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Investment company boss banned for 11 years

Investment company boss banned for 11 years

A director of company Wealth Capital Limited of London is to be disqualified as a director for 11 years, after selling unsuitable carbon credit investments.

Darren Bartlett has given an undertaking to the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills to be disqualified as a director for a period of 11 years for selling carbon credits as an investment on the basis they would increase in value.

However, these investments were deemed wholly unsuitable.

Mr Bartlett’s disqualification means from 11 March 2016 he cannot promote, manage or be a director of a limited company until 2027.

It follows investigation by the official receiver at the public interest unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest following an investigation by company investigations, also part of the Insolvency Service, into the affairs of the company.

According to the investigation by the official receiver, between June and October 2012 Wealth Capital Limited cold called members of the public to sell them carbon credits, charging around two-and-a-half to nearly three times what it had paid its supplier for carbon credits.

In total, the firm made sales of £273,000 and achieved an estimated gross profit of at least £175,000.

According to the government, it was clear as early as 2010 that HM Revenue & Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority and the registries and the carbon credit market’s own self-regulating authorities considered there was no viable exit strategy for the carbon credits sold by Wealth Capital Limited at at time.

Paul Titherington, official receiver in the public interest unit at the Insolvency Service, said: “Mr Bartlett should have known that the carbon credits his company was selling were wholly unsuitable as an investment, particularly at the price his company charged.

“Anyone showing such blatant disregard for commercial morality should expect to be banned from running any limited company for a lengthy period time.”

He added the Insolvency Service would pursue those who misuse companies to deprive members of the public of their hard earned money.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com