By Chris Lang
In July 2016, Boniface Mburaburirwe wrote to REDD-Monitor, asking whether I (or anyone I knew) was interested in buying 345 million “certified carbon credits already invested on Bloomberg”. Mburaburirwe’s asking price was US$6.80 each.
The carbon credits were being sold by a company called MED Investment Operations Ltd, registered in April 2015 in Malta. The credits were supposedly generated from the D’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD project in Brazil. The project covers an area of 545,430 hectares in the state of Matto Grosso, and the carbon credits were generated in 2012.
A company called Midiageo Group Ltd was supposed to be the project developer, and current owner of the carbon credits. The project was validated and certified by InBECAS. But the validation produced by InBECAS is only 14 pages long and doesn’t even include a project description.
In 2016, REDD-Monitor wrote three posts about this shambles:
D’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD project
Despite the fact that this is supposedly a massive REDD project, covering a vast area, and apparently generating a huge number of carbon credits, very little has been written about the project. A search on Google reveals only nine links, three of which are to material provided by REDD-Monitor.
Since 2016, I’ve heard little about MED Investments or the D’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD project. Occasionally people contacted me to let me know that they’d been offered carbon credits from the project.
Then, on 4 March 2020, the D’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD project appeared once again, this time in a letter from a California law firm called Adriana’s Law:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am an attorney in good standing with the California State Bar, state bar number 265502, and In-House Counsel to SSO International Capital, PLC. SSO International Capital, PLC is located at 3rd Floor 207 Regents Street, London UK W1B 3HH and is incorporated under the laws of the United Kingdom.
I certify that SSO International Capital, PLC, has conveyed to LiveHope Fund 250,000,000 (two-hundred and fifty million) tons Projecto D Cerrado a’ Amazonia REDD Brasil (Brazil) voluntary carbon credits, which can be tradable, bankable, and can be used free and clear for company carbon offsets, at the discretion of the receiving entity. There are presently no liens or incumbrancers owed upon these aforementioned carbon credits, aside from those presently owed by SSO International Capital, PLC for the remaining purchase balance and project funding provided to Projecto D Cerrado a’ Amazonia REDD Brasil (Brazil).
These carbon credits are registered with the Imbecas Registry, a recognized registry in the country of Brazil. I confirm that I’ve reviewed the closing instructions from the Law Offices of Anna Krimshtein, PLC, the escrow attorney for Projecto D Cerrado a’ Amazonia REDD Brasil (Brazil) which authorizes change of ownership on the Imbecas Registry. Futhermore, SSO International Capital, PLC confirms that the carbon credits can be transferred in smaller lots than the total 250,000,000 (two-hundred and fifty million tons allotment. These carbon credits can be transferred from Imbecas to any other registry, at the receiving entity’s discretion.
Adriana’s Law, and SSO International Capital, PLC, are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.
We’ll look at each of the companies in this letter in turn.
SSO International Capital PLC
SSO International Capital PLC was registered in the UK on 21 February 2019. The company’s director is Joshua Wearmouth.
Wearmoth is also the CEO and founder of S.S.O. Global Group Inc., a company incorporated on 14 May 2018 in the state of Wyoming, USA. On 9 July 2019, S.S.O. Global Group’s status was changed to “Inactive – Administratively Dissolved (Tax)”.
According to its website, S.S.O. Global Group is “a holding company consisting of S.S.O. Capital, Inc., and SSO International Capital PLC, and Environmental Alliance LLC financial companies providing project funding, investment opportunities, and venture capital services”.
Environmental Alliance LLC is also a director of the London based company SSO International Capital PLC. On its website, S.S.O. Global Group explains that SSO International Capital “has focussed on the creation of debt instruments to raise capital funding for projects from urban communities to the Brazilian rain forest”.
Adriana Reza, the California-based lawyer, is on the board of S.S.O. Global Group.
“LiveHOPE is the LiveAID of the 21st Century.” That’s according to a press release put out by LiveHOPE Fund. The press release states:
The 2 billion people watching LiveHOPE will be enrolled in a new type of social network to take direct actions to restore the climate and to deal with the interconnected issues such as: the famine in the Horn of Africa, the 6th mass extinction, natural disasters, forest fires worldwide, deforestation, the decline in biodiversity, pollution, inequality, poverty, and the environmental destruction of Mother Earth, centered on fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the major initiatives planned is the “Plant 2 Trillion Trees Program” which can restore the climate, and reduce droughts, while simultaneously ending poverty worldwide.
