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Advanced Global Trading: Another boiler room scam? Or a Ponzi scheme? Or both?

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Advanced Global Trading sells voluntary carbon credits to members of the public as an investment. The company’s brokers cold call people and attempt to persuade them to invest. “For a minimum investment of $25K you too can invest in Carbon and make a difference,” the company states on its website.

AGT also sends out SMS messages to potential clients, like this one: “Invest in carbon credits and earn up to 30% per annum.” David Armstrong, is a senior broker at AGT. On his LinkedIn page Armstrong explains that his clients, who are “medium/high net worth individuals in the Middle East”, have made “an average of 24% ROI year on year for the last 3 years”.


UPDATE – 21 May 2013: Ian Hainey, AGT’s PR Director responded to this post, here.


Advanced Global Trading was established in 2010. The company’s headquarters is in Dubai. AGT claims to employ 100 people and “is on track to achieve its goal of 14 offices worldwide by the end of 2015”. In addition to selling voluntary carbon credits, the company is the Lotus Formula 1 Team CO2 neutral partner.

The company’s director is Charles Stephenson. In an interview in September 2011, Stephenson explained why he likes to invest in carbon credits:

“The potential to make money in this commodity is huge and I practise what I preach. It’s a commodity that never goes down and the market is set to double or even quadruple. It’s also an added bonus that I know investing in carbon credits goes some way to help the environment along the way.”

Later in the interview Stephenson said, “I’m currently looking at buying a new Ferrari that I’ve had my eye on for a while.”

Advanced Global Trading has its roots in the UK. In the September 2011 interview, Stephenson said that AGT opened a London office in July 2010. It then expanded to “three offices in the UK, a Dubai office, an office in Zurich and more opening in America”.

Several companies are registered in the UK under the name Advance Global Trading, or variations of it. Advanced Global Trading, was founded July 2010. Its registered office was 33 St James’ Square and its director was Fred Cartwright. The company is now dissolved.

Another company, Advanced Global Trading (UK & Ireland) was established in October 2011 with a registered office in Manchester. The company is now dissolved.

AGT is one of the companies on Gemmax Solutions’ list of companies for which Gemmax provides clearing and settlement services. These services were previously offered by Carbon Neutral Investments (which was previously called AGT Investments Ltd and in April 2013 changed its name yet again, to Opus Capital). Another company, CNI Clearing Ltd was previously called Advanced Global Trading Clearing Ltd. Paul Seakens is director of Opus Capital (previously called Carbon Neutral Investments) and CNI Clearing Ltd. Both companies share the same address.

AGT calls its voluntary carbon credits ETPs, or “Emmissions Trading Permits”. Here‘s how AGT explains what an ETP is:

These certificates are given to organisations around the world that either create projects to clean up the environment – measured by the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they reduce in the atmosphere – or clean up their own organisation, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. For each tonne of carbon dioxide (the major GHG) emission, the entity receives a emission trading permit (ETP), which they can sell either immediately or through a futures market, just like any other commodity.

AGT describes two ETP markets: compliance and verified. In fact, AGT only sells VERs – voluntary carbon credits. Of course, AGT claims that people who have invested in voluntary carbon credits through AGT are delighted with the results:

And investors who have purchased ETPs over the past few years have certainly been smiling about their returns, with a recent report from the World Bank showing the market is up 11 per cent already on 2012. Holders of ETPs last year saw their investment increase in value by 30.2 per cent in 2011, with 2010’s investors making over 22 per cent; and with companies and governments continuing to turn to emissions trading as a tool for fighting climate change, demand continues to outstrip demand.

Demand outstrips demand, eh? OK, that’s probably a typo. But there’s no link to the World Bank report. Or any evidence for the claims that buyers of voluntary carbon credits saw their “investment” increase in value by 30.2% in 2011.

Last year, AGT argued that carbon was a better investment than gold. Franklin Connellan, head of investments at AGT, said,

“Gold as a commodity is very, very similar to carbon as a commodity. They are also both tradable commodities, which is important to know. The only real difference is that gold itself is exchange traded, so it’s affected by economies of the world, natural disasters, wars, for example. The beauty of the carbon market is that it is only driven by supply and demand. OK? And this is why the market has risen 960,000% since its inception in 2005. The World Bank puts that a record level of US$176 billion. And this is why carbon is now known as the new safe haven…. Over the last 12 months, carbon has seen a return of over 22%. Over the last 18 months a phenomenal 41%. We can comfortably predict that the price will increase by a further 15 to 20% by the end of the year.”

What price do AGT’s brokers charge for their voluntary carbon credits? In January 2013, Pete Barnes commented on REDD-monitor that “Advanced Global Trading are charging US$14.97 per credit.” In March 2013, Julius Cobbett, a South African journalist, reported that AGT offered him voluntary carbon credits at US$15.47 per ton.

These prices are pretty high. Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported in their State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2012 that the average price for VERs in 2011 was US$6.2/tCO2e, up from US$6/tCO2e in 2010. The range of prices was “from less than $.1/tCO2e to over $100/tCO2e in 2011”. Cobbett points out that AGT doesn’t usually let clients choose the specific projects that their VERs come from (meaning that clients don’t know beforehand whether AGT is selling VERs from large projects in China or India that are worth very little).

But unlike many companies that sell voluntary carbon credits as investments, AGT also offers a way of selling them, via its “Trading Platform”. Using this, AGT’s clients can see AGT’s current price and can buy and sell voluntary carbon credits 24 hours a day. AGT even offers an iPhone APP:

How can AGT offer this service? Simple. The carbon price on AGT’s Trading Platform is not based on the price that other companies sell VERs. It is based on the price that AGT’s brokers can sell VERs to new customers. And that price keeps going up, as shown by this graph in an AGT publication dated November 2012 (page 58):

Let’s ignore the fact that there are no units on the Y axis, the price. That doesn’t really matter, as long as the price keeps increasing. As long as AGT brokers can sell VERs at ever increasing prices to new clients, AGT stays in business. As long as all their clients don’t want to sell their VERs at the same time.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission describes a Ponzi scheme as follows:

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity.


PHOTO Credit: AGT, Flickr.
 

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192 Comments

  1. I used to work at AGT, the whole business is a complete and utter scam! There are over 100 clients unable to get there initial investment back. There are no facts to the eveidence they sell. They inflate the price of there own stock. It is a true boiler room company. They even have a picture on the door saying no sales people beyond this point. There is no real market price for ETP’s and even the organisation that registers the permits that AGT sells states clearly in black and white DO NOT BUY these as an individual investor. http://www.vcsregistry.com/what-are-vcus.htm
    The reason FB has so many likes is because they hire (even though they say on the website he’s a director Ian Hainey for his Social media skills. Its rather interesting that none of the directors are on LinkedIn either. Odd?! I think so.

    this business must close, it is corrupt, people are losing money.

  2. Starting to see where this is going? AGT has a Wikipedia page -it’s here and astonishing!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

    The VCS REGISTRY (The Worlds largest registry of Carbon Permits used to fund legitimate Green initiatives such as Wind Farms, Solar Farms etc that actually help the planet http://www.vcsregistry.com/what-are-vcus.htm States clearly on their website that they Strongly believe VCU’s (Carbon permits) are NOT for individual investors and should only be purchased with registered authorities. AGT are not registered with any authority.

    Carbon Trade Exchange quotes as of May 2013 that a VCS (verified carbon standard another word for a credit) is at around $1.15 …..AGT are cold calling people quoting that the ‘market price’ is $15+ and on the rise to $20 in the next 12 months. ‘Mr Investor that’s a great return and will see you 20%+ increase on your investment’ This is absolute rubbish. There is no quoted ‘market price’ for these credits apart from the one’s these sales guys are misleading investors to buy at. They have created a make believe market based on the Ponzi Scheme above! http://carbontradexchange.com/products/verified-emission-reduction-vers This is misleading, this is unlawful and immoral.

    IT GETS BETTER!

    The Sales team (95% of the companies 30-40 employees, not the 100-150 it says it has) tell potential investors that the product is ratified but the Verified Carbon Standard (a legitimate body that was born out of the World Economic Forum) who on their own website, when you look into it, strongly advises any purchase of ETP’s are to be bought by companies that have been APPROVED by the International Carbon Reduction Alliance and when you go to their website they state very clearly that individual investors SHOULD NOT PURCHASE Carbon Units from the Verified Carbon Standard! That’s probably why AGT are not accredited by them, funny that! http://www.icroa.org/39/market-developments/

    What does the worlds most respected Financial Authority say about Carbon Credits or the new phrase dreamed up by AGT;s Creative Director Ian Hainey, ETP’s (just like the singer Prince renaming himself. Same singer different name. Dont be fooled by a play on words) http://www.fsa.gov.uk/consumerinformation/scamsandswindles/investment_scams/carbon_credit/trading-schemes

  3. As a former high level executive with the company I can verify all comments above – Clients are promised extremely fast liquidation periods (48 hours – 1 week) as one of the many ‘sales’ tools to hook prospective investors however when liquidation request is made, money never materializes. Some investors have been waiting well over 20 weeks now and STILL have not received their money back! And the worst part about it is the laws of the UAE enable AGT to continue running operations as usual. They are allowed to continue accepting new money from clients without having to return any and the only viable legal route is a civil case which will take well over a year with minimal probability of winning solely for the fact they hide behind a very vague terms and conditions which is all the courts look at, and AGT management knows this. Ever wonder why the England offices closed?? Because authorities there were catching on and something like this would not fly as easily in such a country as it does in UAE where their head office (and only office!) is located. Interpol is required in this case immediately.

  4. I also cannot get my funds out of this company. I have reported them to Interpol, UAE Authorities and inshallah serious action will be taken against this company for misleading me and it appears thousands of other people. Lotus should remove AGT immediately from its sponsorship as it is ruining their reputation.

  5. I asked the same question about the growth chart they presented me! What’s its source and the bottom axis, they said it was done by one of their chief economists, I looked into this further as I was going to invest 5 figures and saw all the signs not to purchase Voluntary Emission trading permits ETP’s They are for companies wanting to purchase them voluntary to offset their emissions, that is it. There is more than enough supply to meet demand. Just go try purchase a Permit yourself from on the many registries to realise this. Do not be fooled by these pitches.

  6. Finally there is a platform to voice my concerns about this bogus company. I get called every 3-4 months with someone trying to sell me these credits. The sales people are so pushy its scary. I went to there offices and met with the sales guys. Complete rogue traders. I cannot believe this company is still able to trade. Dubai Authorities should look into this immediately.

  7. Thank you Chris for shedding some spot light on this unmoral organisation! My brother was approached via a cold call to invest into this business and came to me for advice. I spoke to some friends who had also been cold called and ran a mile away from this investment once they got chance to meet the boiler room sales people that you meet at the smoke and mirrors office at Emaar Square. They play on some idelogical make believe supply and Demand market for trading permits quoting a lack of green projects vs the demand for offsetting. It’s utter fabrication. Want to buy some ETP’s go http://www.markit.com/en/products/environmental/markit-environmental-registry.page and buy them at their REAL price and see your investment go no where. As the users mentioned above, all the differing agencies clearly state this is not an investment vehicle for individuals like us. Want something unregulated, go buy property or a time share not this load of rubbish!
    UAE Authorities have to do something about this and urgently, its an unsavory organisation ran by modern day thief’s!

