This year, I have written three posts on REDD-Monitor about an Australian “businessman” called David Nilsson and his activities in Peru. I suggested that he should receive the award of Australian carbon cowboy of the year, after his interactions with the Matsés Indigenous Peoples.
They are reposted here in full:
- 3rd May 2011: AIDESEP and COICA condemn and reject “carbon cowboy” David Nilsson and demand his expulsion from Peru
- 5th August 2011: “Carbon cowboy” David Nilsson denounces indigenous chief in Peru
- 10th August 2011: A “carbon cowboy”, internet censorship and REDD-Monitor
My reasons for re-posting here should be self-explanatory if you read all three articles.
By Chris Lang, posted on REDD-Monitor, 3rd May 2011
David Nilsson is the latest candidate for the award of Australian carbon cowboy of the year. He recently turned up in Peru and attempted to persuade the remote Matsés indigenous people to hand over the carbon rights to their forests. He promised to share 50% of the profits with the communities and told them that they would make billions of dollars, according to a report in the La Región newspaper.
But Nilsson has no experience of developing carbon projects or of forest conservation. He does seem to have a chequered past, to put it mildly. According to the 14 November 1996 Parliamentary Record of Queensland (pdf file 472.6 KB, see page 4195), he sold six non-existent plots of land in Queensland to people in Nauru (the world’s smallest island nation), for A$70,000 each. La Región also reports on alleged scams by Nilsson in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Nilsson presented a contract written in English to the Matsés. A Matsés representative explained to La Región that Nilsson told them that “the World Bank and the UN only recognize the English language and the law of England and Wales for carbon projects.” The contract includes a clause making the contract secret and showing the agreement to others would be a “material breach.”
Nilsson’s company is called Carbon Sustainable Resources Limited, with an address in Hong Kong and a website “under development.” However, there is neither an office, nor anyone working there. Instead, Nilsson has a “virtual office” contract with Servcorp to take phone messages for him.
From 25-29 April 2011, COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin), AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) and eight regional organisations, federations and representative communities of Amazonian indigenous peoples held a national workshop on “Climate Crisis, Redd+ and Indigenous Redd.” On 27 April 2011, they produced the “Declaración de Iquitos: No hay Redd+ sin Territorios, Derechos y Autonomía de los Pueblos Indígenas,” (pdf file 333.7 KB – in Spanish), signed by 22 organisations. The statement includes two paragraphs rejecting Nilsson’s attempted deal with the Matsés people.
Below is a rough translation of a report about the meeting from AIDESEP’s website (the original in Spanish is here: “No hay Redd+ sin Territorios, Derechos y Autonomía de los Pueblos Indígenas” – thanks to Derek Wall for the translation – I got a bit more help with the two paragraphs about Nilsson, in italics, which are extracted from the Declaration of Iquitos).
Below that is a translation of the article in La Región (the original in Spanish is here: “Piden que Defensoría del Pueblo investigue a presunto estafador de nacionalidad australiana“).
No Redd+ free Territories, Rights and Autonomy of Indigenous Peoples
AIDESEP, April 28, 2011.
Meeting in the city of Iquitos, eight regional organizations, including the federations of the Amazonian people gathered in AIDESEP and the solidarity of the CONACAMI, denounced the danger of catastrophe and destruction of the Amazon basin, expressed in the irregularity of the seasons, massive flooding, frequent droughts, disappearing rivers, species extinction, natural disasters, agricultural losses and increased disease.
The Apus meeting noted that there is a natural climate change, but the development model leads to global warming that generates gaseous pollutants from the industrialized countries and is exacerbated by deforestation, predation and pollution of local mining, monocultures, biofuel plantations, large hydro, and improper practices of subsistence.
The meeting called for the reduction of global warming gases, changing the lifestyle of the dominant economic and social system and stressed the historical ecological debt of a handful of powerful countries who use an average of 3.8 global hectares per capita for consumption while the majority survive in poverty using 1.4 Ha while recognizing the contribution of indigenous peoples to humanity to keep alive this planet for thousands of years and wants to destroy the last century.