This isn’t the first time that David Kam, the man behind LiveHOPE, has organised a concert. In 2010, Kam was one of the organisers of the Imagine Concert, which was going to be the largest concert in Toronto’s history. Until it was cancelled, that is.
In December 2012, the Canadian financial authority (Autorité des marchés financiers, AMF) prohibited two of Kam’s companies, E=MC2 Company Inc. and Pôle Nord de l’Amérique inc, from acting as securities advisers and to stop any activity in respect to a transaction of securities. Among Kam’s projects that were shut down was the creation of an alternative stock market, the Green Stock Exchange (greensx.com).
Kam says his name means, “The one to achieve greatness by healing the land.”
The Earth Dollar can restore the climate. This is done by building a new Living Economic System on the blockchain that generates new wealth by protecting the Earth and by restoring the climate.
It sounds wonderful, but as Zairah Khan points out in a post on Medium, the Earth Dollar leaves an awful lot of questions unanswered.
It would seem that the intention behind earth dollar is heart felt by at least some of its supporters if not all. But considering the level of scandal surrounding the founder and the level of uncertainty around the workings of the ‘mother earth trust’, it is my expectation that earth dollar will be shut down before David Kam can say ‘I will change the world.’
Anna Krimshtein PLC
Anna Krimshtein PLC is a law firm in Miami. According to Dun and Bradstreet the firm has two employees and generates US$130,814 per year.
GHG Emissions Corp.
Meanwhile, carbon credits from Projecto d’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD Brasil are listed on the website of a California-based company called GHG Emissions Corp.
According to the company’s website, “The GHG emission reductions registry provides a transparent and credible gistered listing of proects that reduce intensity based carbon footprints.” The website claims that the registry “is committed to ensure that all GHG projects in the database and the reductions, or removals, in the database are of high integrity and accuracy”.
Registering as an Account Holder on GHG Emissions Corp’s website is free. Here’s the list of carbon credits from the Projecto d’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD Brasil on the Registry for the years 2012 and 2013:
In total 345,366,961 carbon credits were transferred in both 2012 and 2013. That’s exactly how many Boniface Mburaburirwe was offering REDD-Monitor back in 2016.
In 2013, the vast majority of carbon credits from Projecto d’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD Brasil were transferred to a company called Brown Investment & Consultancy Pte Ltd, a company that was registered in Singapore on 9 November 2018.
On 29 December 2018, GHG Emissions Corp issued a series of “Offset Transfer Certificates” for transfers of 5 million “emission reduction offsets” to Brown Investment & Consultancy Pte Ltd:
A search on Open Corporates reveals no information about where GHG Emissions Corp. was registered or who is behind the company.
But the website was registered with GoDaddy in 2009, by Jack Holdsworth of Failsafe Canada. That’s the same name that signed off on GHG Emissions Cop’s “Offset Transfer Certificates”.
Holdsworth was President of a company called Failsafe Canada from 1994 to 2000, according to his LinkedIn profile:
In May 2012, someone set up a Twitter account called “The Carbon Store”. The Twitter page states that The Carbon Store “Supplies customers with GHG Emissions Corp quality carbon offsets” and a website at emissionsreductions.ca is listed.
An archived copy of the website is available here:
Down at the bottom right in the small print is a note that reads “Copyright 2011 Failsafe Canada Inc.”, Holdsworth’s company. Holdsworth is now running a company called Green Knight Environmental Inc. that offers to help organisations “go green with a profit”.
GHG Emissions Corp has three projects on its Carbon Credit Registry. In addition to 900 million carbon credits from Projecto d’Cerrado a’Amazonia REDD Brasil, are 1.46 million carbon credits from “Crop Residue Conversion GHG Reduction Projects”, and 932,708 carbon credits from “Summerfallow Conversion Project #1”:
To put this figure of 900 million carbon credits in some sort of context, its almost double the number of verified carbon units that certification firm Verra has certified.