  8. The closest out there, right now, to a trading platform for voluntary carbon credits is Carbon Trade Exchange (http://carbontradexchange.com). If you want to know what voluntary carbon credits are “worth” this is probably the best place to look. Their business model, as far as I can see, is not predicated on the price being paid for credits, they merely charge buyers and sellers fees to use the platform. And prices being asked for VCS carbon credits DO vary wildly, depending on location, type of project, vintage, etc. Last week they emailed me with details of 5 projects, the carbon credit prices ranging from $1.50 (India Wind Farms) to $11.25 (Kenya REDD). The question I would pose is why would any offsetter buy their credits from an individual who’d paid c.$15 for them when they can buy directly and, probably, at a much, much lower price?

  9. As anybody actually walked away from this scheme having made money?! I actually live in Johannesburg and went to see if their South African office exists and there’s nothing there but a few resident apartments. I have a friend in Zurich who i asked to dig around and she found nothing either towards Advanced Global trading. INVESTORS BE WARE KEEP WELL AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY

  10. They are now saying the market is about to crash to $3/ton and to transfer from VCU to SEM plus invest an extra $15k….im starting to get a very bad feeling about this bunch.

  11. I have also been contacted by AGT today to advise of the voluntary carbon market crash to USD 3/ton and offered to switch to SEM for an additional USD 15K. Apparently the crash is caused by a UK firm going into liquidation and flooding the market – seems bizarre for a multi billion dollar market can be felled by one company. The SEM trade is based on a high net worth individual who wishes to sell his SEM position into carbon at the current price in order to make a tax loss.

    Conveniently this high net worth individual has USD 15K more than I have invested in carbon hence the additional USD 15K for a single trade to switch. When asked why AGT couldn’t find another seller with USD 15K and complete the trade I was told it had to be a single trade. Utter nonsense! This is misselling at best and fraudulent at worst.

    I though that AGT was a breath of fresh air in Dubai after all of these years of suffering incompetent IFA’s peddling worthless insurance products. Now I am beginning to realise that I may have just bought worthless polluted air and that AGT may well be worse than their IFA cousins.

    Please post similar experiences to ensure that we don’t all get misled again with the USD15K scam. I suspect these AGT guys are back on the plane to UK now drinking Moet Chandon and flying first class Emirates (another company they suckered into buying voluntary carbon).

    I trust that Lotus, Emirates, Etihad and General Motors will all take action since their good names have been used to make sales for AGT.

  12. Gentlemen – with a number of similar organisations going under in the UK it is indeed concerning. Can someone from AGT come out with some answers. I will be taking legal counsel in the morning and hopefully they can be stopped prior to leaving DXB if there is any truth to this or picked up on arrival to the UK.

    Yours
    Henry

  13. I have traded a few times with AGT and have found them to act professional and knowledgeable on the carbon market. I have sold my positions for a profit on the AGT platform and did a lot of research on AGT prior to the trade.

    There seems to be a lot of “anonymous” posts on here from people who are not happy with AGT as it is a “boiler room” or a “ponzi scheme” all i can say is this is the first “boiler room” I have seen that only conducts sales to clients face to face and NOT over the phone.

    I’m also not sure of the allegations of a “ponzi scheme”, investors are buying a commodity/asset at the end of the day….

    It is also interesting to note that as far as I can see from the original posting and the follow up posting below, Chris Lang did not contact AGT for comments or with questions either before or after the original post as he has done with almost every other company he has written about such as VCS themselves (the credits AGT sells)

    http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/05/20/why-doesnt-vcs-warn-against-buying-carbon-credits-as-an-investment/

    Finally, rather than post AGT’s response to the original post in the same thread, it has been posted here

    http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/05/21/response-from-advanced-global-trading-we-can-only-hope-that-you-amend-the-title-and-the-last-paragraph-of-your-article/

    All very strange to me……….I would question if any of these posts are actually genuine?!

  14. I have just posted a balanced post on AGT based on my actual experiences of the company and the post has somehow been deleted? ARe only NEGATIVE posts on AGT allowed on this site?

  15. Yes, sure. I didn’t get any sort of cold call or in fact any call at all, I saw AGT’s promotional stand in mall of emirates which is one of the luxury shopping malls in Dubai and I got chatting to one of the guys on the stand about who AGT were and what they do.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/advancedglobaltrading/7772084582/in/photostream/

    I booked an appointment on the stand to visit AGTs offices in Emaar Square, Dubai which is the main financial district where HSBC and Barclays are located. Very good office setup, and met with another AGT representative who spent about 90 minutes with me explaining the market, platform etc. There was no pressure to buy during this meeting which was quite unique when you get used to local UAE banks trying to sell you products!

    I went away and did as much research as I could on the market and different brokers operating in the market and found AGT to be completely different, they were the only broker i could find that had details of there management team on the website, the only broker who seemed to have anything of substance with press releases, corporate offset deals etc and the only broker I could find that had a platform to sell credits on….

    They have a minimum investment amount so they are only dealing with professional investors which I also liked.

    I have also attended a couple of corporate events with AGT, one was a rugby event and the other was the Abu Dhabi F1, great day out!! AGT took about 150 clients along and we had full paddock passes and got to meet Sir Jackie Stewart and Kimi Raikkonen

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebadvancedglobaltrading/agt/prweb10230689.htm

    I went through all of there informational videos on the AGT website and couldn’t find anything similar on any other brokers website or even any pictures of “real people” who worked for the other brokers!!

    I actually purchased VCS carbon credits, the trade went through very well and I was allocated an account manager. I also got a weekly email of carbon market news.

    When i wanted to sell my credits, I went on the AGT platform and placed them for sale and it took about 3 weeks to receive the paperwork and get the funds paid into my bank account.

    There seems to be a lot of drama on the posts but AGT are still operating business as usual, I know this as I called them today, one thing they did say is that liquidity has been very poor recently and they are expecting the market to correct itself, apparently there are thousands of people who no longer have a broker and don’t know how or where to sell there credits…..

    Personally I will wait to see how the price works out but may buy again once this has happened…

    Just my thoughts and genuine experiences with detail which seems to be more than most of the negative posts…

  16. I will leave readers to make there own minds up, if a client with a positive experience is damage control for AGT then so be it but the facts are all correct with links to pictures etc to prove it, how do we know any of these people are real people or actually worked for AGT, AGT state that they have no record of the pervious employees working for them…. I know in the UAE everyone has to have a work visa, police record check, medical etc so it wouldn’t be too hard to prove if someone did or didn’t work for AGT….

    In terms of financial investment company or institution being asked questions, I don’t know many that HAVENT!!

    Like Barclays (energy price fixing), HSBC (money laundering), Standard Chartered (money laundering)

  17. From various reliable sources I can confirm the apparent ‘crash’ is solely due to the increased public/media attention in regards to the true nature of the company. Obviously if mass liquidations happen, a ponzi scheme cannot continue to function, hence a make believe story of a sudden ‘crash’ is imminent.

    DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT reinvest in this apparent SEM investment, as it is another fabrication and last minute effort to take more money before potentially disappearing (the high net worth individual they are talking about? He is a friend/partner of AGT – This is confirmed!). If they cannot liquidate clients funds, the core function of a brokerage as they so claim to be, how do you expect they do any different in another investment? Legal action / Interpol / police are needed immediately as I am afraid unless it is done soon, they and all clients investment will soon disappear

  18. @Paul Summers

    Can you elaborate on the research that you did with respect to this market please, and details of the investments that you made. A few photos of AGT’s stand in a shopping mall does not prove anything. Neither is the fact that this company has pictures of its employees on its website, or press releases about supposed “offsetting” for corporate clients, or being able to blag your way in to a Formula One corporate event. A bit of money will get you a pass almost anywhere, and Sir Jackie Stewart and Kimi Raikkonen are hardly likely to be familiar with the voluntary carbon credit “market”.

  19. Fair points Junk although the F1 bit is rather more than just blagging and/or buying passes. Isn’t AGT a sponsor of the Lotus F1 Team?

  20. @Paul Summers: if you did manage to sell your credits for a profit, this isn’t inconsistent with the possibility that this is a ponzi scheme – you may just have been lucky in your timing. If these are genuine investments that are actually worth something, then where is the thriving secondary market? Also, can you give further details of the types of credit that you sold and the research that you did please?

  21. @Paul Summers – If you could share the research you carried out into AGT before trading with them, I’m sure that would be very helpful.

    It’s true that people are buying a commodity from AGT. But at the end of the day, that commodity is worth way less than AGT is charging for it. Ponzi schemes work fine, until they collapse.

    I’ve put in a link to AGT’s response to this post as an update – I posted the response as a separate post because that way more people get to see it.

  22. Gents;
    Unfortunately I am in the same boat as most of the people on here. I too have invested a significant amount into VCS/VER’s over the past 2 years. And now I get a call from a “Brian” that is strong-arming me into switching out for SEM’s – including a ++ (as all of you).
    – When confronted about having to switch exact amounts, and finding other investors – he said he has “no time” to be calling everyone. So I should take it or leave it. Period.
    – When asked about why investors would want to get IN carbón now, since its crashing, he gave me some US tax reasoning.
    – Many more questions were either shifted aside or not convincing to me in their answer.

    Yes, I am worried, extremely. But I am also researching on here (and other sites) to find a SOLUTION, not complain for the sake of it. I need to know what – if anything can be done to retrieve the money (original at least). Do any of you know EXPERTS in this field to see what their view is? Their future predictions of the market? Do we asume losses? Wait a few years to see this business corrected?

    Paul is right on a few things.. AGT is jumping through TOO many hopos (fake or not) to try and get this to work. I am still concerned but I may be gullable where I have 5% hope inside me that they-too may have been caught offguard? Is it not time to reach out to the CEO himself and get him to clarify (publically) whats going on?

    UAE laws are vague and unfortunately cannot be focused on for strict punishment. But what about the other laws?

    Please pull up your original contracts with AGT and figure out where your credits are – and maybe approach this in a reverse manner where we stop it at the source (?).. assuming its not in someones pocket already!

    Sorry for the mixed feelings, but I need constructive advice for current investors.. not assumptions or warnings for new ones – or wishing pólice gets involved. Lets try and get our money back!

  23. I feel that Paul Summers is PR damage control for AGT, possibly an alias for Ian Hainey or another AGT executive…If we look at the facts, numerous posters/comments from different people have been from either ex AGT staff or current/past clients with negative experiences, some even in the position where he has not received his funds yet as many others.

    Any financial investment company or institution that has such questions asked, true or untrue, the fact that they may be possibilities and even asked in the first place is one to stay clear of

  24. Recent video clip added to AGT website from Steven Summers (Senior Investment Consultant) – any connection? Many of the other video clips fronted by Franklin Connellan (Head of Investments) and Leona Curtis Oliver (Group Marketing Director), both listed on Linkedin as having left AGT recently. Mmmmmmmm…….

