Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Romania Asks U.K., Italy for Data Linked to CO2 Theft

By Irina Savu and Ewa Krukowska - Jan 31, 2011 

Romanian prosecutors asked the U.K., Italy and three other countries for information as they investigate the theft of carbon permits from Holcim Ltd., the world’s second-biggest cement maker.

Requests for legal cooperation were also sent to Belgium, Israel and Liechtenstein, the Bucharest-based organized crime and terrorism unit of the state prosecutor’s office said today in an e-mailed statement. The prosecutors have warrants to search information technology systems, the unit said, without elaborating.

The Romanian unit of Jonas, