By Chris Lang
Since May 2012, REDD-Monitor has reported on investment scams mainly involving the sale of worthless carbon credits to retail investors. In October 2014, a review of REDD-Monitor appeared on the website Pissed Consumer. The review almost certainly came from one of the scammers.
Occasionally, people send me links to the reviews on Pissed Consumer (there are now nine of them). The people sending these links are almost always scammers, and I’ve taken the reviews as a badge of honour – a clear sign that exposing the scammers is working.
Recently, someone who really should have known better (and almost certainly isn’t a scammer) asked me about some of the claims that appear on Pissed Consumer and some others that have appeared elsewhere.
So, for the record, here is my response. And if there’s a lawyer out there who fancies getting Pissed Consumer to take down the reviews of REDD-Monitor (preferably pro bono) please get in touch with REDD-Monitor.
Claim 1: REDD-Monitor is “on a witch hunt about legitimate companies only the truth is they are his competitors”.
REDD-Monitor is a website that was set up in 2008 to look into REDD – the scheme to offset emissions from burning fossil fuel against “avoided deforestation” in the Global South. One of the most serious problems with REDD is that it is a carbon market mechanism. As such it is a dangerous distraction from the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
On 8 May 2012, I wrote a post about a warning from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) about the dangers of investors being duped by scam companies selling carbon credits as investments. This led to a series of posts looking into companies that scamming retail investors into buying carbon credits for hugely inflated prices.
In total, there are more than 2,192 posts on REDD-Monitor, of which 232 are about investment scams and the companies behind them.
Claim 2: REDD-Monitor “is selling forest investment through his complaints website to investors that complain. He gets friendly with them pretend to help and turns them into his scam of a investment which investors never see any money. He is so bold and confidant that he asks for donations on his website then hits them for the big money after a few weeks.”
REDD-Monitor has never offered investment advice (apart from the advice not to hand over money to recovery room scammers). REDD-Monitor has never taken money from anyone for any investments of any sort.
REDD-Monitor has a Flattr account, which raised the grand total of $25.08. It’s been stuck on that amount for the past three years. This is currently the only way that individuals can support REDD-Monitor (although I’ve been considering setting up a Patreon account for a while). REDD-Monitor’s funding sources are listed in full on the “About” page of the website.
Claim 3: REDD-Monitor “is not factual and is never backed up with real evidence”.
The number of companies that REDD-Monitor has written about that have subsequently been shut down by the Insolvency Service (or other regulatory bodies) reveals that this claim is simply not true.
A good example is this post from October 2014 about a company called Eco Business Management, and some related companies. In March 2015, the company was closed down in the High Court for misleading investors.
In fact, all of the posts about investment scams include links to other sources of information that back up the argument that these are scam companies.
Claim 4: “Most of the blogs on there is actually him with bogus names.”
I assume that “blogs” refers to the comments following the posts on REDD-Monitor. In total, there are more than 10,200 comments on REDD-Monitor, of which I have written 937. I have never posted a comment under a false name.
Claim 5: Chris Lang “uses money to keep his lavish lifestyle with holiday homes across the world.”
While I have a comfortable lifestyle, I doubt that anyone who knows me would describe it as “lavish”. I do not own a car, do not fly, and I’m vegan. Obviously, I do not own any holiday homes anywhere in the world.
Claim 6: Chris Lang is “wanted by Interpol for fraud with forest investments”. Chris Lang is “wanted by the police in two different countries for scams to do with forest investment”.
I am not wanted for fraud, or for anything else, by the police in any country. Neither am I wanted by Interpol.
Claim 7: “I use to work for Chris Lang in Jakarta, we use to target the UK. He had lots of database of people over the age of 55.”
I have never employed anyone to “target the UK”. I have no database of people over the age of 55. Neither do I have databases under the age of 55, or over 65, 75, or 85.
Claim 8: “Relying on actual facts isn’t something the website owner and wannabe journalist is known to do very frequently. On the contrary, it’s something that he does so infrequently that he’s been threatened with lawsuits in the past for his carelessness with real facts and the resulting defamation.”
REDD-Monitor has been threatened with lawsuits several times. In each case the threat came from a company running an investment scam. Most of the threats came from the scammers themselves (some of whom subsequently ended up serving jail sentences). And none of the threats have ever progressed further than a letter from a firm of solicitors.
Claim 9: Chris Lang had a “short-lived career in architecture – which was a failure”.
After qualifying as an architect, I worked for four years as an architect. My last job as an architect was with Sheppard Robson. I left the firm to travel around Southeast Asia for a year. When I returned to the UK, several of my friends had become eco-warriors.
Claim 10: Chris Lang has an “arrest record in the UK” has been sued by the government, and is unable to travel to the UK.
This claim is partly based on truth. Here’s where that came from:
I got involved with the anti-road campaign at Twyford Down. I was arrested several times for protesting against the destruction of two Sites of Special Scientific Interest. I was one of the 70-odd protesters, who were sued by the government for £1 million. The government lost the case, I’m delighted to say.
However, I can travel to the UK.
Claim 11: Chris Lang “set up a series of websites targeting different sectors of the forest industry. Each one gets shut down sooner or later for fraud or misrepresentation.”
Over the years, I have set up the following websites:
- FSC-Watch: In October 2006, I was part of a small group that set up FSC-Watch to monitor “the constant and serious erosion of the FSC’s reliability and thus credibility”. FSC-Watch has not been shut down.
- Pulp Inc: I set up this website in July 2006, to collect notes and articles about the pulp and paper industry. At the time I was working on a campaign against industrial tree plantations with the World Rainforest Movement. Pulp Inc has not been shut down.
- chrislang.org: I set up this website up in March 2007 to collect the articles and reports I’d written since 1999. The website has not been shut down.
- REDD-Monitor: I set up REDD-Monitor in October 2008. REDD-Monitor has not been shut down.
- Conservation-Watch: In August 2016, I started work on a website called Conservation Watch looking at conservation and human rights. Funding for the website ran out in December 2018. A back-up of the website is available here, and I’ve continued to work on the topic on REDD-Monitor.
Claim 12: Chris Lang was involved in a theft from Balfour Beatty.
In 2012, a part-time fire fighter called Christopher Lang was sentenced to 12 months in jail suspended for two years for a wages scam in the UK. But that wasn’t me. I’ve never been a part-time fireman. I’ve never lived in Saxilby. I haven’t lived in the UK for more than 20 years (although I have visited from time to time, see above).