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.
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.
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.
Earlier this week two men were jailed for their role in London-based scam companies that sold carbon credits as investments. Michale Foran and Kallan Henry were jailed for four-and-a-half years and one-and-a-half years respectively.
In January 2016, Thorn Medical, a healthcare company, announced that it was planning to list “within the next two months” on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of £350 million. In February 2016, Lord Beaverbrook joined Thorn Medical as Chairman. In October 2016, Thorn Medical wrote to its shareholders to tell them that the company had withdrawn from its listing on the London Stock Exchange, but that a related US company would list on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in January 2017.
I’ve been writing about boiler rooms and investment scams for the last four years. I started in May 2012 with a post about a warning from the Financial Services Authority about the dangers of buying carbon credits as investments.
Yesterday, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Financial Corporation launched a US$152 million bond aimed at supporting REDD and carbon trading. The deal demonstrates just about everything that’s wrong with REDD.
Three years ago, I wrote a post about a Dubai-based Eventus Alternatives, a company that specialised in selling carbon credits to retail investors. A week after the post, Eventus Alternatives’ solicitors threatened to sue me for US$250,000. Three years later, the company’s ex-director, Phil Wombwell, wrote a nice email asking me to remove the post.