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Eight companies shut down over wine scam

Eight interlinked companies involved in forcibly selling wine and carbon benefit units to vulnerable investors have been ordered into liquidation following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.

Companies involved in the scam were London Carbon Neutral Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Wine Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Ltd, Savi IT Ltd and KMD Energy Solutions Ltd, all of which were based in Croydon.

Earthsky Limited, which was based in Chelmsford; and two British Virgin Island companies; Consolidated Carbon Projects Limited and WK Investments Holdings Limited, were also liquidated following the investigation.

The investigation revealed that telesales teams had been “Aggressively” targeting vulnerable people, convincing them to purchase carbon benefit units in two overseas projects for investment, and wines.

Sales teams of majority of the companies were based at Airport House Business Centre in Croydon, Surrey, which was under the supervision of a Jason Chalk – a director of the company.

The court heard that those targeted were subjected to high pressure sales techniques, and were not properly informed of the risks involved.

The wine sold to investors was marked up by up to 89% of the price paid by Blakeney Bridge, with at least £1.5 million raised from the sale of wine to the public for investment. One couple who bought into carbon benefit units were cheated out of their £1.2m life savings.

“This was a significant boiler room operation involving companies based both here and abroad with sales companies here being located at Airport House Business Centre in Croydon and described to my investigators as the biggest telephone users at this address and easy to locate as their offices had ‘all the Porsches outside’”, said Chris Mayhew, company investigations supervisor. “Investors not persuaded to buy carbon benefit units were sold wine instead and vice versa. The Insolvency Service will not allow rogue companies to rip-off vulnerable and honest people”.

All eight companies were ordered into liquidation following the investigation in the public interest.

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