  25. I agree with Skanzo in that nobody from redd-monitor has seemingly bothered to contact AGT and ask them anything?!

    AGT state in there letter here

    http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/05/21/response-from-advanced-global-trading-we-can-only-hope-that-you-amend-the-title-and-the-last-paragraph-of-your-article/

    that they are represented by Baker McKenzie, Baker McKenzie are the worlds largest law firm and generally don’t get involved with boiler rooms or ponzi schemes…. AGT state:

    “best practices and self-regulatory framework which AGT has developed with its legal counsel in Dubai and in the United States. In the USA, AGT is represented by the head of carbon markets (based in Chicago) at the leading international law firm of Baker McKenzie. This framework has been presented to various participants in the voluntary carbon market, including The Gold Standard, VCS, Markit and NYSE Blue (APX) in an effort to establish it as the industry standard for the buying and selling of Carbon Credits at the retail level. AGT considers its business model and practices as industry leading and best practices which are highlighted in the framework.”

    this must be either true or false, has anybody bothered asking AGT?!

    Chris, I have no problem providing further information but again why not contact AGT and ask them? You seem to have written your original post with a preconceived idea of some conspiracy AGT are allegedly up to without contacting them…. to me this makes no sense, most of the other “boiler rooms” you have written about have looked pretty “paper thin” on the face of it, but AGT openly invited you to there head office in there letter?!

  26. Anyone can employ a big law firm Mr Summers – it’s really just a case of being able to pay their bills! And selling credits at c.$15 a time I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Do agree, though, that REDD Monitor should take up AGT’s offer and engage directly.

  27. @Paul Summers

    Can you elaborate on the research that you did with respect to this market please, and details of the investments that you made. A few photos of AGT’s stand in a shopping mall does not prove anything. Neither is the fact that this company has pictures of its employees on its website, or press releases about supposed “offsetting” for corporate clients, or being able to blag your way in to a Formula One corporate event. A bit of money will get you a pass almost anywhere, and Sir Jackie Stewart and Kimi Raikkonen are hardly likely to be familiar with the voluntary carbon credit “market”.

  28. @Paul Summers – I think it might help if you could provide a few more details. When did you see the AGT stand? When did you buy the carbon credits? How much did you pay (per credit)? Which projects generated the carbon credits? What was the vintage of the carbon credits? When did you sell the carbon credits? How much did you sell them for (per credit)?

    Between January and November 2012, the price of carbon credits on AGT’s Trading Platform went up and up. In 2011, Charles Stephenson said “It’s a commodity that never goes down.” Why would the fact that there are now thousands of people without a broker affect the price of carbon credits on AGT’s Trading Platform?

  29. What evidence of ownership do you hold Shanzo? Which registry are they with, which VCS project did they come from, what are their serial numbers? Sorry to say this but I think it is extremely unlikely anyone will buy your credits (assuming you can prove ownership) at anything like the price you paid to AGT. Have a look on the Carbon Trade Exchange website for a good guide to the prices offsetters are being asked to pay for VCS credits.

  30. @Paul Summers – why would a genuinely satisfied customer be interested in which law firm AGT is represented by? If you are in fact doing PR damage control for AGT I don’t think you are doing a very good job.

  31. Paul Summers. I have no doubt you are somehow related to AGT.

  32. I have now received the trade papers from AGT to sell my carbon in exchange for SEM and a fee of USD 15K to be paid within 72 hrs to pay. Pressure tactics indeed from a company clearly in quite a mess and with no coherent or sustainable strategy for managing downside risk for their clients or themselves.

    Having been initially informed the SEM trade would be a direct one with a “high net worth individual wishing to make a tax loss” I then find that many other people on this blog also have the same experience of a USD 15K request. The conclusion is pretty obvious to me – its a very serious missell and AGT has no credibility left with me.

    I personally suspect that AGT’s current business model cannot survive at USD 3/tonne. The writing is on the wall for them and their request for USD 15K is to provide them with the liquidity they need to survive and restructure. Also note that SEM has no equivalent of VCS registries (at least some protection) and has an FSA warning. It looks to me like jumping into the fire from the frying pan. Enter this SEM trade at your peril!

    So my personal strategy moving forward. Firstly Im not going to panic. I have no intention to enter the SEM trade clearly based on dubious selling tactics or chase good money after bad and will take the loss on my carbon, weather the storm and hold the position in the VCS market. I will make sure to take note of all my registry numbers in case AGT goes under.

    Ultimately I came into the market for a long term play so Im comfortable maintaining that strategy. I still believe the fundamentals of voluntary carbon are good although the voluntary markets clearly need regulating and improvements in transparency (of pricing, availability of audited accounts, CSR reports, etc.) are needed. Id like to buy more carbon on the way back up but I’ll let the dust settle on this storm first before deciding.

    I hope that this is useful input for other people in the same situation?

    Id be keen to learn of anyone who has taken their situation to a UAE lawyer? I suspect there may be grounds for price fixing and misselling (at least in the last few days). A Class Action law suit might be the best way to proceed if any of this can be proven, enough people come on board, and there is a lawyer willing to take it on? That said this is UAE not UK so dont hold your breath.

  33. Let’s be very clear here. The VCS accredited voluntary carbon credit market has not suddenly “crashed”! The demand and supply dynamics will, clearly, fluctuate over time but no event, or series of events, have caused anything special recently. If AGT are claiming othersise, that’s just cynical “spin”! If you want to know how many new VCS credits are being issued versus those being retired (which incidentally is what should drive prices) take a look at the VCS Project Database ( http://www.vcsprojectdatabase.org).

  34. I would be amazed if another broker would exit credits purchased through AGT, or any other broker come to that! This business model is predicated on buying the credits at source at a fraction of the retail price. But no harm in approaching them I suppose.

  35. @Paul Summers – Thanks for this. I sent some questions to Charles Stephenson, AGT’s director, this morning. In the interests of transparency I’ll post the questions on REDD-Monitor, with a link from this discussion.

    I wrote to Baker McKenzie in Chicago three days ago to ask about AGT, but haven’t yet received a reply. I asked Charles Stephenson for contact details at The Gold Standard, VCS, Markit and NYSE Blue.

    You say you have “no problem providing further information”, but don’t provide any information. I have now written to AGT, so I look forward to reading your answers to the questions I asked here.

  36. In response to Grrrreen’s posting, I’d suggest there’s a bit more to it than “taking note of registry numbers”. What evidence of ownership do you hold? Which VCS approved registry are they with? The registry they did use, CDC, has closed down last year.

  37. To Grrreen, I’m in the same boat as you although I suspect my stake is smaller as I have been asked for around $10k in the swap to SEM. Your post was helpful to me, thanks. I’m not planning to pay them any more at this stage and am also leaning towards taking a long approach and holding tight. However, fear of loosing everything has me considering selling all now – on the AGT platform @ $15.85 – and then fighting them to pay out. I’m sure there are many more like us and getting together and getting legal some advise would seem like the best approach at this stage. I’d like to see more posts from someone with advice, and less that are simply throwing stones. I will stand by in hope that Chris can provide something we can work with.

  38. To PatG – if their platform says $15.85, give them a sell instruction and see what happens. Follow up with a phone call to see how long they think it will take to exit you.

  39. Steve G – they told me when the call yesterday that it would take about a year to complete a sale and price would be around $4 – $6!!!

  40. To Steve G.

    Correct, but this is the “only” security we have at the minute. I have holdings with CDC and Markitt. I will do some due diligence on CDC and find out where the credits have been transferred to. Ultimately the registry system has nothing to do with AGT or any other carbon broker.

    The only evidence I have is the online platform. AGT has never provided me with any post trade supporting paperwork with the credit details on. I was planning to check the holding registries to make sure my credits were valid. Its probably a good idea for all to get your full paperwork sorted with AGT.

    Any info you can share with the community on CDC would be appreciated.

  41. To PatG

    Its a pleasure. I also thought it was time for constructive comment and Im not interested in reading about turf wars. If I were you Id do your due diligence, check the validity of all your purchases with the registries and get all supporting paperwork from AGT. This will help you make a decision and select the correct strategy.

  42. To Chris Lang

    Thanks for this proactive initiative. Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

  43. To Chris Lang

    Excellent and probing questions. Mirrors my thoughts perfectly.

    Ill be speaking to Mr Stephenson next week about the SEM trade which crosses the boundary of my business ethics, to learn more about the present liquidity of AGT and how they plan to sustainably manage their business in the new era of USD 3/ton. I am a whisker away from reporting AGT and Dominic Banks (the AGT broker who tried to missell me and others SEM) to Dubai Police.

    Further thoughts are that we should consider contacting the sponsors and corporates who invested in voluntary carbon through AGT to seek their position. This entire mismanaged mess has the potential to create a PR nightmare for the likes of Emirates, Etihad, Lotus, etc. At the very least a copy of your letter to these corporates might put some pressure on Mr Stephenson to start behaving correctly.

    What are your thoughts?

  44. I am also with you on the suit.

    Please share some details

  45. Interesting reading on AGT….

    Has anyone come across any other carbon companies based in Dubai?

    Eventus Alternatives are still recommending VCS credits as a buying opportunity at circa $18 USD. I have done a bit of digging and the company is now called Eventus Alternatives Commercial Broker LLC but used to be called Eventus Consultancy JLT (trading as Eventus Alternatives) there website is

    http://www.eventusalternatives.com

    And they have several warnings on them including one from FCA:

    http://www.ftadviser.com/2013/04/11/regulation/regulators/fca-warns-on-four-more-unauthorised-firms-WdNgvCtPmyrMxp7iwqBqjL/article.html

    http://boards.fool.co.uk/another-or-maybe-the-same-eventus-alternatives-is-12786411.aspx?sort=postdate

    http://boards.fool.co.uk/eventus-alternatives-12771466.aspx?sort=whole

    The other company that has cold called me recently is Capital Alternatives Group who are offering VCS credits at around $14.33 USD. CAG say on http://www.capitalalternativesgroup.com/about-us/Welcome-Message-33.html they were founded in early 2012 but there website was registered on 2/8/2012 by Gabor Szalay

    http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/gabor-szalay/13/74/575

    Interestingly Gabor owns a Dubai based real estate company according to her linkedin page

    http://www.providentestate.com

    From Gabors linkedin page I located the following personnel who work at CAG

    http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/mark-l-rafaj/20/786/95b?trk=pub-pbmap

    Mark is listed as the CEO in the header but General Manager further down??

    CAG are apparently regulated by the registry system NYSE/APX, I’m not sure what regulation this is:

    “CAG is the only accredited VER Emissions Trading Company in the Middle East Regulated by NYSE/APX”

    What I could find is that CAG have got a “Retail Aggregation Account” which according to APX’s website means they are only allowed to:

    Retail Aggregator Account Holder: This account can receive VCUs in its account and retire on behalf of third parties.

    If there account only allows “retirement” how can they sell VCU’s as an investment, retirement basically means disposing of the asset or cancelling its existence as far as i can make out….

