A COMPANY boss has been handed the maximum 15-year ban on being a director after members of the public lost more than £312,000 in an “unscrupulous” carbon credits scheme.

Russell Enright, 44, the director of SJL Risk Ltd, provided “trade execution and registry” services to boiler rooms selling voluntary emission reduction carbon credits (VERs) to members of the public.

The VERs were sold as an investment but the Insolvency Service ruled Enright, of Capadocia Street, Southend, should have known investors would lose their money.

Anthony Hannon, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said: “This company played a central role in enabling other unscrupulous companies to cause damage to the public with claims about the profits to be made by buying carbon credits.

“It shows that the Insolvency Service will look not only at those causing damage on the ‘front line’, but all those who may be involved in the process.”

Carbon credits are a method of keeping pollution down by showing that firms or groups have invested in green technology. They can be traded in complex markets.

In 2010, the market’s self-regulating authorities, HMRC and the FCA, had been unable to identify a viable secondary market for VERs.

Despite this, SJL, trading from Basilica House, in Southend Road, Wickford, purchased and supplied the VERs to brokers and registered their transfer to investors.

It did so knowing that the brokers were selling the VERs at highly inflated prices and that this alone meant they had no investment potential.

In the absence of a viable market, members of the public would be unable to realise their “investment” and mark-ups of up to five times the price paid by SJL were applied.

The full extent of losses is not known, but members of the public lost at least £312,988 as a result of dealing with companies serviced by SJL.

Enright gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be disqualified as a director for a period of 15 years.

In doing so, he did not dispute that in facilitating the sale of VERs by the broker companies he either knew, or chose to ignore, the facts that the VERs were being sold as an investment.

Enwright cannot act as a director; take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.