contacted by a Mr Banks from London Commodity Arbitration Service. He apparently has access to the money deposited to London Commodity Exchange who have scammed me purportedly with a buyer for various commodities Carbon, Diamonds and Metals.
    Spoke with previous ‘successful’ clients, the ‘buyer’ etc finding that deposit changed mid transaction, Tax required upfront …..
    He requires Identity details………
    He also sounds very like one of the above voices.
    I am so disgusted at the apparent vultures possibly trying to strike again – anyone had any success with this organisation?

  18. Does anyone know the number for the real London Commodity Arbitration services limited as I have had dealings with Phillip banks and I am going to check if he really works there or not.

  19. Hi – does anyone have information on jonathan anwyl who was involved in the scam with his wife Anne. They used the scam proceeds to pay off their house in Australia. I am told the house was in Manly, NSW but I’m after an exact address if anyone has access to that kind of information.
    please email me on – if you can help

  20. @Jack Henry – Do you mean Jonathan Anwyl, the son of a judge, who is currently on trial in London, accused of a £100 million tax scam? Nothing to do with Carbon Neutral Investments, or any of the other companies mentioned in the post, as far as I’m aware…

  21. Does anyone know anything about company central reservations.

  22. I to have been contacted by London Commodity Arbitration Service the contacts name is George Benson, telephone number 02034773614 also 020476452365. He tells me that he can get me an amazing amount of money, for my Carbon Credits after i have paid a holding deposit of £4800. He has literally just called me on the second phone number, and i have told him no thanks he wasn’t a happy bunny.

  23. I too have been contacted by London Commodities Arbitration Services. An Alistair Mair said a buyer, John Greenwood, would purchase my carbon credits, and a Sebastian Hawthorne told me I had to put up a holding amount of 6000 euros as did Mr Greenwood in order to complete the transaction!! He did a good job of explaining how they they had split from the the website one, and only dealt with liquidators.

  24. I have unfortunately, also been a victim of LCAS. Althogh there is a company of the same name based at 200 The Strand in London. The company I have dealt with is claiming to be them. I have dealt with Phillip Banks. Tel number 02034773614.
    I contacted the real London Commodity Arbitration Services at The Strand and they have never heard of a Phillip Banks and never contact people out of the blue.
    Do not part with any money if they contact you. They are con men and scum of the earth for praying on innocent hard working people.
    Looks like I have to make that call to Action Fraud.

  25. Hi Angela did you manage to get the real phone number for the London Comodities Arbitration Service please. Because i would like to find out if George Benson is employed by this company. Many thanks if you can.

  26. Yes. The real LCAS on The Strand is 02075397272.

  27. Thanks Angela i will give them a bell tomorrow i wonder what the answer will be?

  28. I have now been contacted by LCAS. They have reassured me that my issues will be resolved and that I will be receiving my payment. They are happy for me to visit them in their office at The Strand in London. They are in the offices next to Kerman and Co LLP. If they were a scam then they would have probably not contacted me at all to apologise for the delay. Feeling more confident that this is going to happen.
    I am happy to keep you posted, good or bad.

  29. @Angela – London Commodity Arbitration Service is a recovery room scam. They are asking for an advanced fee. There is no secondary market for carbon credits. The carbon credits are in any case worthless. They got your details from a suckers list.

    You also left a comment following this article – as you are aware, people posing as employees of London Commodity Arbitration Service claim to be able to sell diamonds, farmland in Ukraine, shares in oil companies, as well as carbon credits.

    I know this is bad news, but other people will fall for this scam if it is not exposed as such. Please report them to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

  30. Angela, they’re playing with you like a cat does with a mouse (before said cat eats the mouse, you are obvisly the mouse and will get eaten if you don’t buck your ideas up).

    They want you to believe in them so much, they want to prove to you they’re legit, so that at some time in the future they’ll ask you for money and you’ll be happy to pay because they’ve proven themselves to you. WHEN they do that that will be the proof you need they’re trying to scam you (again).

    As sure as the sun rises in the east they’ll ask you for money. It might not be payable to them, perhaps some ‘law firm’ or ‘govt agency’ but you WILL be asked for money. And the request might not come for some time, but it’s coming that much you can count on. Please do not pay. if you do, you’re on your own as everyone will have warned you.

  31. Sorry to refer back to an old subject but I see there is a new Google listing for James Hoile. They have him as an Insurance Broker in Chelmsford. I don’t know if this is the same Mr Hoile as previously discussed on this page. Does anyone know this guy who appears to operate as Life Cover Supermarket?