    For a company that says it is CAPITAL ALTERNATIVES GROUP is the Middle East’s foremost Carbon Emission Offsetting organisation, I was expecting to see a host of case studies and companies they work with but there top case study is a company they had nothing to do with offsetting (that I can see anywhere)

    http://www.capitalalternativesgroup.com/news-details/Our-Top-Case-Study-7.html

    CAG are based at Level 41-42, Emirates Towers, Dubai according to there website which seems to be a servcorp serviced office:

    http://www.servcorp.ae/en/locations/dubai/emirates-towers-dubai/

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts/feedback Chris, great site, keep up the good work!

  46. To Steve G

    Thanks for the authoritative link.

    I spoke with AGT yesterday and they said their calculation of USD 3/ton was based on MH Carbon going bust and flooding the market with liquidity.

    From what I can see from other posts in redd-org, MH Carbon held GBP 18.7m (USD 28.2 mn) for potential release back on to the market. At USD 15.85 per tonne this works out at approximately 1.8 mn VCU’s. According to the web link the voluntary market is worth 162mn VCU’s (retired + issued). The maximum possible added MH Carbon inventory is therefore ca. 1% of the global market – hardly a flood.

    To me it beggars belief that this small amount of additional VCU can crash the market and cause an 80% drop in price. It also pre-supposes that all of MH Carbon’s former clients want to sell – some (or even many) may want to keep or retire.

    If the indications are as you suggest, that the market has not crashed, nor is it likely to crash why are AGT making these panicked predictions that don’t balance with reality?

    I hope that Chris Lang’s questions on AGT’s carbon pricing model and the key assumptions therein are clearly answered by Mr Stephenson.

  47. To Grrreen:

    The MH Carbon contention is just another example of cynical spin I’m afraid! What has an individual broker going bust got to do with worldwide demand/supply dynamics would be my view! I suspect the people you talk to will be scripted to say something they feel is plausible. But dig a little deeper and you’ll expose this for what it is.

  48. Sorry to hear you having a tough time, maybe try to sell your VCU’s through one of the other brokers I listed above? Eventus are a higher price than what you have stated and Capital Alternatives Group are slightly lower….. You may still be able to make a profit….

    http://www.eventusalternatives.com

    http://www.capitalalternativesgroup.com

    Another way may be to use dollar cost averaging, I have had to do this many times with stocks when they on the way down!! Im sure you are familiar with this but for the sake of other who may not be:

    If the price is truly going to be $3 USD as you say and presuming you have bought all your credits at circa $15 USD then why not buy 1 for 1 (i.e if you have 1000 credits at $15 buy another 1000 credits at $3) and your average price per unit would come down to about $9 USD… this would be on a 1 to 1 ratio, if you went on a 2 to 1 ratio your average price would go down to about $7 USD and so on….

    All depends if you believe in the market long term which it sounds like you do from your above posts

  49. @Chris Lang

    No problem, happy to help, 1 more for you

    http://southwest-utilities.com

    They seem confused!! Website says
    SouthWest Utilities was set up and established in 2006

    Only a simple domain check shows there website has only existed since 3/5/2013 or about 3 weeks……..

  50. @Tom A – Thanks but Southwest Utilities looks like it only deals with the compliance market and only sells to companies or governments. They don’t look like a boiler room operation selling voluntary carbon credits as “investments”.

  51. @Chris Lang – Maybe they just misleading companies and governments then… hahaha

    @Steve G – you seem to be well clued up on the VCS market, are you a carbon broker yourself or do you work for a carbon trading company?

  52. To Tom A

    Thanks. In the grand scheme of things its not so bad, the sun is shining and Im not losing any sleep.

    Yes, Im aware of dollar cost averaging approach. You explained it in a much better way than I could have. This would be my approach on the way up.

    The main concern for the future would be finding a legitimate carbon brokerage firm to buy/ sell. I think the voluntary market will change over the next few years as the authorities bring in firmer controls and properly license the brokers.

    As for selling at a better price than AGT, I will look into the companies you suggest to see if they have anything different to say. Good suggestions.

  53. To Tom A:

    No I don’t work in the carbon markets in any capacity but I’m fascinated by how this (and some other) markets work!

  54. @Steve G – Thanks for this. I’m going to repeat you, because this is an important comment.

    The business model is based on buying carbon credits very cheaply and selling them for a lot more. Why would anyone buy carbon credits at $15 when they can buy them direct from hydropower projects in India or China at less than $1?

    Still, it’s worth a try – if anyone does try, please let us know how you get on.

  55. Why wait to report them to the authorities. I have already done so. There is enough suspicious evidence to warrant an investigation. Furthermore, I have notified the National newspaper to look into the story.

    In addition I have approached Baker MacKenzie and Lotus F1.

    Doubtful I will ever see my money again, but I’m not going down without a fight…

  56. @Grrreen – I like you’re overall attitude, I wish I can do the same – as I have invested quite a bit more tan the avg numbers I am seeing on here. But regardless, I too will not make the shift to SEMs, and will hold. First-off I will try and confirm that the “projects” and “serial #’s” assigned to my credits actually do make sense and are not bogus. (I did get onto the VCS Registry and searched – with no luck. Very similar/close serial numbers, but not mine. That said, they may have lumped a few clients serial numbers together and registered them under a different one? Who knows?).

    You are right though about checking with AGT to see if they can provide you with your worth ON PAPER – and maybe even do a demo to prove that the credits are out there in a registry. I believe that’s the least they can do, to gain back “some” confidence from a bunch of annoyed customers and negative media.

    I’m not sure about @Steve G comment with regards to the CDC shutting down – as when I was on the registry, I noted many transactions still had the CDC code – and some are definitely a year or younger. Can you confirm where your source is for CDC shut-down?

    Finally – I too am looking for a dubai based law firm that specializes in this exact fraud-type. So, if you find one that you trust, lets go in and get them geared up ASAP – before AGT bunch make a run for it.

    Awaiting any constructive feedback.

  57. I am a current client with a very large position in AGT and thank god I did not invest more but I fear I will never get my money back! Let me share with you my experience – I initially was tipped off by someone I very much trust that this may be a scam, so I decided to investigate. I wanted to test them by putting in a sell order and see what happened. Long story short I have tried to liquidate my funds for months now and every time period they initially give me continually gets extended further (first upon signing up as a new client, I was promised liquidation within 48 hours to 1 week), then it became a few weeks, then a few more weeks, and now they are telling me it could be a year or more! I am extremely frustrated as most of you are, and from numerous conversations with actual ex AGT staff I begin to doubt if they even have any credits at all! I’ve never see any external documentation from CDC themselves or VCS, solely what AGT SAYS is from CDC, but who is to say this isn’t just fabricated? So I went ahead and contacted CDC, VCS and numerous other agencies AGT says they deal with and all have come back to me with the response ‘who is AGT’ is so many words (I do not expect you all to go by my word so please feel free to contact them and see for yourselves) – Also if they were a legitimate organization why would they advertise having 10-14 offices around the world and being an international company when in reality their sole office is in the UAE? I have checked into each of these locations and there is no such AGT office at any of them. Essentially I feel I have been taken for a fool which I most definitely am not and am not one to sit back and let this happen – I have already seeked legal council with some of the most notable lawyers in the country and notified the appropriate authorities as well as the media (a few reporters of major local news publications are currently investigating as well) – currently the lawyers are reviewing the case and all related documentation to see the best viable route to put an end to this and ensure we receive our funds because I will not let a group of con artists take me for a fool! A class action case would be much stronger and would invite those of you to join me in it.

    In addition, I have also heard from various AGT staff that Charles Stephenson did in fact buy his ferrari, along with the 2 other partners/owners of the company, and last I heard they were in the middle of purchasing either a bentley or a rolls royce – each – with our funds presumably

  58. Martijn Wilder is the top carbon lawyer at Baker M. He is based in Australia.

    To those posting above that wish to keep their credits I would suggest they think twice. I would sell at any price. Simply put, voluntary credits are not an investable commodity and were never meant to have an active secondary market with trading between non end-users. The credits when not used for offsetting purposes are a depreciating asset, with older vintages looked upon with disdain by retail offsetting buyers. There is large ‘spread’ between the pricing of different vol credits with smaller projects with a good story and community benefits in unusual/exotic locations often commanding high prices (though still no more than $8 or $9 in small volumes). Industrial or large renewable in India or China and you would be looking at sub $1 and next to nothing for older vintages. Even the wholesale quotes in the past are probably unrealistic going forward. Renewable credits are often listed for months at a time and that was in the past when I would guess that a significant proportion of the demand for sub standard credits was coming from these boiler room scam setups. Remove that demand, add in the supply from scam victims trying to sell their credits and the outlook is not good. The fact is that 123,808,258 VCUs have been issued to date while only 38,677,975 have been retired due to offsetting. Even if no new projects were registered and all current projects ceased to generate credits, there would still be enough demand to cover several years of voluntary offsetting at current rates of offsetting.

    If you have bought a large quantity of credits, it may be possible/economicly viable to list your credits on carbon trade exchange or brokerscarbon. You will get a fraction of what you originally paid but at least you might get something back. Otherwise approach the offsett retailers to see if they would be kind enough to make an offer for your credits. eg climatecare, myclimate, firstclimate, balance carbon, citola etc

    Oddly enough, despite all the above, I am still a little optimistic about some areas of the carbon market as an investment! For those that posted above saying that they are in carbon for the long haul, I would think its best to stick to government issued credits where mandated demand and stable supply provide better guidelines for investors. Its not very well suited to private investors but IG Markets have positions available on EUAs (EU Trading Scheme Units) while in New Zealand some banks offer positions on NZUs. I would not advise investing unless you have significant background research on what you are buying.

  59. @ Mohammed .. I am with you on this suit, and I know of another friend that will also be with us. I need to get intouch with you to figure out some more details on who your law firm is – and what plans they have of tackling this. I am not sure if I can leave my contacts on here, however, I created an email for this – please respond to me on skanzo@yahoo.com and I will get in touch with you straight away.

    Like you said, we need to act fast, to see what we can retrieve, if anything, before its too late and they dissolve/disappear.

    STILL optimistic and waiting on someone from AGT/CDC to confirm that our credits/serial #’s are somehow valid and out there (regardless of position/Price, as thats another issue), and not gone on funding luxurious cars!

  60. Thank you Steve. It was a legit close, and not due to a fraud/scam as the rest of what we are hearing. So whatever credits that are out there, have probably been shifted elsewhere, but not lost. (Or at least I hope)

    @CarbonTrick – thank you for your email. I will respond to you shortly on my specific case. But in the meantime, if you can shed some light on the legitimacy of AGT and their transactions – maybe even guide us on what information we need to have at hand (assuming AGT will liquidate/disappear), so that at least we can save whatevers left.

    As much as this thread killed my hopes of getting any of my investment back .. but with the current media-fuss, and MH Carbon news (+ others) – you would think that AGT would’ve closed shop and skipped town already. However, they are still there, making calls and accepting meetings. So maybe – they can assist us someway!(who knows, maybe by next week they will have vanished)

  61. Just a thought for the people talking about a class action – do any of you know who actually owns AGT? It’s all very well addressing the CEO but he may just be a hired hand. As a UAE company there will be local shareholders (sponsors) won’t there? I’m sure they’d be pretty concerned by all of this!

