Gurpreet Singh Rai, or Gurps to his friends, describes himself as someone who was a “prominent figure of the Carbon Market”. He claims to have created history in 2011, when he became “the first person to successfully facilitate a commodity trade using a virtual currency”.
On 11 May 2017, four men were sentenced in Blackfriars Crown Court in London to jail for selling precious metals as investments. The metals were almost worthless. The conmen duped retail investors out of £7.75 million.
Three years ago, I wrote a post about Dubai-based Eventus Alternatives, a company that specialised in selling carbon credits to retail investors. A week after the post, Eventus Alternatives’ solicitors threatened to sue me for US$250,000. Three years later, the company’s ex-director, Phil Wombwell, wrote a nice email asking me to remove the post.
In October 2014, REDD-Monitor wrote about Sterling and Bond, Voiptel International, and Velvet Assets. The companies were part of the Capital Alternatives network. The post received more than one hundred comments, some of which named the individuals involved in these and other related companies.
Three weeks ago, REDD-Monitor wrote a post about three carbon credit fraud suspects who are wanted in Germany for tax evasion and money laundering. On Sunday, I received an email from “AS” at Salya Group accusing me of having “wrongfully written your blog” and requesting that the post is removed.
The Court of Appeal has upheld a February 2014 High Court ruling in which the Financial Conduct Authority won their case against Capital Alternatives and other firms. The FCA accused the firms of “promoting and/or operating collective investment schemes (CISs) in the UK illegally and without our authorisation”.
“It was the generally accepted way for brokerage firms under regulatory heat to stay one step ahead — essentially, closing down and reopening under a different name, thereby starting the process of making money and fighting the regulators all over again. It was like stepping on a cockroach and squashing it, only to find ten new ones scurrying in all directions.”
In June 2011, Industry RE forward purchased one million REDD carbon credits from an Irish company called Celestial Green Ventures. On 11 September 2013, the High Court in London appointed Julie Palmer and Jason Greenhalgh of Begbies Traynor as joint liquidators of Industry RE, “on the application of the Secretary of State and following intervention from the Public Interest Unit”.
“Caring for the environment is something that Advanced Global Trading has been doing ever since they first opened their doors back in 2010.” That’s the opening sentence from a recent press release from Advanced Global Trading, a Dubai-based company that sells voluntary carbon credits as investments.