On 15 November 2016, Dutch journalist Okke Ornstein was arrested when he arrived at Tocumen International Airport in Panama. Monte Friesner, a Canadian who lives in Panama, filed a complaint about what Ornstein had written on his website about Friesner’s business practices. In Panama, defamation is a criminal offence.
EcoPlanet Bamboo is an innovative forestry company focused on integrated bamboo plantations and associated processing. We focus on the provision of a secure and certified source of fiber for timber manufacturing industries and markets globally. We currently operate in Central America, Southern and West Africa.
At the beginning of December 2015, Troy Wiseman was in Paris. The CEO and co-founder of EcoPlanet Bamboo was there as part of the Nicaraguan government delegation to COP 21, the UN climate change negotiations. Wiseman’s Paris trip came just a few days before Wiseman wrote to the people unfortunate enough to have invested in his company’s “Bamboo bonds” to let them know that their investment had gone pear-shaped.
Property Frontiers is an Oxford-based investment firm. According to the company’s website, Property Frontiers is “an investment company with a reputation for offering the best-performing international property and alternative investments to both first time and experienced investors”.
EcoPlanet Bamboo runs bamboo plantations in Nicaragua, South Africa and Ghana. A UK company called EcoPlanet Bamboo (UK) Ltd sold “bamboo bonds” with a promise of “a 500% return on investment over a 15 year period” on an investment of US$50,000. But in December 2015, EcoPlanet Bamboo wrote to bondholders to tell them that their investment was not doing particularly well.
Between 2 May 2011 and 24 October 2012 a London-based company called MH Carbon sold more than four million carbon credits to members of the public as investments. The carbon credits were worthless and investors lost their money. The company took at least £14.3 million from retail investors.
A company called EcoPlanet Bamboo (UK) Ltd launched a “bamboo bond” in 2011. Investors were encouraged to hand over their money, which would be used to establish bamboo plantation in Nicaragua.
Camille Rebelo, one of the co-founders of EcoPlanet Bamboo, claimed that an investment of US$50,000 would see a return of 500% over 15 years. “It’s a guaranteed return to the investor”, she said.
Scams and frauds were the top stories on REDD-Monitor in 2014. The previous year, all ten of the most popular stories were about companies selling carbon credits as investments. This year the top seven stories were about scams.