They warned that the draft Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation – Redd + or the program of sustainable resource management, approved at the Cancun Summit of 2010 of the Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC is driven towards false solutions for global climate aggression, which will make speculative financial gains, but it will not prevent limit reaching the limit temperature rises to three degrees of temperature, where global climate and environmental disasters will be irreversible.
We condemn and reject the Hong Kong company SCRL (“Sustainable Carbon Resources Limited,” represented by the Australian national David John Nilsson) that is dividing and pressuring the Matsés indigenous people of Peru, to sign a business contract for carbon offsets, in which our brothers have 420,000 hectares of conserved forests, giving complete control to a company that has only $10,000 of capital, which ends up controlling the carbon, forests, intellectual property and the way of life of the Matsés people, and reveals his ulterior motives, by forcing them to sign a contract in English that is subject to English laws and courts, without a date of expiration, and he is threatening to press charges against all those who condemn this scam.
We demand the intervention of the public prosecutor’s office and the expulsion of this capitalist Nilsson from Peru. This is an unscrupulous example of the “Redd bubble” similar to 100 other carbon projects involving scams worldwide (Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Congo, etc) and others who are trying to make contracts under false pretenses in the Madre de Dios, Amazon and San Martin regions of Peru, among others, where they run over the rights of indigenous peoples seeking to control the forest and carbon of indigenous territories, dividing our people with non-existent illusions of being millionaires; the promoters of Redd+ (the Peruvian Government, multilateral banks and the UN) have the duty to intervene and stop this “bubble” and scams such as the above example.
(Published on page 2 of the newspaper La Región, Monday, April 4, 2011)
Submitted by Region in NEWS, POLICE
Ask for the Office of the Defender of the People to investigate an alleged con man of Australian citizenship
-Members of the Movement in the Amazon for Tribal Subsistence and Economic Sustainability (MATSES)
-Individual wants them to sign documents which cede territory in order to sell overseas as carbon credits of conservation.
-Request that the Office of the Defender of the People provide a lawyer in order to look at the case directly.
By: Luz Marina Herrera.
Thus it was unveiled by the Matsés Chief of the community “Estirón” (District of Yaquerana – Colonia Angamos-frontier with Brazil) Daniel Jiménez Huamán, who along with a companion came to the local Office of the Defender of the People where they were greeted by Lisbeth Castro, who received all the documentation to be analyzed and investigated immediately.
An Australian citizen, David Nilsson, has a negative background in his country.
“The man has had a meeting with a group of Matsés in Iquitos, has offered to provide for the education of the young people there for 15 years, training them and then they can take charge of the work that he now wants to do overseas. He said that we will sign documents for our territory in order that he can make sales through carbon credits that are interchanged for the amount of pollution that is sequestered by the zone offered.
What we have been able to investigate briefly is that he had problems in his country in a similar situation, therefore we now want for them to investigate him to find out if it is a true and formal offering or it is false and he wants to cheat the people and the country of Peru with the story about the environmental services because there are not any over there as it is the Ministry of the Environment who handles this issue,” said Daniel Jimenez.
Effectively, they have managed to make an extensive list for Office of the Defender of the People, which specify the following:
“He says he is seeking the environmental services and carbon credits for the Matsés Native Community. Two weeks ago the above-mentioned Nilsson, brought the Chiefs of the 14 Matsés communities to Iquitos to give them a Power Point presentation about carbon. He said that he would share 50% of the profits saying that Matsés are going to win billions of dollars with him selling carbon certificates for them.
The 14 guests (Matsés chiefs) signed a document inviting Nilsson to visit the Matsés Community on the April 15, 2011 to present its proposal to the community. Acquiring information about his past, we know that Nilsson has never developed a carbon project and this concerns us. He has been a real estate broker from Australia and has a background making scams in other countries and then fleeing there. In a small district of the name Nauru (near Australia) was involved in a scam selling land without titles.