  62. Mohammed, and all – I am ready to join any class action suit. Please do keep us updated on feedback from lawyers you are already working with. Also, lets act fast while they are all are still in town!

  63. Has anyone contacted lotus? The logo is still on the car? I hope they are taking this seriously. Anyone found out who are the directors/shareholder or beneficial owners yet?

  64. #Umar you should paste these links on there twitter accounts and FB and contacts page, I have already done so but the more that do the better. I even went as far as contacting all the associate brands to the car and explained the possible brand damage that will happen associated with AGT.

    ##Everyone, use you networks, press, directors, authorities, business groups to raise awareness of this awful business to prevent further losses of innocent businesses until it closes down and the directors and key staff are arrested. I believe even flyers should be handed outside the offices of building 6 Emarr Sq to bring shame to those working at AGT and educating fellow workers in the complex. The more those that contact and ACT the more united we stand to get things done.

    Contacts you should write report too:
    alsadeek@difc.ae
    customercare@dubaichamber.com
    http://www.dfsa.ae/Pages/Complaints/MakeComplaint.aspx
    http://www.ecomplain.ae/Main.aspx?Lang=EN
    http://www.dfsa.ae/Pages/Alerts/HowToAvoidBeingScammed.aspx

    As an idea Chris Lang, you should allow a way for all investors here to commuicate without being anymous so that a group can form share legal costs and close this business down!

  65. =Steve G

    Chris Middleton is on the company License with a local sponsor. The whole project is structured offshore through Jafza and Mauritius. The brains behind the whole business is Daniel McGowan but he keeps a very low profile.

    You can tell this business is corrupt top down, bottom up with the fact that they don’t reveal there involvement clearly and the puppet at the helm and perhaps why he cannot even come out and comment on such critical matters!

  66. But who is the local sponsor? That has to be a UAE national of good standing doesn’t it? And that individual will, in all likelihood, be wealthy – and protective of their reputation. Investors could do worse than try to track him down.

  67. ihave also invested in this scam company and now they unable to sellmy credits even for a doallar — please if people in dubai who have made complaints agianst this company can get in tuch so we can collectevly do something abt it

  68. just wanted to add capitalinvestment / eventus and teh rest all are connected –they give information on clients and the other calls and gives advise on geting out of AGT but then u have toinvest with them or they say tehyw ill try to sell for less — its all interconnected as i have recieved emials from them with cc to AGT satff –very strange but a proof that they all are together
    soo guys in dubai just stay away from these guys and chris thanks for bringing up this post

  69. @ mohamed, PatG, Jay, Skanzo, Sajid , I have also invested in this company , and I have been trying to reach authorities in Dubai to do something about it , plz let’s all take an action collectively as soon as possible otherwise we will get nothing back, we should reach to the highest authority at UAE because it seems that this company is a group of professional criminals

  70. Two family members of mine bought £15k worth of credits in October 2011. In July 2012, using Agt’s online trading platform, they requested to sell and were told by Pete Doyle, client manager, that July and August the market is still. In February 2013 they received a little over £7k from their original £15k. To quote Pete Doyle, “they have made a healthy profit”. You do the math.
    The owners of Agt are not named on the Agt website nor in any other vitural environment as far as I can see, they are Chris Middleton and Danny McGowan. Charles Stephenson is a director.

  71. @Mark smith – Thanks for the suggestion about allowing investors to communicate without being anonymous. I’m not sure of the best way of setting this up. The problem would be screening out AGT employees, who may also be commenting anonymously…

    HG has shared his email.

  72. Hello guys, I’m just wondering why I didn’t get any communication from people here except from Sajid and someone else , why u are afraid ? And what are you afraid fr ?, you are all victims and if we didn’t communicate and send a collectives adage to the authorities in UAE , we will get nothing and AGT will continue fooling you and other people , please be active if you really need your money

  73. I have been travelling – and after being away for 2-3 days, it is quite tough to keep up to date on all the different threads on here – at least those related to AGT.

    HG – I am willing to communicate, however, do not want to take this off the threads until we have a clear indictaion of what the action plan is. Having a thread like this can get investors, spectators and maybe industry experts guide us on whether our decision makes sense or not.

    Sajid – I received your email. I am out of the country now, but would still like to hear what you have in mind.

    As for me, I am trying to get intouch with AGT, VCS, CDC, various lawyers (UK/US/UAE)and various other brokers – and hopefully figure out my “true” stance. So far, it’s not going at the speed I’m hoping for, but at least I am getting constructive feedback that can help us all. As indicated before, once I get everything verfied, I will post/share. I urge you all to do the same.

  74. I work within the Carbon Market at the Governmental level in Dubai and know pretty much everything there is to know about any company in Dubai. Feel free to ask me questions one by one…

  75. there is no secondary market for VCUs or any type of VER sold by companies like AGT.
    The majority of VCS VCUs can be purchased these days in the wholesale market for a matter of pence per tonne, typically these boiler rooms search for the cheapest possible and then sell them on at hyper-inflated prices with the promise of great returns. There is a vast oversupply of voluntary credits relative to the limited demand and a company looking to off-set their emissions would never contemplate buying off-sets from a private individual they would always deal with the project owner which today includes many investment banks.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financial-crime/9312063/Fraudsters-turn-to-carbon-credits-according-to-FSA.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/oct/03/boiler-room-shares-fraud

  76. Hello Skanzo, whatever you are doing right now , it should not stop us from approaching the highest authorities in UAE , they should investigate at this company activities and keep an eye on those criminals before they escape out of the country , there is nothing of what AGT is telling that make any sense to me , the whole thing is a big lie and this is very very clear , so there is no time to wait for some comments on the website , let’s take an action

  77. Agree with virtually everything Ken says with one exception. If you look at the VCS Project database and drill into the detail, you’ll see that the percentage of VCU’s being retired to new VCU’s being issued has been steadily increasing for some time. So although it’s not caught up yet, it is on a path to do so.

  78. For UAE investors let’s meet together, we have to get our money back – let’ meet Monday June 3 @ dubai marina Mall 7:00 pm Costa Cafe

  79. @AFHR I’m heading to the department of economic development on Sunday morning 09 30 am, they are the authority responsible at Dubai for this kind of problems, so let’s meet all together over there.

  80. @HG I think if we sit together, we will better understand our position and introduce the case much better – what do you think

  81. Peter Doyle needs to be personally accountable. He has 500 clients who he has swindled.

    What a pathetic excuse of a man…

  82. Dear All, individually we will not be able to do anything, the only way is wehave as a group to put the pressure on […], I just bought my credits last month, in the same time others were not able to sell – so where is my money goes – if we are able to proof that even new sales during the last six months were not used […] to close a sale order to others, I think they will bein a big trouble – let’s meet Monday and discuss

    [R-M: This comment has been edited. The deleted parts are indicated: […].]

  83. Chris , Do you have an email address in which I can write to you?

  84. Dear Chris,

    Firstly I must compliment the work on this blogg for highlighting the problems with AGT.

    Obviously many clients of AGT face an up hill battle to get their promised returns or even their money back.

    I might have a solution/ idea –

    If there was a REGULATED FUND where clients could swap their carbon credits and a little cash for shares in the fund , Do you think many people would do this?

  85. @Robert Stevens – I’m not really qualified to comment on your proposal. The problem is that the voluntary carbon credits that people bought are near worthless. A couple of questions: Why would a regulated fund want near worthless carbon credits? And why should people hand over more money?

  86. The Voluntary Credits in the wrong hands as a stand alone vanilla investment product are extremely difficult to sell therefore limited value. However , if these credits are sold to corporate entitles who are looking to develop a CSR strategy and become carbon neutral then they have a value. The problem we are seeing is that companies like AGT are making serious misrepresentations and completely damaging the product. Therefore certain serious industry operators are thinking of offering to take these credits off people to not only improve the product image but also to reduce the amount of credits freely available. The fund is a balanced portfolio so therefore also needs fresh cash to invest in other areas.

    This is only an idea but it is certainly worth discussing along with the other proposed actions by your readers.

  87. Great idea about meeting up at Costa Coffee, Dubai Marina Mall on Monday 7pm. I will be there!

    So that I can be identified I will carry an A4 sheet with AGT written on it in large bold type. If others also do the same it means we can get down to fruitful discussions rather than searching for each other.

  88. Perfect , we might have Vivian from the National as well, she is willing to help

  89. Gents I can assure you putting pressure on AGT will not help your case, they will just close shop and move on. Perhaps you guys should try some constructive ideas rather than the complete and utter destruction route! Anyway there is another agenda here and I actually think that this Blogg is full of ex AGT employees.

  90. @Freddy and others.
    An excellent idea to come together as a group and see what actions are available relating to AGT. I have seen some of the voluntary credits sold by AGT particularly those from a large HFC 23 project which are four to five years old, I am afraid that in reality you would have to pay someone to take these off your hands IMHO.
    I wish you well for your meeting on Monday and if I can provide any help I will do my best.

  91. @ Robert Stevens AGT left no option for their investors, I believe big portion of our money sitting somewhere under AGT custody and they might be involved in money laundry as well, AGT must be Audited carfuly to understand the business model, the think thy are protected by the signed contract they do have which is a bit true if we individually approached them but as a group we can do more, AGT for the last 6 months managed to sell more than 500 to 600 contracts per month, in the same time they did not close any sales order claiming that no buyers in the market which is not true and on the same time they increase their market price 3 times during the same period to attract more new investors and push the existing ones to stay in as they are making good profit.
    AGT can not justify or explain that unless it he company is audited by DIFC.

  92. I have large investment with agt I just think maybe I do the right thing and retire the credits so they make world better place, I drive a big 4 x4 so maybe this is good idea for the world.

    Sometimes it’s good to feel good about your actions

  93. @Stevens you mention ex AGT staff…does that include yourself?

    lets look at what we know so far..

    1. alleged shadow directors of company and apparent brains behind the company is involved in […]
    2. the credits are worth nothing yet have been charged large amounts
    3. people have been trying for some time to get money back
    4 Directors are spending like Beckham with flash cars etc
    5. ex employees have been giving insider information
    6. videos explaining credits and company removed from the web page
    7. director never address the issues or questions

    Mr Stevens your comments lack any credible reason to this debate and I suggest you hurry back to AGT […].

    [R-M: This comment has been edited. The deleted parts are indicated: […].]

  94. @ Robert Stevens / Pete
    We were expecting your company to close long time ago and managers to run but they are too blunt, cheeky and greedy! What other route are you talking about??? Do you think this company should be let alone ripping more people off with earth metals??? Is this the route you have in mind?? Did you think that maybe all ex staff actually figured out how the “business model” works??

  95. The meeting in Starbucks cafe not Costa 7:30 pm ground floor – Dubai Marina mall

  96. [R-M: This comment has been deleted because it didn’t comply with REDD-Monitor’s comments policy. Responses may also be deleted.]

