Advanced Global Trading is a Dubai-based company that sells voluntary carbon credits as an investment. As with any company doing so, the question is whether the company is a boiler room operation, selling near worthless carbon credits at hugely inflated prices.
Advanced Global Trading is slightly different to the other companies selling carbon credits as investments, in that it has its own Trading Platform. Unlike the price of voluntary carbon credits elsewhere on planet earth, the price of carbon credits on AGT’s Trading Platform goes up and up. REDD-Monitor asked whether this is because AGT is in fact a Ponzi scheme.
Ian Hainey, AGT’s PR Director, responded denying that AGT is a Ponzi scheme, but he provided no information to explain how the price of AGT’s carbon credits continually increased. REDD-Monitor sent some questions to Charles Stephenson, CEO of AGT.
Yesterday, REDD-Monitor received an email from Ian Hainey, PR Director at AGT, with a “company statement” (pdf file, 51.3 kB) attached. The statement is posted in full below and my comments follow the statement.
Dear Mr Lang,
As you are well aware, you initially posted on your blog against our company, Advanced Global Trading, on the 9th of May 2013 setting out unfounded derogatory conclusions about our company through a series of leading questions and conjecture.
We wrote to you in response on 20th of May 2013 refuting your allegations and inviting you to speak to us directly in an effort to provide you with factual information about our company -setting the record straight.
In our response we also asked you consider amending your initial posting against our company so your readers are not erroneously drawn to conclusions you have conjured up without the proper facts and insight into our company, business practices and personnel. Instead you emailed us at 9:33am UAE time (12:33pm your time) on a Friday (24th of May 2013), when it is the weekend in our head office of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, setting out a series of 22 questions for us to respond about our business. Leaving aside any sense of reasonableness as to whether this is the proper and/or customary means of soliciting information, no later than approximately four hours later you made a further posting claiming our business is a fraud and directing people to contact UK police. Again, without receiving any information from us, you have made unilateral uninformed allegations about us that are defamatory to say the least. It is thus clear to us you are not interested in our presentation of the facts about our business and have a determination, for unknown reasons or motives, to harm our company – which invariably will indirectly and directly harm our clients, personnel and the markets we serve.
We therefore do not intend to give any credence to your blog’s postings, statements and/or opinions and see no utility for our clients or stakeholders in corresponding with you again. Our valued clients, and others who are interested in our business, can contact us directly if they have any questions or concerns. Our contact information is transparently posted on our website at www.advancedglobaltrading.com. Further, each of our clients is assigned a personal client liaison representative to address any of their questions or needs and we encourage our clients to contact their representative.
We have always done everything we can to protect the interests and investments of our clients and will continue to do so despite unsubstantiated and erroneous messages from parties such as yourself who seem determined to harm our company, its business and the markets we serve for reasons or motives unbeknown to us. No amount of “anonymous” postings and misinformation will deter us from our resolve. Finally, AGT reserves all of its rights and intends to take all legal measures to protect its interests and those of its clients and other stakeholders.
Advanced Global Trading
- My questions were in response to Ian Hainey’s comment:
Firstly, we are surprised that you have not contacted us in connection with your article. AGT makes itself available to the press on a regular basis to assist with articles related to the carbon market generally and AGT specifically. We invite you to our headquarters so you can see for yourself first hand AGT’s operations and personnel which we are confident will refute your negative claims against AGT and its personnel.
Travelling to Dubai is outside REDD-Monitor’s budget, and in any case would result in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. So, I sent some questions by email. Needless to say, AGT’s “company statement” fails to answer any of my questions.
- AGT’s “company statement” states that “We wrote to you in response on 20th of May 2013 refuting your allegations…”. The word “refute” means to prove that a statement is wrong. I’ve re-read Hainey’s response and cannot find any proof whatsoever that AGT is not a Ponzi scheme. Hainey provides no information about how the price of AGT’s carbon credits continually rises, any explanation of how Charles Stephenson could claim that carbon is “a commodity that never goes down”, or how Franklin Connellan, head of investments at AGT, could claim in 2012 that, “Over the last 12 months, carbon has seen a return of over 22%.” (Incidentally, I note that AGT has now removed the interview with Connellan in which he makes this statement, from YouTube. AGT has also removed another video titled, “Where can I see the AGT price for my VERs?”, and another titled, “Where are Carbon Credits kept?”.) At a time when other carbon traders report “downward pressure on prices” it seems extraordinary that AGT’s prices steadily increased in 2012.
- Yes, I sent the questions to Charles Stephenson on a Friday. However, I did not set any deadline for a response. In fact, I would still welcome his response, which I would be happy to post in full, unedited on REDD-Monitor, in a similar manner to the other interviews on REDD-Monitor.
- The comment I wrote four hours after posting the questions for Charles Stephenson on REDD-Monitor did not claim that AGT “is a fraud”. I wrote that, “I think everyone who has invested in this company may well be the victims of a fraud.” The advice I gave was the same as the advice I give to anyone who has “invested” money in voluntary carbon credits – to contact Action Fraud.
- Let’s assume for a moment that I’m wrong and that AGT is a perfectly legitimate company. Nevertheless, I have some questions for the company. Wouldn’t the best way to resolve the misunderstanding be for AGT to answer the questions?