Nilsson stole 420 thousand dollars and then 70 thousand dollars for 6 lots delivered to 6 potential victims, afterwards trying to hiding the fact, stating that the money was a loan and not profit. All this you can see on the page:
Likewise, we know about his alleged scam of the people from Malaysia, who he told that he had the support of the Government of Queensland. After those alleged scams he fled to other countries and is now in our Amazon and we fear that he wants to defraud us and thus the Peruvian State, therefore we ask for urgent research by the competent authorities,” write the Matsés.
In addition, they mentioned the names of Ike and Cecile Villanueva at
cecille[AT]ienergyglobal[DOT]com (phone: +61 7542-81998). Adding that they worked with Nilsson in the Philippines seeking support for a project, who would have communicated to the Matsés by telephone that the mentioned person was a con man, even stealing the PowerPoint presentation on carbon which was made by Cecille and not by Nilsson.
“Apparently, he is now deceiving the Matsés because the Contract which he has made and not yet signed, is written in English and Nilsson said that it was necessary to have this agreement only under the law of England and Wales. Adding that the World Bank and the UN only recognize the English language and the law of England and Wales for carbon projects, but this is not the case. We believe that he wants it to be that way in order to mislead us and the Peruvians, because one can not easily read it and therefore not be able sue him.
Even in Clause 15.3 of the proposed Contract in English, it indicates that this agreement between him and the Matsés is a “SECRET” that belongs to him and if the Matsés show the agreement to others, it says that it would be a “material breach” and that Mr. Nilsson may end the agreement at his choosing. He only wants an agreement with the Matsés to begin making his money with advanced sales of carbon certificates of the Matsés, as done in countries such as Nauru, the Philippines and Malaysia,” wrote the Matsés leader.
They add that some months ago Nilsson made same proposal to the regional government, mentioning that he would give them 50% of the profits. But the regional government rejected his proposal, requesting 70% and that he show them the financial sources for the carbon project. Nilsson, – according to the information – was unable to show where would get the money to start the project, thus ending the negotiations with Gorel, and starting with the Matsés Indians.
“After the investigation we know that there is no likelihood of success for the Matsés people and therefore the NGO-MATSES has withdrawn any support for Nilsson, exposing the truth before the Office of the Defender of the People. About the exploitation of the indigenous people AIDESEP is already aware, who are taking immediate action to fully clarify the “audacity” of Nilsson with the Matsés.
Also they found a document where it says that Nilsson has a business (Carbon Sustainable Resources Limited in Hong Kong), but it is misleading because he has no office or any employee there. He has a “virtual office” (contracted with http://www.servcorp.net) to answer phones in Hong Kong – nothing more. If Nilsson does not meet the agreement with Matsés, it would be impossible to make a complaint against his company over there because it does not live there and does not have an office in Hong Kong,” he explained to Office of the Defender of the People, asking for a lawyer to be present during the negotiations on April 15th with Nilsson.
UPDATE – 3 May 2011: Clarification that the non-existent land that Nilsson sold was in Queensland and the buyers were in Nauru.
By Chris Lang, posted on REDD-Monitor, 5th August 2011
Earlier this year, the Matsés indigenous people rejected Australian businessman David Nilsson’s offer of billions of dollars in return for handing over the rights to the carbon stored in their forests. Apparently in retaliation, Nilsson has now filed a criminal complaint against the Matsés chief of the community of Estiron, Daniel Jiménez.
AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) previously rejected Nilsson’s proposed deal with the Matsés people and demanded his expulsion from Peru. In a statement on its website, AIDESEP describes the criminal complaint as “yet another assault on the indigenous people who defend the planet from climate change”.
Meanwhile, two articles from the Courier Mail provide more information about Nilsson’s past. The first article, dated 15 November 1996, describes how Nilsson was accused in Australia’s Parliament of a land scam. In the second, dated 22 February 1997, a public servant says of Nilsson, “I wish I never met him.” Click on the images below for the articles.
