is the latest candidate for the award of Australian carbon cowboy of the year. He recently turned up in Peru and attempted to persuade the remote Matsés indigenous people to hand over the carbon rights to their forests. He promised to share 50% of the profits with the communities and told them that they would make billions of dollars, according to a report in the La Región newspaper.
Click here for the non-censored version of this post.
But has no experience of developing carbon projects or of forest conservation. He does seem to have a chequered past, to put it mildly. According to the 14 November 1996 Parliamentary Record of Queensland (pdf file 472.6 KB, see page 4195), he sold six non-existent plots of land in Queensland to people in Nauru (the world’s smallest island nation), for A$70,000 each. La Región also reports on alleged scams by in Malaysia and the Philippines.
presented a contract written in English to the Matsés. A Matsés representative explained to La Región that told them that “the World Bank and the UN only recognize the English language and the law of England and Wales for carbon projects.” The contract includes a clause making the contract secret and showing the agreement to others would be a “material breach.”
‘s company is called Carbon Sustainable Resources Limited, with an address in Hong Kong and a website “under development.” However, there is neither an office, nor anyone working there. Instead, has a “virtual office” contract with Servcorp to take phone messages for him.
From 25-29 April 2011, COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin), AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) and eight regional organisations, federations and representative communities of Amazonian indigenous peoples held a national workshop on “Climate Crisis, Redd+ and Indigenous Redd.” On 27 April 2011, they produced the “Declaración de Iquitos: No hay Redd+ sin Territorios, Derechos y Autonomía de los Pueblos Indígenas,” (pdf file 333.7 KB – in Spanish), signed by 22 organisations. The statement includes two paragraphs rejecting ‘s attempted deal with the Matsés people.
Below is a rough translation of a report about the meeting from AIDESEP’s website (the original in Spanish is here: “No hay Redd+ sin Territorios, Derechos y Autonomía de los Pueblos Indígenas” – thanks to Derek Wall for the translation – I got a bit more help with the two paragraphs about , in italics, which are extracted from the Declaration of Iquitos).
Below that is a translation of the article in La Región (the original in Spanish is here: “Piden que Defensoría del Pueblo investigue a presunto estafador de nacionalidad australiana“).
No Redd+ free Territories, Rights and Autonomy of Indigenous Peoples
AIDESEP, April 28, 2011.
Meeting in the city of Iquitos, eight regional organizations, including the federations of the Amazonian people gathered in AIDESEP and the solidarity of the CONACAMI, denounced the danger of catastrophe and destruction of the Amazon basin, expressed in the irregularity of the seasons, massive flooding, frequent droughts, disappearing rivers, species extinction, natural disasters, agricultural losses and increased disease.
The Apus meeting noted that there is a natural climate change, but the development model leads to global warming that generates gaseous pollutants from the industrialized countries and is exacerbated by deforestation, predation and pollution of local mining, monocultures, biofuel plantations, large hydro, and improper practices of subsistence.
The meeting called for the reduction of global warming gases, changing the lifestyle of the dominant economic and social system and stressed the historical ecological debt of a handful of powerful countries who use an average of 3.8 global hectares per capita for consumption while the majority survive in poverty using 1.4 Ha while recognizing the contribution of indigenous peoples to humanity to keep alive this planet for thousands of years and wants to destroy the last century.
They warned that the draft Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation – Redd + or the program of sustainable resource management, approved at the Cancun Summit of 2010 of the Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC is driven towards false solutions for global climate aggression, which will make speculative financial gains, but it will not prevent limit reaching the limit temperature rises to three degrees of temperature, where global climate and environmental disasters will be irreversible.
We condemn and reject the Hong Kong company SCRL (“Sustainable Carbon Resources Limited,” represented by the Australian national ) that is dividing and pressuring the Matsés indigenous people of Peru, to sign a business contract for carbon offsets, in which our brothers have 420,000 hectares of conserved forests, giving complete control to a company that has only $10,000 of capital, which ends up controlling the carbon, forests, intellectual property and the way of life of the Matsés people, and reveals his ulterior motives, by forcing them to sign a contract in English that is subject to English laws and courts, without a date of expiration, and he is threatening to press charges against all those who condemn this scam.
We demand the intervention of the public prosecutor’s office and the expulsion of this capitalist from Peru. This is an unscrupulous example of the “Redd bubble” similar to 100 other carbon projects involving scams worldwide (Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Congo, etc) and others who are trying to make contracts under false pretenses in the Madre de Dios, Amazon and San Martin regions of Peru, among others, where they run over the rights of indigenous peoples seeking to control the forest and carbon of indigenous territories, dividing our people with non-existent illusions of being millionaires; the promoters of Redd+ (the Peruvian Government, multilateral banks and the UN) have the duty to intervene and stop this “bubble” and scams such as the above example.
(Published on page 2 of the newspaper La Región, Monday, April 4, 2011)
Submitted by Region in NEWS, POLICE
Ask for the Office of the Defender of the People to investigate an alleged con man of Australian citizenship
-Members of the Movement in the Amazon for Tribal Subsistence and Economic Sustainability (MATSES)
-Individual wants them to sign documents which cede territory in order to sell overseas as carbon credits of conservation.
