We wish to clarify that the W1W Tree Planting Initiative had no conscious part in and does not support deforestation taking place in Sarawak as could be inferred from a recent blog comment. The Initiative thanked Ridgeford Properties (RP), amongst many other sponsors, on the occasion of a tree planting on Weymouth Street with Barbara Windsor in November 2010. Mark Gazaleh, coordinator for the tree project, subsequently found himself re-quoted in a comment posted by Fitzrovia News (FN) on Sarawak Reports. Sarawak Reports maintains that RP is connected to deforestation in Sarawak. FN posted a similar allegation against RP in the context of the Weymouth Street planting. The FN allegation was subsequently retracted and an apology issued. See below.
On 28 February 2011, Fitzrovia News published an article linking Ridgeford Properties Limited to Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Malaysia. The article made a number of unfounded allegations, including claims that Ridgeford was part of a multi-billion property empire controlled by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, that this empire gained from the proceeds of illegal timber in the Malaysian State, and that Ridgeford’s Bolsover Street development was part-funded by such illegally obtained money.
We now accept that these allegations are entirely without foundation, Fitzrovia News is pleased to confirm that Ridgeford Properties Limited is not funded by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, who has no business interest in or control over the company.
We apologise unreservedly to Ridgeford Properties Limited, as well as its directors and staff, for the distress and damage caused by our article. As Ridgeford Properties have been a stakeholder in the area for over 16 years, it has kindly agreed to waive any claim for damages on the basis that it is a supporter of Fitzrovia News as a positive force in the community.