In Parliament, then-Member of Parliament Jim Pearce accused Nilsson of selling non-existent plots of land to people from Nauru. The tiny island is a phosphate rock island in the South Pacific Ocean. The phosphate was mined for decades, leaving little more than a moonscape. But the money from the mining made the people of Nauru rich, at least until the phosphate ran out.
Leo Keke is former Minister of Justice on Nauru. In a recent statement about Nilsson, he wrote:
He came armed with sophisticated documents of titles to land owned by a company called Darling Downs Development P/L of which he is the major or sole owner. He brought contract investment documents supposedly securing an investors interest in the lands. He conducted a workshop on the investment and how foreigners could circumvent the Australia Foreign Investment Board requirements of buying land in Australia by foreigners. He was very persuasive and manipulative…
He left with over $1m in investment, false promises etc. He made fools of the innocent and simple Nauruan investors. He did so in the most calculative manner to divest them of their monies forever. Some people tried to go after him but found his tracks were difficult to follow. Soon after he left he disbanded the Darling Downs Development company without a trace of assets etc. I suspect it was a shelf company worth $2.
Nilsson denies any misconduct. Nilsson was interviewed recently by journalist Patrick Bodenham, for an article titled, “Carbon cowboys”, in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Nilsson claimed the affair was overplayed by the Queensland Labor Party, because of Nilsson’s association with the head of the state’s Premier’s Department, Peter Ellis. “Jim Pearce is taking a pot shot at the government by aligning me with the co-ordinator general,” he said.
Nilsson, in fact, denies everything. On 31 July 2011, he commented on a previous post on REDD-Monitor about his activities in Peru:
How about you take the time to interview me and get the really facts you have never tried to contact me. All you have done is copy some one elses false and missing leading statement made some changers to suit yourself no research.
REDD-Monitor has sent a series of questions to Nilsson and looks forward to publishing his response in a future post on REDD-Monitor.
Translation of AIDESEP’s statement (click here for the original):
Criminal complaint filed against Matsés chief for defending his community against a shady businessman
AIDESEP, July 21, 2011. In what represents yet another assault on the indigenous people which defend the planet from climate change, the Matsés chief of the community of Estiron in the Loreto region, Daniel Jimenez, was denounced by an Australian citizen, David John Nilsson, in revenge because the indigenous leader did not accept his suspicious offers, but instead, asked the Office of the Defender of the People to investigate this person who offered “big profits” to the indigenous communities through the sale of carbon offsets.
The plaintiff (Nilsson) has a history of committing fraud in the Nauru and Malaysia by selling land without titles, as well as having been denounced in the Parliament of Queensland, Australia because he lied in various foreign countries that he had the support of his Government’s officials for off-shore land sales.
According to the investigations of a technical team of AIDESEP, Nilsson has a company that is incorporated in Hong Kong, although he does not live there nor does he have a physical office in the area.
The connection of this Australian citizen to Peru dates back to October 2010, when he arrived in the country and he made a business offer to the Regional Government of Loreto for a carbon offset deal and to share the profits 50-50. The regional Government requested for him to show the financial sources for this project; however, he could not do so and the project did not materialize.
In light of this failure, Nilsson returned to Peru in February of this year, made contact with the Matsés Native Community and insisted on their participation in his project. However, Daniel Jiménez, chief of the community of Estiron decided to go to the Office of the Defender of the people and to AIDESEP in order to consult about the feasibility of the project and whether it was normal for a person to propose a business deal where the documents that were to be signed were written in English.
That was the sin of Jiménez: to request for information, and for this reason, Nilsson has filed a criminal complaint against him in the 5th Joint Provincial Criminal Prosecutor of the Maynas Province. Given this fact, AIDESEP has made a commitment to provide legal support to this brother who is being accused in revenge because he exposed a person who owes many debts to justice.