-Request that the Office of the Defender of the People provide a lawyer in order to look at the case directly.
By: Luz Marina Herrera.
Thus it was unveiled by the Matsés Chief of the community “Estirón” (District of Yaquerana – Colonia Angamos-frontier with Brazil) Daniel Jiménez Huamán, who along with a companion came to the local Office of the Defender of the People where they were greeted by Lisbeth Castro, who received all the documentation to be analyzed and investigated immediately.
“The man has had a meeting with a group of Matsés in Iquitos, has offered to provide for the education of the young people there for 15 years, training them and then they can take charge of the work that he now wants to do overseas. He said that we will sign documents for our territory in order that he can make sales through carbon credits that are interchanged for the amount of pollution that is sequestered by the zone offered.
What we have been able to investigate briefly is that he had problems in his country in a similar situation, therefore we now want for them to investigate him to find out if it is a true and formal offering or it is false and he wants to cheat the people and the country of Peru with the story about the environmental services because there are not any over there as it is the Ministry of the Environment who handles this issue,” said Daniel Jimenez.
Effectively, they have managed to make an extensive list for Office of the Defender of the People, which specify the following:
“He says he is seeking the environmental services and carbon credits for the Matsés Native Community. Two weeks ago the above-mentioned , brought the Chiefs of the 14 Matsés communities to Iquitos to give them a Power Point presentation about carbon. He said that he would share 50% of the profits saying that Matsés are going to win billions of dollars with him selling carbon certificates for them.
The 14 guests (Matsés chiefs) signed a document inviting to visit the Matsés Community on the April 15, 2011 to present its proposal to the community. Acquiring information about his past, we know that has never developed a carbon project and this concerns us. He has been a real estate broker from Australia and has a background making scams in other countries and then fleeing there. In a small district of the name Nauru (near Australia) was involved in a scam selling land without titles.
stole 420 thousand dollars and then 70 thousand dollars for 6 lots delivered to 6 potential victims, afterwards trying to hiding the fact, stating that the money was a loan and not profit. All this you can see on the page:
Likewise, we know about his alleged scam of the people from Malaysia, who he told that he had the support of the Government of Queensland. After those alleged scams he fled to other countries and is now in our Amazon and we fear that he wants to defraud us and thus the Peruvian State, therefore we ask for urgent research by the competent authorities,” write the Matsés.
In addition, they mentioned the names of Ike and Cecile Villanueva at
(phone: +61 7542-81998). Adding that they worked with in the Philippines seeking support for a project, who would have communicated to the Matsés by telephone that the mentioned person was a con man, even stealing the PowerPoint presentation on carbon which was made by Cecille and not by .
“Apparently, he is now deceiving the Matsés because the Contract which he has made and not yet signed, is written in English and said that it was necessary to have this agreement only under the law of England and Wales. Adding that the World Bank and the UN only recognize the English language and the law of England and Wales for carbon projects, but this is not the case. We believe that he wants it to be that way in order to mislead us and the Peruvians, because one can not easily read it and therefore not be able sue him.
Even in Clause 15.3 of the proposed Contract in English, it indicates that this agreement between him and the Matsés is a “SECRET” that belongs to him and if the Matsés show the agreement to others, it says that it would be a “material breach” and that Mr. may end the agreement at his choosing. He only wants an agreement with the Matsés to begin making his money with advanced sales of carbon certificates of the Matsés, as done in countries such as Nauru, the Philippines and Malaysia,” wrote the Matsés leader.
They add that some months ago made same proposal to the regional government, mentioning that he would give them 50% of the profits. But the regional government rejected his proposal, requesting 70% and that he show them the financial sources for the carbon project. , – according to the information – was unable to show where would get the money to start the project, thus ending the negotiations with Gorel, and starting with the Matsés Indians.
“After the investigation we know that there is no likelihood of success for the Matsés people and therefore the NGO-MATSES has withdrawn any support for , exposing the truth before the Office of the Defender of the People. About the exploitation of the indigenous people AIDESEP is already aware, who are taking immediate action to fully clarify the “audacity” of with the Matsés.
Also they found a document where it says that has a business (Carbon Sustainable Resources Limited in Hong Kong), but it is misleading because he has no office or any employee there. He has a “virtual office” (contracted with www.servcorp.net) to answer phones in Hong Kong – nothing more. If does not meet the agreement with Matsés, it would be impossible to make a complaint against his company over there because it does not live there and does not have an office in Hong Kong,” he explained to Office of the Defender of the People, asking for a lawyer to be present during the negotiations on April 15th with .
UPDATE – 3 May 2011: Clarification that the non-existent land that sold was in Queensland and the buyers were in Nauru.
UPDATE – 10 August 2011: This morning, REDD-Monitor received an email from its web hosting provider, bluehost.com, stating that they had received a “report of Terms of Service Violations”. Bluehost demanded that all images and references to the name of a certain “carbon cowboy”, who was recently reported to be operating in Peru, be removed from the website.
This seems to be a serious infringement on the right to freedom of expression. REDD-Monitor is currently discussing this issue with Bluehost.