  97. apart from the directors the biggest fraudster there is ryan smith. i met this man in the offices of agt and invested a six figure sum with him, i understand that this man has taken close to $30 million from agt clients/victims

  98. Mr smith has actually been a very big help to me and my family!! The advice he gave me on a number of investments has paid dividends!! A very intelligent and smart young man! i believe he has left the company around 3 months ago. i was not aware he had two names, but his advice and view on the markets as a hole was probably the best i have ever had. i do not think for a second, such a man would have anything to do with any foul play.

  99. To Mr AV, To write such a comment you must work for AGT. Mr Smith is still with AGT as the Sales Director as yesterday. I believed him during our meeting and he got me to invest $250,000 for credits that I dont even know are still worth anything at all!

    If he conned you out of your life savings and you still belief in him then you are not telling the truth. Maybe you are Mr Smith/Mr Singlehurst? Can these people that obviously work for these crooks not be allowed to post here

  100. @AV I like the way you describe this market as a hole – very apt.

    I’m guessing, but of course I may be wrong, what you actually meant was whole.

  101. @gregg Bines – Thanks for this. I’ve done several posts about Advanced Global Trading, including two that refer to the two articles by Farah Halime that you link to in your comment:

    3 June 2013: Advanced Global Trading sold at least US$25 million of voluntary carbon credits as investments

    4 June 2013: Advanced Global Trading: “Any price for VCUs is meaningful if a buyer can be found at such price”

    I’ve deleted your other comments because they just quote at length from Farah Halime’s articles. If you have a point to make, you’re very welcome to do so in the comments, but if people want to read Halime’s articles they can read them in full on Halime’s website (which you’ve already linked to).

  102. Very interesting discussion. I am one of the AGT victims and happy to join the group to take any constructive action…

  103. Ny times article refers to compliance credits and not voluntary. Big difference!

    I’m afraid your optimism is unfounded as there is no secondary market for VERs.

    AGT fully aware of this

  104. @V T (#128) – Thanks for this. @Ken (#129) is right – the New York Times article is about European Union Allowances (EUAs), which are permits to pollute issued under the EU Emissions Trading System.

    As I pointed out in the article, the average price of voluntary carbon credits in 2011 US$6.20. This fell to US$5.90 in 2012. But that’s an average price. The carbon credits that AGT is selling have nothing to do with this average price. They buy cheap carbon credits for a few US cents and sell them for up to US$15.

    Some of the carbon credits that AGT sold were from industrial gas projects in China. These credits are near worthless. They are also extremely controversial. No one wants to buy them.

    AGT’s “valuable brokering skills” consist of buying something very cheaply and selling it for a great deal more.

  105. What is going on with AGT? Are they still there? They are not picking up phone.

  106. All, Before you jump at me calling me a damage control agent for AGT, I would first request to hold your fire and listen!

    I myself am a investor at AGT. Out of all the investors there, I can bet that mine would be the most hard earned invesment any day. I don’t come under the elite class of people who would have $25,000 to put in as a minimum investment.

    However, I had $60,000 which was transiting through my hands meant for an important purpose. As luck would have it, exactly at this point AGT happened to call me and I decided to put this money with them briefly and make some profit in the process. I saw my first price increase, then second and then third. A total of about 6% in a short span of 6 months. Last week however, I innocently tried to liquidate and had some doubts on how to do it using the platform. I tried to check on the Internet on how to use the platform to sell. Only at this point did I realise how deep a sh** I have fallen into!

    I really appreciate Chris Lang and redd monitoring forum. We have enough reasons to prove and believe that we are stuck in a boiler room cum ponzi. I haven’t slept well for the past week. I have been relentlessly investigating and researching. I have had cold sweats and nervous breakdowns!

    Initially, the more I researched, the more I felt that AGT may have used unethical practices of boiler room and ponzi. However after further research, I find that they did it with actually no intention to scam people but they really believed that they can sell VERs to corporates at the rate mentioned on their platform (and they indeed were doing so)! Two things went wrong:

    1)The unit prices have geniunely crashed. In some cases from $40 down to $1 per unit. please see: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/business/energy-environment/europes-carbon-market-is-sputtering-as-prices-dive.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    2)Almost all people are now trying to liquidate simultaneously (thanks to the various internet forums like Redd monitoring :-)

    The combination of these two issues seems to be causing the problem. For now if we are patient and let market recover and engage with AGT to sell out units little by little, as and when possible, we should be able to finally get out maybe in a decade. The market might recover eventually but if we impantiently and forcelully shutdown/liquidate AGT using the brute force of law, we might very well end up losing their valuable brokering skills and the last bit of hope we have!!

  107. I have also invested with AGT and would be interested in what could be done to retrieve at least some of my money. Interrested in meeting others in the same situation to take some action

  108. @V T – For a moment, let’s take your (AGT’s?) point about the price of carbon crashing at face value. It’s true that the price of carbon has crashed. But it’s been going down for a while. In May 2013, I asked Charles Stephenson how his brokers could argue that in 2012 carbon had shown returns of over 22% when the Intercontinental Exchange’s reports clearly showed the price of carbon dropping steadily during 2012 (see question 6).

    Here are some of the posts on REDD-Monitor about the price of carbon:

    5 April 2012: Cheap carbon and futurology: Two more reasons why REDD as a carbon trading mechanism makes no sense

    13 December 2012: Worst fortnight ever for carbon markets?

    15 February 2013: The EU carbon trading scheme in crisis: Save it or scrap it?

    Does anyone remember any announcements from AGT about the price of carbon crashing at any point in 2012? Or did AGT simply carry on selling its carbon credits at inflated prices?

    In fact, the carbon price has been in trouble since 2008, as this graph from a recent World Bank report clearly shows:

  109. Interestingly, I have just come across this….

    Advanced Global Trading (AGT) aims to become one of the world’s largest providers of Verified Emission Trading Permit (ETPs) and Strategic Rare Earth Metals (SEM) in the dynamic over-the-counter (OTC) market.

    Our Business Principles
    AGT always puts its clients, investors, and stakeholders first to ensure that by use of our good judgement, professionalism, and best practice, we will ensure our longevity and success as a firm.
    Our core values are to be Professional, Creative, Responsive, Trustworthy, and International in all our dealings with our clients. We take tremendous pride in the professional quality of our work and take an all encompassing approach aiming for excellence and success in everything we undertake in as a firm. These values, continuously improve the way we work, and ultimately balance the pursuit of growth of our firm alongside the control of costs and risk as a total commitment to our stakeholders.
    Working cross-culturally, across very diverse and international markets, we know we cannot remain complacent and recognise the importance of adapting to the needs of our clients. We therefore constantly strive to anticipate and respond to the changing needs of our clients and tailor solutions to meet those needs effectively and efficiently.
    AGT regularly receives confidential information through normal dealings through our firm’s client relationships and hence we would never contemplate breaching this trust to inappropriately misuse any confidential information we do receive.
    Intensity, integrity, honesty, and intellectual curiosity form the core qualities of the people we look to attract. We expect our people to maintain high ethical standards in everything they do, both in their work for our firm and in their personal lives.
    Through the experienced people of our firm we consistently try to be creative to find not only a better solution to a potential problem but also the best way to a solving a client’s unique problems.
    We aim to help develop new markets and help pioneer many of the practices and techniques that we feel may become the industry standard amongst our peers and competitors.

    taken from the following website….

    http://www.environmental-expert.com/companies/advanced-global-trading-agt-alternative-investments-44605

  110. To Fran Tick:

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious!!!!

  111. I came across his post while researching on eventus alternatives. Just wondering after reading all this if the carbon market will even work. As for the research i did there is nothing i can find that discuss eventus alternatives scam or it being another rip off company.

  112. @Ahmed, there is some information on Eventus ALternatives in the post by @Tom A above.

    @ChrisLang added Eventus to his “list” on 24th May but we are yet to see a full story…… some info for you while we wait….

    Eventus domain name was setup by Phil Wombell who was previously Snr. Investment Manager at Barclays, Abu Dhabi

    http://ae.linkedin.com/in/philwombwell

    Domain name: EVENTUSALTERNATIVES.COM
    Ext : .COM

    Registrant Contact:
    Eventus Capital Management
    Phil Wombwell ()
    +971.43206100 ext
    Fax: +971.43206101 ext
    404, Apricot Towers,
    Dubai,
    AE

    Eventus wealth state on there website “We offer our clients a variety of solutions for financial planning and wealth management. Our focus is always to provide an ethical and professional service to secure the future financial security of our clients.” lets hope they not talking about VER Investments!!!

    http://www.eventuswealth.com/index.php/page,Contact

    Wealth managers advising clients on VER investments, whatever next!!

  113. @Ken(#129)-Yes you are right; I was comparing apples market against the price of oranges!

    @Anonymous(#130)-Thanks for that valuable link; never knew such a body existed in Dubai government. It’s very handy to quickly alert the authorities but I am not sure if it’s still a bit early to do so?

    @Chris Lang(#131)-Thanks! I have finally understood the market value of this worthless commodity. When I invested, I was told that the AGT platform price is the market price (or at least that’s what I understood). But now I understand that AGT has created their own virtual market from which everyone buys but no one sells :) AGT however insists that they are selling to various corporates at this rate to make them carbon neutral. I was quoted Hilton hotels as an example (can someone verify this or is); also Microsoft, Siemens, GM to name a few have purchased VERs to offset emissions and become carbon-neutral. Regarding the industrial gas credits from China, as per AGT, although there’s a controversy around this, it’s not an issue as long as companies don’t mind buying them.

    @Anonymous(#132)-They are very much there.. they are corresponding to me via emails and have have just been given an apointment to meet-up this week. Perhaps they have stopped answering calls; I can only imagine that it would be ringing non-stop.

    @Chris Lang(#133)-Thanks again! You have a very valid point there… but as per AGT, they are capable of selling at their platform price (let’s call it AGT’s virtual market) and so it should not matter on how the real market is doing. […] Also, that world bank report chart is for EUA and CER. I have never seen a real market chart for VERs (except for the virtual ones shown to be by AGT) is there ever any real VER price chart?

    @All-Again sorry to keep searching for the silver lining on the dark cloud and bring in some pro-AGT optimism (I know that’s exactly what got me into this mess in the first place): After trying to reach AGT folks by email last week, I was dreading that they may have wound-up! But I got a response from them explaining the market situation has changed and that there are now more sellers than buyers. They acknowledge that now there is a huge back-log of investors all waiting to sell. They have offered me an appointment to meet-up at their office for updates.

    Seems like they have appointed a new person to look into existing clients? I will be going there this week and have prepared a questionire. They are still sending their weekly market news that also included negative news (which they could have withheld if they want to). They are still operating their day to day business / activities. I don’t smell any signs of the company liquidating or disappearing! Their second arena magazine seems promising. Their local backers I was told is from the Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi ruling) family. They have a UAE local high level director to bring in VIP clients. If they survive this ordeal then I believe we will survive as well but of course the liquidity of our investment will be at stake for a very long time. But by then if somehow VERs become a priced and wanted commodity, we might very well get some profits back? I will post the results of my meeting with them soon; but the question still lingers: Ponzi or not ponzi? Boiler room or not boiler room?

