Carbon credits firm valued Brazil deals at $32bn
Celestial Green, the Dublin carbon credits business involved in deals with indigenous tribes in the Amazon, at one stage envisaged its rights there creating credits with a value of up to $32 billion (€24 billion), according to filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A spokesman for the company said yesterday it was “surprised” that a case was being taken in Brazil against one of its deals there.
A federal attorney in the Brazilian state of Rondonia filed a lawsuit on December 11th which seeks to cancel a contract signed by Celestial Green Ventures and the Awo Xo Hwara indigenous community.
As part of the deal, the Irish company agreed to pay the local group $13 million over 30 years for the rights to explore carbon credits in an area of 260,000 hectares of rainforest.
“It is a new, dangerous and informal carbon credits market, fully speculative, lacking previously stipulated rules,” federal attorney Oberdan Rabelo de Santana said in his request for an injunction that would make the deal null.
In response to the move, Celestial said earlier this week it was temporarily suspending all its agreements with the indigenous tribes in Brazil.
“We are surprised as our indigenous projects have been designed to maximise the benefits to the indigenous people,” said spokesman Warren Collier.
“We currently have seven other projects which are being developed with indigenous communities in Brazil. As far as we are aware, only the Awo Xo Hwara agreement has had an application submitted by the prosecutor.”
He said the company’s projects with indigenous people prioritised the communities over any company or profit-driven objectives. It has been reported that deals negotiated by Celestial Green in Brazil ignored the state’s ownership rights and did not involve Funai, the Brazilian government’s Indian foundation.
Celestial Green Ventures plc is owned by a number of shareholders, with the largest shareholding held by Ciaran Kelly, the company’s chief executive.
During 2010 Mr Kelly became a director of a Florida company, Apollo Capital Group Inc, which made filings to the SEC about the Brazilian carbon credit projects. If successful, the projects could create potential revenues of up to $32 billion, the filings said.
Mr Kelly and a number of other directors of Celestial Green were also directors of Apollo.
However, at the end of that year the relationship between Mr Kelly and Apollo broke down, according to Mr Collier.He said Celestial Green Ventures is “very positive” about its Brazilian projects.