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL POLICE OF PERU
Mr.: Daniel Manquid JIMENEZ HUANAN (41)
Address: Native Community of Estiron – Chobayacu Creek
By means of the present document, you are duly NOTIFIED, in order that you meet before the V-FPM-Maynas situated in Morona Street No. 148, on the day of Monday, 18th of July 2011 at 10:00 of the morning, in order to carry out the evaluation of the merits of the complaint filed by the person of David John Nilsson (Australian National) for the alleged crime of coercion, violation of correspondence, aggravated theft of property, fraud against the State, extortion in the form of blackmail, aggravated computer crime, false statement against justice, false administrative declaration against the public faith, forgery of private documents and generic falsehood in grievance of Mr. Nilsson.
Angamos Colony, 13 of July 2011.
Printed name: Daniel M. Jiménez Huanán
No. of ID. : 05307482
HECTOR F. CARBAJAL PEÑA
HEAD ACC. PIVCT-ANGAMOS
MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR
POLICIA NACIONAL DEL PERU
Señor : Daniel Manquid JIMENEZ HUANAN (41)
Domicilio: Comunidad Nativa el Estiron – Quebrada Chobayacu
Mediante el presente documento queda Ud. debidamente NOTIFICADO, para que concurra ante la V-FPM-Maynas sitio en la calle Morona Nro. 148, para el día lunes 18 Julio del 2011 a horas 10:00 de la mañana, a fin de llevarse a cabo la diligencia de reflexión a mérito de la denuncia interpuesta por la persona de David John Nilsson (Nacionalidad Australiana) por presunta coacción del delito por violación de correspondencia contra el patrimonio hurto agravado, estafa contra el patrimonio, extorsión en la modalidad de chantaje, delito informático agravado, contra la falsa declaración de justicia, falsa declaración administrativa, contra la fe pública, falsificación de documentos privados y falso genérico en agravio de Señor Nilsson.
Colonia Angamos, 13 de Julio del 2011.
Post-firma: Daniel M. Jiménez Huanán
DNI Nro.: 05307482
HECTOR F. CARBAJAL PEÑA
JEFE ACC. PIVCT-ANGAMOS
UPDATE – 7 August 2011: Yesterday, REDD-Monitor received a copy of the original notification (dated 13 July 2011) complete with translation to English. This has therefore been substituted for the notification previously posted (dated 15 July 2011).
By Chris Lang, Posted on REDD-Monitor, 10th August 2011
Recently, an Australian businessman, visited Peru and attempted to set up a REDD-type deal with the indigenous Matsés people. The Matsés rejected his approach and AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) demanded his expulsion from Peru. REDD-Monitor has (so far) written two posts about this story.
This morning REDD-Monitor received an email from Bluehost, REDD-Monitor’s web hosting provider. The email stated that Bluehost had received a “report of Terms of Service Violations”. Bluehost demanded that all images and references to the name of the Australian businessman be removed from the website.
Bluehost’s Terms of Service include a series of “prohibited uses”, including this one:
Private Information and Images. Subscribers may not post or disclose any personal or private information about or images of children or any third party without the consent of said party (or a parent’s consent in the case of a minor).
Because I don’t really want Bluehost to pull the plug on REDD-Monitor, the Australian businessman’s name has (for the time-being, at least) been replaced throughout REDD-Monitor with this image: .
It’s difficult to believe that Bluehost really intends this clause to be used to prevent any website hosted on Bluehost’s servers from using anyone else’s name without first getting their consent. But that is what David Nilsson appears to be doing (I’m assuming that Nilsson sent the complaint to Bluehost). This interpretation of Bluehost’s Terms of Service would make it just about impossible to write anything critical about anyone on any website hosted by Bluehost. It also appears to be in breach of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
I have pointed this out to Bluehost. Meanwhile, REDD-Monitor’s discussions with Bluehost are ongoing.
The matter is somewhat complicated by the fact that not long ago, David Nilsson commented on a previous post on REDD-Monitor asking for an interview, in order that he could explain the “really facts”. Perhaps foolishly, given his subsequent complaint to Bluehost, he used his real name.