    [R-M: This comment has been edited. The deleted parts are indicated: […].]

  114. Hi All,

    I would be very interested in meeting with anyone who has more information on this sh”tuation as I am calling it now. We invested in this with the thought that we were also investing in something good for the planet. They have now been trying to bully us into paying, wait, here it goes, $15,000 for SEMs to salvage what we have invested!!!!
    You can email me on dupedcarbon@outlook.com .
    Thank God we found this site in the nick of time!
    @ChrisLang, thank you for helping provide a platform for us. We had no way of reaching out to other investors with AGT to see if they were experiencing the same thing we are until now.

  115. “Their local backers I was told is from the Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi ruling) family.”

    That depends. Al Nahyan is a big family and they can get somebody on board who may not know much about their operations. If it is somebody big from the family I doubt they will personally look into the business as AGT is not that big, but they have managers who manage their investments and business branches. If AGT has a contact to a manager than they can get into some sponsorship deal as AGT does look good on paper with their Lotus 1 sponsorship, etc. However, [whether] they are a high class boiler room business or not, nobody can tell until their operations are thoroughly investigated.

    […] rules in London are more strict […]. http://www.moneywise.co.uk/scams-rip-offs/scams/whats-boiler-room-scam

    [R-M: This comment has been edited. The deleted parts are indicated: […] and one word has been inserted: [whether].]

  116. Any news on AGT’s licence? It expired on 4th june.

  117. All, I just received a call from a company called Corbon Reduction Solutuons out of Hong Kong. They claim to be able to sell my cridits although no price was mentioned. After AGT I am obviouslt sceptical of all cold calls and just thought I would share to give you all a heads-up. I can only assume they came to know I was holding these credits from AGT and that is where they got my number. Has anyone elase been contacted by these guys? Is this another scam???

  118. [R-M: This comment has been deleted because it didn’t comply with REDD-Monitor’s comments policy. Responses may also be deleted.]

  119. @ pat G what is the website for carbon reduction solutions

    This is obviously another recovery room, do not part with a penny

  120. Checked with Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, AGT’s licence status is still expired.

  121. Anon (#147); the website for Carbon Reduction Solutions is http://www.carbonreductionsolutions.asia/

    Strange but they did not ask me for money, they claimed to have prospective buyers for my AGT VER’s?? They said they would drop m a mail with details but never did – I think because I told them I would need a few days to get back to them.

    Chris Lang, are you aware of these guys?

  122. Hi All,

    Is anyone aware of any legal action being taken against AGT? I have been following this forum for some days and I am starting to fear that we are all waiting for someone to do something, but no action is actually taking place. Is there information about any specific complaint against AGT? Has anyone contacted the police?

    Thanks,
    Luis

  123. carbon reduction solutions

    is a recovery room operation, DO NOT HAND OVER ANY MONEY

    if you think its not take a look below

    Domain
    Domain ID D2677313-ASIA
    Domain Name CARBONREDUCTIONSOLUTIONS.ASIA
    General
    Domain Create Date 25-May-2013 04:22:45 UTC
    Domain Expiration Date 25-May-2014 04:22:45 UTC
    Domain Last Updated Date 28-May-2013 16:08:53 UTC
    Last Transferred Date
    Created by Enom Inc. R78-ASIA (48)
    Last Updated by Registrar Enom Inc. R78-ASIA (48)
    Sponsoring Registrar Enom Inc. R78-ASIA (48)
    Maintainer URL

  124. I have reported AGT and individuals to authorities in UAE and UK.

  125. @Anon (#153) – I agree it looks suspicious. How did Carbon Reductions Solutions get hold of PatG’s (#145) phone number? The website was set up less than a month ago. There’s no information about who is running the company.

  126. @Jack #156 you can use http://www.actionfraud.police.uk
    @Chir Lang

    Once you have dealt with a boiler room your contact details become part of what is known in the trade as a ‘mug list’. The list will included clients who have been active, ie bought previously and those that are not yet active but have been in contact. The list is well structured, it often includes what products have been sold and therefore can be of use to recovery boiler rooms who can target clients as in this case, those who have been sold worthless VERs by AGT and others.

    I have included a typical email contact below with their fee structure.

    PLEASE BE WARNED THIS IS A SCAM TO EXTRACT MORE MONEY FROM YOU AND IN MANY CASES GET YOU TO BUY MORE WORTHLESS CREDITS IN THE HOPE THAT ‘WITH A LARGER PORTFOLIO YOU WILL MORE LIKELY FIND AN INTERESTED BUYER’

    Thank you for speaking with me today, let me summarise who we are and what we
    do. We are an exit strategy specialist and deal with offsetting companies to
    become
    carbon neutral. We are not a broker and do not associate ourselves with brokers,
    and as a company we do not sell carbon credits as we wish to offer full
    transparency in our business model. I have attached a summary of role to explain
    how we exit you from the market and how much it would cost, if you have any
    questions regarding our exit process please feel free to ask me directly.

    We believe the carbon market is going through a transition period were it
    requires liquidity for investors and we have found a simple way to do this. By
    only selling client purchased credits we can help companies become carbon
    neutral as well as help clients exit the market and help restore trust back into
    the carbon market. We have seen a drop in the market by 20% in the last year and
    the market is predicted to drop a further 20% and with so much uncertainty in
    the market place why not exit while you can still make a return. We would expect
    to achieve £7.50 – £9.50 on any offset deal we complete and would be keen to
    work with you.

    0 – 500 tons                                               £450 admin fee
    501 – 3000 tons                                          £650 admin fee
    3001 – 5000 tons                                        £950 admin fee
    5001 – 8000 tons                                      £1250 admin fee
    8001 – 11000 tons                                    £1550 admin fee
    11001 – 15000 tons                                  £1850 admin fee
    15001 – 18000 tons                                 £2150 admin fee
    18001 – 21000 tons £2450 admin fee
    21001 – 24000 tons £2750 admin fee
    24001 – 27000 tons £3050 admin fee
    27001 – 30000 tons £3350 admin fee
    30001 – 33000 tons £3650 admin fee
    33001 – Above £3950 admin fee

  127. I only just stumbled on this site. Lots of useful info here. I’m in close to 6 figures so will be following AGT developments with keen interest to see if *any* funds are eventually returned – although (after reading all the chatter) mentally I’ve pretty much written it all off.

    I do want to add a cautionary update: I wonder how many AGT investors have been contacted recently by a company called Capital Alternatives? They are promising to swap AGT holdings at their current listed price into land holdings in Africa (palm oil plantations). However a web search shows Capital Alternatives in the UK to be dogged by scandal so not a company an investor would want to be associated with. On the other hand their UAE affiliate appears to have sewn up a deal in April with the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (a legitimate outfit formed by the Dubai govt and the UN) to supply carbon credits to UAE businesses. I still have my doubts though.

    Anyone else been contacted by Capital Alternatives or have any views on them?

    Also, there’s been no activity in this thread for over a week. What’s the latest development that folks are aware of re AGT and what are folks now contemplating as their course of actions?

  128. I have been approached by capital alternatives http://www.capitalalternatives.ae

    Somehow they new that I am an AGT investor? They have also promised to swap me not a different investment at the same value as my AGT portfolio, I must say that I feel quite desperate and I am tempted, but due to what I have read here, it can’t be right, it must be another scam. I have been researching and found this, they appear to be another scam:

    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2013/03/danger-green-investment-from-c.html

  129. @Anon (#159)

    Once you have dealt with a boiler room, your name and contact details form part of a list which is sold onwards to other boiler rooms. You maybe contacted by ‘recovery boiler rooms’ who will ‘help’ you sell your worthless VERs for a fee, often they will try to get you to buy more VERs as their non-existent clients’ are interested in larger batches. The other scam, as you mention, is to get you buy more of something else which is equally worthless. You maybe offered CERs, fine wine, rare or strategic earth metals, coloured diamonds, palm oil plantations, teak timber plantations and the list goes on and on. One thing you can be sure of, you will be paying a hyper-inflated price for something that is most probably all but worthless.

    No reputable company would ever cold call someone offering them an investment opportunity.

  130. For all investors,

    If you would like to submit a complaint against AGT to DED, you may follow any of these channels:

    Call ´Ahlan Dubai´ +971 600 545555

    or Fax +971 4 450 3996

    OR Email consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae

  131. I have been chasing AGT since end of January to exit on my shares…received the same excuses of a 8-12 week delay, then upon expiry of that period advised another 8-12 weeks…now the latest e-mail excuse from AGT is extracted below.

    ++++ I am unsure if you are aware, or not, but I am told that a small group of people (6) decided to approach the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) and, pending completion of their investigation, AGT has been required to suspend trading of all carbon credits – i.e. we cannot participate in the buying or selling. There is a huge difference between struggling to sell your credits, and, currently, not being allowed to.++++

    based upon the above extract I’m like most of you where it seems the funds will never be returned. Any updates on options/ alternatives to try and recoup some funds would be appreciated.

  132. If you own VER Carbon credits based on a project type in China and you were approached by an agent such as Carbon Reduction Solutions (Hong Kong) stating that they have a Chinese company willing to buy all your carbon credits at an attractive price, what would you do? The only caveat is that it is required to transfer your credits to the China Emissions Registry because your credits (brokered by AGT) are not registered with a legitimate registry anymore (CDC) and your project type of credits (HFC23) can only be used by customers in China and India. SO you have to pay this Chinese government agency a fee to transfer the credits. You pay them via bank transfer to their holding company MC Group of Companies (incorporated 22 March 2011) also based in Hong Kong. The fee is around 8 Chinese Yuan per carbon credit. Both websites of China Emissions Registry and Carbon Reduction Solutions were created in May 2013. The gentlemen on the phone were very polite and helpful. Is this Chinese Emissions Registry legitimate? Is the company called MC Group of Companies also a legitimate company?

  133. This is a classic example of Part II of the carbon credit scam where, once the initial scam has been exposed and investors are grieving over their losses, another company rides to the rescue promising to make the investors whole in return for a fee. Do no – repeat, do NOT – fall for it, no matter how tempting it might sound. The fact that the website was created in May should tip you off that this is a scam.

  134. Similar to ANON #159, I was called by a person early July from Capital investments

    I didnt ask him where he got my number from, but I never added him over linkedin, unlike AGT guys back in 2012 got my number from linkedin

    I have invested 77,000 Dirhams in AGT, just got this reponse today from a current employee at AGT

    “*******Due to the frustration caused by having to wait for their credits to be sold, a very small minority of six people approached the Dubai Department of Economic Development (“DED”) with unfounded accusations that AGT had operated with the wrong type of trade license. AGT strongly refutes this allegation and believes it has always operated with the correct license (a point confirmed by its legal advisors). As such, AGT’s trading license was not renewed by the DED whilst the complaint is pending and unresolved.
    At the time of writing, as much as we are pushing for the trade license to be renewed as quickly as possible, we are unaware of what the likely timescale is to be. However, we are sure you will agree that there is a huge difference between struggling to sell credits, and being unable to sell credits altogether due to not having a trade license to operate.
    The company is still here, although is not currently allowed to buy or sell anything pertaining to VCS VER carbon credits at this present time.
    Therefore, there are two options available at this juncture: 1) we would very much prefer it if you kept your business with AGT and patiently allow us to ‘weather the storm’; but would be very understanding and co-operative if you, 2), decided you wish to move your credits to another broker for them to sell on your behalf instead of AGT.

