Frances Murray of Kangs Solicitors provides an update on an investigation reopened by the City of London Police against suspects allegedly involved in carbon credit fraud and money laundering.
The Criminal Proceedings | Kangs Solicitors
This case involves a conspiracy to defraud involving companies alleged to have fraudulently sold carbon credits and the money laundering of the proceeds.
Directors of various companies and brokers are charged with conspiracy alongside our client who is charged with money laundering.
Charges have been issued against six individuals, who have been summonsed to attend City of London Magistrates’ Court in the New Year and who are alleged to have conspired to defraud investors by:
- using a company to sell Voluntary Emission Reductions units
- providing false information about the genuine trading price of such units
- Providing false information about the marketability of such units.
The matter will be sent to the Crown Court for trial.
What Are Carbon Credits? | Kangs Commodity Fraud Solicitors
A carbon credit is a certificate or permit which represents the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) and they can be traded for money.
Voluntary carbon credits are sold by different projects around the world. These projects reduce emissions in some way.
For example hydro power plant or a project planting trees. These projects require an independent audit to verify the amount of carbon emissions they reduce by the tonne.
Once the project has been audited they are told the amount of tonnes of carbon emissions they have saved and so the voluntary carbon credits they can trade.
Voluntary carbon credits are bought by companies for corporate responsibility. Companies can then advertise that they are investing in the environment or off setting their carbon emissions by purchasing the credits.
The debate is whether there is a real market for selling the credits on for a profit after they are purchased. It is often the case that VCS credits are retired and not sold on having been bought purely for corporate sustainability.
The price for a carbon credit can differ greatly depending on the type of project to which they relate.
For example, a tree planting project in Africa may be worth more than a hydro power plant in Chile.
Voluntary Carbon Credits, once purchased, should be kept on a registry. Each voluntary carbon credit should have a serial number which enables it to be identified.
There have been instances where voluntary carbon credits have been offered as a potential investment opportunity to individual investors. High returns are often promised by brokers and this is the alleged case against the representatives of the Defendant companies. The Prosecution say the fact is that voluntary carbons are not a legitimate investment opportunity and so the promises of high returns were false.
The voluntary carbon credit market is unregulated so there is no set trade price for carbon credits. This differs from the certified market where there would be a traded market price that would be advertised on the open market.
The Prosecution allege that the marketing material provided by the Defendant companies to their clients is laden with false and misleading information to provide the reader with the illusion that the VERs were a genuine investment opportunity.
How We Can Help You | Money Laundering Solicitors
Cases of this nature require a legal team with specialist knowledge and extensive experience as they can often carry with them complex legal issues.
Kangs Solicitors complex crime and regulatory team provides a national service and has enjoyed great success in defending clients involved in ‘carbon credit fraud’ cases.
We have extensive experience of dealing with cases investigated and prosecuted by all the major prosecuting authorities such as the SFO, FCA, HMRC, CPS, Trading Standards, and Environment Agency etc.
Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs Solicitors
If you are a business, whether a sole trader, partnership or company, we are here to assist and advise you on any criminal proceedings involving fraud and / or money laundering.
Our team of solicitors has a proven track record of assisting many individual and businesses achieve the right result following these criminal proceedings.
Our expert team of Solicitors can be contacted through the following: