Matthew Ames, son of Harlequin chairman David Ames, has been disqualified as a director for 13 years due to causing investor liabilities of almost £1.3m in relation to two companies involved in carbon credit and teak trading, according to The Insolvency Service.
The service said that Mr Ames caused The Investor Club Limited to trade “with a want of commercial probity and/or to the detriment of its investors” between December 2008 and March 2011. It said the same was true of Forestry For Life Ltd between March 2010 and March 2011.
TIC offered investments in either carbon credit trading or an investment in Teak Tree Saplings and between February 2009 and March 2011 customers paid monies totalling around £1.2m either directly to TIC or via agents.
No funds were invested onwards by TIC, which paid £205,107 for travel expenses, £273,666 for business expenses and £151,000 was paid to Mr Ames. Around £233,536 has been paid to investors by way of commission payments, however of the £1.7m received into company bank accounts, £1.2m was from investors and no income was received from any investments.
TIC’s statement of affairs completed by Mr Ames for the liquidators disclosed liabilities to investors of £846,494.
FFL offered investments in carbon credit trading on the basis that there would be a 12 per cent annual return on monies invested over the first three years. Between March 2010 and March 2011 customers paid at least £436,021 either directly to FFL or to FFL via agents but no funds were invested onwards.
The Insolvency Service found that investors’ funds were used to facilitate set up and running costs of FFL, including £133,247 for consultants and around £300,100 of investors’ money was transferred to a connected company. FFL’s statement of affairs completed by Mr Ames for the liquidators disclosed liabilities to investors of £443,327.
Mr Ames’ disqualification order started on 7 August 2013.