Last year (as usual) most of the top ten stories on REDD-Monitor were about scams and frauds. A post about Renwick Haddow’s return after the Capital Alternatives scam took top place (and is the second most visited post on REDD-Monitor, after a 2013 post about how much a carbon credit costs). Haddow featured in three of the top ten posts in 2017.
A story with REDD in the headline did manage to reach third place, and two others in the top ten are about forests and climate change.
During 2017, there were 161 new posts on REDD-Monitor. Most visitors were from the UK, followed by the USA, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Indonesia, Malaysia, and India are also in the top ten.
The total number of views of REDD-Monitor passed the 3 million mark during 2017.
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17 January 2017
The return of Renwick Haddow, the man who ran the Capital Alternatives network of scam companies. This time Haddow’s behind a New York co-working startup called Bar Works. Haddow tried to disguise his role in the company, ultimately unsuccessfully. Bar Works also launched a UK investment scheme, aimed at converting telephone boxes into office mini-workspaces. A surprisingly large number of news outlets took this seriously.
2. Mohsin Salya is no longer wanted by the German authorities. Peter Singh Virdee, alias “Batman”, faces extradition to Germany
31 January 2017
Mohsin Salya has been sentenced to three years and three months in jail. In November 2016, a court in Germany found Salya guilty of carbon credit VAT fraud. Meanwhile, on 10 January 2017, police arrested Peter Singh Virdee, a British businessman, at Heathrow airport. Virdee faces extradition to Germany and a possible 15-year sentence. Virdee is accused of fraud and €125 million in unpaid VAT on sales of carbon credits. Virdee denies the allegations.
7 July 2017
In January 2017, the Kelantan state government in Malaysia signed a REDD deal with two companies called Climate Protectors and EcoBit. Ecobit claimed to be the world’s “first-ever green blockchain project”. The company launched an “Initial Coin Offering”. But then in June 2017, Bank Negara Malaysia (the country’s Central Bank) put out a warning that Climate Protectors and Ecobit, “are neither authorised nor approved under the relevant laws and regulations administered by BNM.”
28 March 2017
The first time I wrote about Mohsin Salya and his alleged involvement in a carbon credit VAT fraud, I received an email from Aadiel Salya, a solicitor in the UK. Salya asked me to remove the post, “with the upmost urgency”. I also received an email from Feigen-Graf, a firm of solicitors in Germany, asking me to remove the articles about Mohsin Salya. Daily Mirror journalist Andrew Penman also wrote about Mohsin Salya, and received a letter from Cohen Davis Solicitors. After Mohsin Salya was sentenced to three years and three months in jail, Cohen Davis went “strangely quiet”, Penman writes.
5. Premier Group (Isle of Man) Ltd goes into liquidation. Inspector appointed to investigate Eco Resource Fund. What next for Troy Wiseman and EcoPlanet Bamboo?
12 January 2017
This is one of a series of posts about EcoPlanet Bamboo, a company that ran bamboo plantations in Nicaragua, South Africa and Ghana. The company was set up by Troy Wiseman. EcoPlanet Bamboo (UK) sold “bamboo bonds”, promising “a 500% return on investment over a 15 year period”. Needless to say, the returns never materialised. EcoPlanet Bamboo’s response to the series of posts on REDD-Monitor was to call me a “pseudo ‘writer’ and ex-conman”.
20 October 2017
The Nature Conservancy puts forward the argument that planting trees is the same as reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels. The argument relies on the scientific fraud that the carbon stored in forests, soil, and landscapes is climatically the same as the carbon stored underground in fossil fuels. While preserving forests is important for many reasons, to address climate change we have to find ways of leaving fossil fuels underground.
26 January 2017
The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is the keystone project of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, launched in 2009. The project has been on hold since August 2013, when the project developer, Blackstone Group’s Sithe Global, pulled out. Despite the uncertainty about the project, in January 2015 Norway transferred US$80 million to the Inter-American Development Bank as part of the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative’s US$250 million REDD deal with Guyana. As the money was not spent, it should have been returned to Norway at the end of 2016. Instead, Norway’s Ministry for Climate and Environment has extended the agreement with the IDB until December 2019.
12 May 2017
When Konrad Putzier, a journalist with the US property website The Real Deal, exposed the role of Renwick Haddow in Bar Works in January 2017, the company told him that Haddow was just a consultant to Bar Works, and that Haddow’s role had “diminished considerably” over the past six months. Bar Works was lying. In March 2017, Haddow signed a form filed with the Secretary of State for California. He signed the form as Chief Executive Officer of Bar Works Inc.
15 June 2017
This is one of a series of posts about Jack Kaye and his company, Thorn Medical. The company was supposedly planning a £350 million flotation in 2016. That didn’t happen. Thorn Medical was then supposed to list on the Nasdaq. That didn’t happen. Then Teknisity Inc bought a majority of shares in Thorn Medical. Teknisity Inc claimed to be planning a listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. No prizes for guessing that that didn’t happen either.
10. Alternative Investing with Heron Global Partners and Renwick Haddow: Inbound marketing is the new cold calling
18 February 2017
Heron Global Partners was one of the companies pushing investments in Bar Works in the UK. While the UK government made tentative moves towards banning cold calling in 2016 and 2017, the scammers have already moved on to new ways of contacting their victims: Inbound marketing. In a response to REDD-Monitor, the director of the company responsible for Heron Global Partners’ marketing campaign admitted that it was “potentially misleading” and that at least two of Heron Global Partners’ tweets were “a huge oversight and have now been removed”.