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International Police Focus On Boiler Room & Carbon Credit Fraud Companies

carbon credits110 individuals were arrested in the UK, Spain, Serbia and the US in relation to allegations of organised criminal activity concerning boiler room share and carbon credit companies.

The international operation involved the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), the FCA, the SFO, City of London Police, US authorities, and the Spanish Policía Nacional.

There were eighty-four arrests in Spain, twenty in the UK, two in the USA, and four in Serbia.

The 'ground-breaking' and 'unprecedented' operation led to the closure of fourteen alleged boiler room frauds in Spain, two in the UK, and one in Serbia.

This is another example of increasing international co-operation between various criminal and regulatory authorities.

The authorities within these various jurisdictions have seized various valuable assets with a view to confiscating them, and believe that hundreds of millions of pounds were defrauded.

We have successfully defended (and are defending) allegations of boiler room/carbon credit frauds, asset confiscation and have advised and acted for victims of these frauds. If you are affected by any of these issues please contact us on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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Alleged Carbon Credit ‘Scam’ Companies Forced Into Liquidation by the Insolvency Service – By Siobhain Egan

carbon credit scamIn another example of the multi-faceted approach that the authorities are taking with this type of unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS), a number of linked carbon credit companies have been forced into liquidation as a result of a full liquidation order made by the High Court on 18 December 2013.

Rather than the traditional view, which would be to mount an expensive criminal investigation by, for example, City of London Police, the authorities are using civil recovery proceedings and now insolvency proceedings to stop those companies that they SUSPECT of any wrongdoing. See the article in New Model Advisor dated 3 January 2014. This approach is far quicker and cheaper for the authorities, the standard of proof in these proceedings being lower than in the criminal courts.

The FCA regularly uses High Court proceedings against UCIS in order to effectively shut them down and recover monies.

However, we should not forget that the trade in carbon credits is legal and there are many successful companies lawfully trading in this area. In these particular cases, the Insolvency Service was of the view that the companies were selling the credits to investors at 'inflated prices'.

If you are affected by any of these issues please contact our specialist lawyers by calling us on 0207 387 2032 or completing our online enquiry form here.

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Carbon Credit Fraud

With the recent announcement of arrests by City of London Fraud Squad in connection with allegations of carbon credit frauds, it would appear that this sector is once again the subject of renewed focus by the authorities.

However there are important issues to note:


  1. The trading of carbon credits is NOT illegal per se. A carbon credit certificate is the equivalent of one tonne of CO2 or greenhouse gases, and are bought and sold by companies to encourage them to reduce their greenhouse emissions. Any 'spare' certificates earned as a result of reduced greenhouse gas emissions can be traded for profit. It is a rapidly increasing market, hailed by the environmental lobby and various international organisations.


  3. This is a highly specialised complex area in which a number of reputable companies trade. Investors can be sold either Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) and/or Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).


  5. There are also a number of firms authorised by the FCA that legitimately sell carbon credits and accounts can be opened with an authorised carbon credit registry to hold such credits on behalf of investors. The stumbling block, as far as the FCA is concerned, is that it does not control the sale of the carbon credits themselves.

The market has attracted the attention of Interpol, who value the market in the region of $176 billion annually, and the FCA (the Financial Conduct Authority) because the acquisitions of such credits are not capable of being supervised by them. They describe these as UCIS, i.e. Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes.

Interpol are convinced that the market is abused by organised criminals and are concerned about money laundering and online credit card fraud.

The FCA have now decided that from January 2014, it will not be possible to sell UCIS to the retail investment market, unless it involves 'sophisticated investors' and there will be strict criteria describing these type of investors.

The FCA used to concentrate its efforts using regulatory sanctions e.g. penalties for high pressure sales targeting vulnerable investors. More recently they have been working closely with City of London Fraud Squad in bringing prosecutions against individuals on the basis that carbon credit trading can be another version of a 'boiler room fraud'.

They have prosecuted individuals for falsely asserting that they had carbon credits to sell, for over-valuing VERs, and for VAT (MTIC) frauds etc.

We are currently advising a number of individuals involved in four of these criminal prosecutions.

We are well positioned to defend these cases because of our specialist knowledge and experience. We have successfully defended these cases over recent years. If you or your company is facing such an investigation, it pays to instruct specialist fraud solicitors who have successfully defended such complex investigations and prosecutions.

Look for a firm with a real pedigree in fraud defence, who are membership of the relevant organisations, who are top ranked by all the leading legal ranking directories, who blog about current fraud issues, and who have a number of serious fraud supervisors and specialists. You will need a firm in which its directors and/or partners lead the preparation of your defence, who instruct leading barristers, forensic accountants and forensic experts.

Contact us either using our online enquiry form or call us on 0207 387 2032.

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Charges Brought Over Carbon Credit Fraud

Six men were charged by Kent Police earlier this week in connection with an alleged carbon credit fraud that is estimated to have cost the public revenue around £11 million.

Carbon credit VAT fraud dates back to the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 in an attempt to encourage industrialised nations to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The protocol allows countries to meet their GHG obligations by buying reduction credits from other countries. In essence, it means that if a country cannot meet its GHG reduction target, it can buy credits from other countries that have credits to spare.

The VAT element came into play in July 2009, when the UK Government decided to make carbon emission trading 'zero rated' for VAT purposes. Differences in the way in which VAT is treated by different countries can be exploited, and, according to the Crown Prosection Service (CPS), this is what the recent charges relate to.

The CPS alleges that between 1st January and 31st July 2009, four of the six men used a missing trader intra-community (MTIC) style fraud to give the appearance of legitimate trading in carbon credits, allowing them to reclaim VAT paid out on purchases of credits along a chain of bogus companies.

Each of the four men is charged with one count of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

The four are also charged, along with two others, with money laundering offences.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged in connection with VAT offences and require specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhan Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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Jail for carbon credit defendants

Three men were jailed earlier this month for their parts in an attempt to steal carbon credits worth around €8 million.

According to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the attempted theft, which took place between June and November 2011, involved attacks on a number of websites.

Carbon Credit Crimes in the EU

One targeted the Spanish Carbon Credit Registry RENADE, from which 350,000 European Union Allowances (carbon credits) were transferred without authority into a brokerage account. This account was frozen before more than 8,340 of the credits were sold on.

The other attempt targeted the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism Registry. On this occasion the defendants tried to transfer 426,108 Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits, but the plan fell through when Registry administrators spotted that an incorrect account number had been used.

The man behind the computer hacking, 32-year-old Matthew Beddoes, was arrested in November 2011, and pleaded guilty in May last year to various offences, including money laundering, fraud and conspiracy to commit Computer Misuse Act offences against the two Registries.

He was sentenced to two years nine months in prison for these offences.

Two other men were involved in the attempt. According to SOCA, Jasdeep Singh Randhawa pleaded guilty to four offences relating to conspiracy to commit Computer Misuse Act offences, and received a 21 months sentence.

Jandeep Singh Sangha pleaded guilty to two money laundering offences and was sentenced to twelve months in prison, suspended for two years.

Contact LNL's Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged with a criminal offence similar to the carbon credit offences described above or in respect of any type of crime, contact us now. Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan, or click here to get in touch with our london criminal defence solicitors via our online enquiry form.

This blog is provided as a news item only. No connection between LNL and the parties involved is intended or implied.

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