When REDD-Monitor sent a series of questions to Nilsson, he replied as follows:
From: David Nilsson
To: Chris Lang
Date: 6 August 2011 11:35
Subject: Live Interview
Dear Mr Lang
I would be delighted to do a live interview with you face to face please provide me with a time and place.
I pointed out that as Nilsson is based in Australia, meeting face to face would be both a waste of money and a would result in unnecessary carbon emissions. I offered an interview by skype or that Nilsson could record his answers and send them to me.
That was three days ago. Since when I’ve heard nothing from Nilsson except via Bluehost with his complaint about the use of his “personal information”. Here, for the record, are REDD-Monitor’s questions for Nilsson. REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting Nilsson’s answer.
From: Chris Lang
Sent: Friday, 5 August 2011 7:13 PM
Subject: Interview for redd-monitor.org
Dear Mr. Nilsson,
Thanks for getting in touch via your comment on REDD-Monitor. I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions about your activities in Peru and elsewhere.
1. Please describe your background and how you became a carbon trader. When did you set up the company Sustainable Carbon Resources Limited? How many people are employed in the company? Could you explain why the company is registered in Hong Kong? For several months, the company website was “under development”. It now seems to have disappeared. Could you please explain why your company, which promised “billions of dollars” to the Matsés does not even have a functioning website?
2. Has Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd produced any documentation about its forest carbon activities? If so, I would be grateful if you could send me a copy. Has the company raised any financing to carry out its forest carbon activities?
3. Why did you decide to travel to Peru? And why did you choose the Matsés people for your first carbon deal in that country?
4. Do you have any previous experience of establishing forest conservation projects, or of working with indigenous peoples? Did you employ an anthropologist to help with translation and with contacting the Matsés people, for example?
5. Did you contact the Peruvian government before travelling to Iquitos to inform them about your proposed project? Is any government permissions required for this sort of project in Peru?
6. Which NGOs did you work with in Peru? Did you contact AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) before attempting to set up your carbon deal with the Matsés? If not, why not?
7. REDD-Monitor has seen a “Joint Venture Agreement” between Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd and the Matses Indigenous People. I assume you hired a legal company to write this document. Could you please explain who wrote this contract and why the contract is written in English.
8. In a previous post on REDD-Monitor, I described you as having “a chequered past”. You have been accused in the Australian Parliament of selling non-existent plots of land in Queensland to investors in Nauru. Leo Keke, a former Minister of Justice on Nauru has written that you “made fools of the innocent and simple Nauruan investors.” Could you please explain exactly what happened with the land deal in Queensland.
9. I understand you have also had business dealings in the Philippines, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Could you please describe these projects. Have you, so far, established any successful forest carbon projects? Have you sold any carbon credits from any of these projects?
10. There is a great deal of discussion among REDD proponents about free, prior and informed consent. Could you please explain how you intend to carry out a process of free, prior and informed consent in setting up your projects in indigenous territories.
11. Carbon trading is one of the most controversial REDD issues. Could you please explain how your proposed project with the Matsés would generate carbon credits. What exactly does Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd intend to do in order to ensure that the carbon stored in the Matsés’ forests remains in the forest? The Joint Venture Agreement mentions “sustainable forest management” – could you please explain what you understand by this term, how you define it and how (and who) would determine whether any logging carried out in the name of “sustainable forest management” is in fact sustainable.
12. Could you also explain how trading the carbon stored in forests will help address climate change, since for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer who will use the carbon credit to continue pollution. In other words, while REDD may reduce emissions in one place, selling carbon credits will ensure continued burning of fossil fuels somewhere else.
If you have anything else you would like to add that isn’t covered in these questions, please do so.
The interview process on REDD-Monitor is as follows: first you answer the questions, then I ask any follow up questions to clarify your responses. Once you’ve answered the follow up questions, I do an edit which I send to you for re-writes, edits etc that you want to do. The interview will be published in full.
I look forward to hearing from you, please consider your response to be on the record.
Regards, Chris Lang