Verra has certified a total of almost 463 million verified carbon units against its Verified Carbon Standard. And that’s from more than 1,200 projects.
RTD SPV1 LLC
In April 2018, when I previously looked at the GHG Emissions Corp. website, two “Transaction Certificates” from Midiageo Group were available on the database. They were both dated 20 April 2015, and stated that a Florida company called RTD SPV1 LLC had bought two lots of 345,366,961 carbon credits (2012 and 2013 vintage) at a price of just over US$1.5 billion each.
The Transaction Certificates are almost identical to the “Transaction Certificate” that REDD-Monitor posted in 2016. Except that that certificate showed that the carbon credits had been transferred to MED Investment Operations in Malta.
RTD SPV1 LLC was registered in Florida on 16 May 2017. Clicking on the “properties” of the pdf file of the Transaction Certificate shows that the pdf file was created on 22 May 2017 – making a mockery of the 20 April 2015 date on the certificate.
In any case, the company RTD SPV1 LLC was dissolved on 28 September 2018.
Timothy Hubman, the man behind RTD SPV1 LLC, has a colourful history.
In 2005, Hubman incorporated a company called Heavens Gate Hunger Relief Services, Inc. in Florida. On 11 April 2008, Hubman changed the name to Coexist Foundation, Inc.
On the same day, Hubman dissolved his company Hubman Foundation, after a federal court in Virginia determined that the Hubman Foundation was not a charity, but a sham designed to insulate Hubman from his debts and obligation. The court also found that Hubman had engaged in “fraudulent conduct, intentional deceptive and misleading actions, and outright lies”.
Hubman persuaded Shannon Stewart, retired baseball player, that Coexist Foundation, Inc. was a charitable foundation. Stewart’s father, who managed Shannon’s finances, gave Coexist a donation of US$2 million. Hubman told him this was a “conditional donation” that would be returned in a few months. Instead of returning the money, Hubman invested the money via a colleague in Assured Capital, which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.
In August 2017, a judge noted that Hubman was “a self-described ‘con man’ who claims to be reformed”, and added that, “it is doubtful that he is truly reformed”.
Until recently, Midiageo’s website featured the following pop-up notice:
The following people and companies are not the owners, and have never been owners of Carbon Credits MIDIAGEO ESC, cannot in any way trade our green bonds: David Lott, Tim Hubman, Roger Greenleaf, RTD SPV1 LLC and / or GREEN HOUS GAS EMISSIONS GROUP (GHG).
We also inform you, the contracts of old between MIDIAGEO and MED INVESTMENT OPERATIONS LTD have expired, making it impossible for any other intermediary of this contract to continue negotiations, such as SUNCORP CREDIT. If you have an ongoing contract, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are available so that all customers and partners can continue their purchases and offset greenhouse gas emissions with ESC MIDIAGEO credits, even if some sellers leave the company.
MIDIAGEO GRUPO LTDA
CEO – Anderson de O. Alexandre
The notice was available until at least 18 May 2020 – this is an archived copy of Google’s cache on that date:
Brazil Mata Viva
One more curiosity to end this part of this increasingly strange story. Three companies are listed on GHG Emissions Corp’s Carbon Credit Registry with the website www.brazilmataviva.br:
Brazil Mata Viva has appeared a few times on REDD-Monitor. In June 2012, a London-based company called Carvier Limited was advertising 3 million “Sustainability Credit Units” from an area of forest in Brazil. The “Sustainability Credit Units” were certified against Brazil Mata Viva’s standard.
In 2013, Carvier Limited was shut down following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
In 2015, the directors Barinua Carr Nwikpo, John Ekpobari Nwikpo and Daniel Nwikpo were banned for being directors of companies in the UK for 14 years. Carvier Limited was part of a land banking and carbon credit scam. Another man, Bradley Peter Ferry, who was a director of one of the companies involved in the scam, Tullet Brown, was also banned for 14 years for his role as “a salesman who acted on the instructions of the Nwikpo brothers”.
In 2018, Brazil Mata Viva claimed to have guaranteed the protection of 500,000 hectares of native forest and generated 1 billion forest credits.