    Should you chose option 2; please do your research and due diligence, and then send a signed letter of authority giving us permission to switch your credits to the new broker of your choosing.
    **********

    I suspect foul play, I would like to get together with this “6” people and others to see the reality and have a consolidated response to get our money back

    My linkedin profile is ae.linkedin.com/in/aghasalman/
    where I can be contacted

  135. Great work exposing this Chris!

    Has anyone contacted Lotus F1 team about this? They are still showing on their website that they have an arrangement with AGT – http://www.lotusf1team.com/a-brighter-future-lotus-f1-team.html

    Lotus F1 Team’s CEO, Patrick Louis, was quoted in the press in April 2012 saying: “Lotus F1 Team is proud of this new relationship with AGT, who are now another strong asset in our arsenal of partners and their abilities and experience in the Carbon Credit market gives us great confidence in achieving our environmental goals.” – http://www.arabianbusiness.com/press_releases/detail/45684

    According to AGT’s press release, this relationship was renewed as recently as May 2013 – http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.viewpressrelease/id/342

  136. I have been contact by a few other victims, we can join efforts to recover our money

    I request the people who have contact DED, or people who have organized a meet, please let us know the results of the complaint with DED and public prosecution

  137. Hi All,
    I was also approached by Carbon Reduction Solutions, claiming that the VERs I bought from AGT can only be sold in China, and for that I need to transfer them to China Registry operated by MC Group of Companies…for that I need to pay ~1800$.

    Does anyone know what’s the progress on the DED front with AGT?

    thanks

  138. Hi All,
    We have been found a company in the UAE who are willing to take over our carbon credits from AGT at the value they are currently listed at which will then be converted into a palm oil investment. You are not allowed to sell the land (you lease land in West Africa for 49 years)for 5 years but it seems legit. As we have been duped before, I wanted to know if anyone has heard of this type of investment? Thanks.

  139. Actually I was approached by this company (Capital Alternatives and their sister concern Hawkesbury Consulting) as well and many of us I am sure.

    Yes it does sound very promising and may be legit but here’s the catch: They need us to invest an additional amount matching the value of the VER credits! To me this simply means that they are not really buying your credits at that price. Neither are they taking a hit on your behalf. We don’t know of anyone who have got their returns this way and will have to wait 5 years to find out. I’d rather hang on to my VERs.

    I think if you could hold on to it for 3 to 5 years they could climb to $15 per ton or even more (irrespective of whether AGT liquidates or not) :)

  140. For the information of all: I did approach Eventus Alternatives in order to transfer my VERs from AGT to them for onward sale. I was told that for the project 439 (Yingping credits) of my vintage I may get about $4 per credit!!! A far cry from the original $15 I paid.

    I was however told that they are bullish on this market and these VERs may eventually rise to $15 per ton despite the bad reputation of Yingping credits :)

  141. @Duped (#170) – Can’t say for sure, but I have heard of palm oil investment scams before. Wouldn’t be surprised if the company charges a “fee” for converting your AGT investment into the palm oil one.

  142. Thanks all. Research on Capital Investments from UK not good so we are not going to touch it. When we asked the guys about it they never responded. As a note AGT is under litigation in the Dubai Courys so were unable to renew their license and therefore are unable to trade or sell anything until court case resolved. We can transfer the credits to someone else even if just to wait to sell or if we find a buyer but now do not know what companies are legitimate and trustworthy. Does anyone know of anyone?

  143. Haven’t heard from Chris for a while. What are your latest updates?

  144. Hey “V T”:

    I’d be curious to know more about your conversation with Eventus. Who did you speak to over there? I’d like to ask them why they think our underlying Yingping HFC3 credits (which by most reports are close to worthless) are (a) worth $4, and (b) going to go up in price. Sounds fishy to me.

  145. @Smazi, I sopke to Saj Shafi who is now the portfolio director. I met him soon after I was coaxed by AGT into buying more VERs. Had I met him a bit earlier, I would have alteast saved my second lot of VERs from becoming illiquid! Here’s what he had to say:

    Sorry for the late response, I have checked the price of your credits from Project 439 – Yingpeng. They range between $4-6 USD depending on the vintage(Year).
    We only deal in High Growth projects…High growth projects are in a higher band than low growth projects which is what Yingpeng project is.
    Therefore I would not be able to get you the price of $10.79 as you credits are not worth that in the wholesale market.
    As AGT are a market maker, they have provided you with a price which includes a margin. We deal with no margin and a price directly from the project.
    This is not to say Yingpeng credits won’t achieve $13-$15 in the wholesale market in the future. Realistically the market is very buoyant, and we are still very bullish on the market for the next 5 years at least. The reason for this is that the Barack Obama recently stated that the USA for the first time since the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997, are going to now start reducing emissions within their own country. This is hugely significant news and will bolster the market for the next 5 years.
    My advice would be to try and exit through AGT or hold for a period of time til the value increases. If you sell now in the wholesale market with Eventus or any other broker, you will experience big losses.

  146. @Smazi (#176) – Including the names of individuals working at these carbon credits outfits is against REDD-Monitor’s comments policy.

    @V T (#172) – Could you respond without using any names, please? Thanks.

  147. Just a suggestion – why doesn’t everyone blogging on here about AGT write to Lotus? They will find that approach harder to ignore! Suggest Chris you will never get a response.

  148. I have a contact in the media who is interested in talking to people who have invested with AGT.
    Please contact me directly if you would like me to pass on your details.

  149. Anyone that could recomend a lawyer with insights into this mess?

  150. Is there any further news about AGT? I’m trying to get to see them here in mid-October. Their offices seem to be closed though.

  151. Hi Guys,

    I wish i’d read this sooner. I also invested with AGT. I got a call from CArbon Reduction Solutions Asia, who promised to sell my credits to a Hong Kong Buyer. I went along with this, and paid the necessary fees/tax along the way. Now that the last sale document has been signed, i can no longer get hold of Carbon Reduction Solutions, by email of phone.

    Can someone please recommend a course of action for me?

  152. Hi AL Dubai – unfortunately you’ve just fallen for a classic double-scam and your payment to Carbon Reduction Solutions is gone forever (although you still have a small chance of getting something back eventually on your AGT investment). As you’ve found Carbon Reduction Solutions is probably just a couple of guys with a fancy website and an email address who were out to scam and not a legitimate business at all. All of us AGT investors have been getting calls like these from various scammers and the message to anyone reading this is: DON’T FALL FOR IT! I understand there’s an outfit in Dubai who may buy your AGT credits for around $4-$5. I don’t know how serious they are but at least there’s physical location and you can meet them face to face (and complain to the Dubai authorities if something goes wrong). Regarding the Carbon Reduction Solutions guys, all you can do is flag it up on various message boards so others beware, and raise it with the Hong Kong authorities so they are aware of these fraudulent practices. If they receive enough complaints they may even take action (as the UK authorities did) although you still will never see your money back.

  153. hi all,
    I too have been duped into this AGT scheme. however have recently received a call from Hawkesbury Consulting (http://www.hawkesbury.ae) willing to buy the credits back and invest the same into some Palm Oil investment in Africa, but the catch is that they will take back the value of the credits + we need add some more amount to that…
    pls. let us know it this is legitimate, or a double-scammer…

  154. Double scammer alas. If you do your online research you will soon learn that any company offering to invest your funds in far off locations in illiquid and hard to verify assets is almost certainly a scammer. The employees of these companies may well think they’re working for a legitimate company and consequently sound perfectly sincere and above board. But you can be 100% certain that you’ll never see either your original funds or the additional funds ever again.

  155. @BM (#188) – How did Hawkesbury get your contact details? How did they know that you had bought carbon credits? Sounds like a Recovery Room scam to me. Read the Risk and Warning notice on Hawkesbury’s website – the company even tells you why you shouldn’t invest with them (no secondary market, no regulation, no due diligence):

    1. Your investment will not be listed or dealt on any stock exchange. There is no guarantee that there will be a secondary market for your investment which may be difficult to realise.
    2. The value of your investment may go down as well as up. Investors may, therefore, realise less than their original investment.
    3. The Hawkesbury Product Consulting JLT acts only as a promoter/introducer for the third party product providers and is not regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Hawkesbury Product Consulting JLT does not operate any form of collective investment scheme, nor can it offer any form of investment advice. The purchasing of alternative assets is an unregulated activity and should only be considered by those who are comfortable making their own investment decisions.
    4. Purchasers should seek to rely solely upon their own research and due diligence when purchasing. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The future returns and opinions expressed are based upon third party forecasts and should not be relied upon as indicating any guarantee of return for any investment.

  156. Getting any money for AGTs VER’s is 98% impossible! If you do get anything it will be in cents not dollars. AGT on purpose bought the cheapest of the cheapest to maximize the earnings. What makes you think you can sell them for 4-5 US?? lol
    How do other companies know your contact details and the fact that you bought Carbon?? Simple: ex staff sold the AGT client database to about 2 dozen companies who are now calling these numbers, filtering and pocketing money.

  157. I tried calling AGT land line, no one pick’s up… I emailed the Group Head of Client Liaison, mail bounces back stating that that he has left the company… I emailed Mr.T who is incharge of the exits and I got the below reply to my query:

    From: Support Services

    Dear Mr xxxxxx,

    Kindly see the following company statement for an explanation as to why you are receiving a reply from supportservices@advancedglobaltrading.com:

    As a result of recent action instigated by a very small minority of our valued customer base, individual staff members of AGT have been targeted and subjected to personal allegations and in some instances inappropriate language, behaviour and personal threats which are currently being handled by our legal counsel where appropriate. AGT has always acted professionally and with common courtesy and respect to all of its clients and will not tolerate the above noted actions and behaviour towards any of its personnel.

    Therefore, all correspondence will now be dealt with via email (supportservices@advancedglobaltrading.com) and will be addressed directly from the company (AGT) as a company approved response for and on behalf of AGT. Please be assured that your enquiry will be processed and responded to as quickly as possible.

    We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

    As to your question, we have not closed – although we have significantly downscaled in order to survive the current situation; i.e. until the license is renewed, there are only costs and no income.

    With regards to the license, our directors and legal counsel are optimistic of its renewal shortly and, as soon as we have any news we will be communicating it.

    Best Regards,

    Support Services

  158. All has gone quiet! Does anybody have an update on AGT, and more specifically investors’ money? Do we have confirmation that they being investigated by the Dubai authorities? Is there a law to cover this?

  159. Can someone pls advise us on the status and next steps on this? What can we do to get our money back? Thanks!

  160. Hi guys, any update on this, it’s been a while that we didn’t get any news! Thanks.

  161. Hi All, anybody have any updates on AGT or what options we have with regards to our “investment”?

  162. Did anyone ever get a penny back from AGT since this all started? Did anyone every file a class action suit against them that we can also be a part of?

    Thank you in advance..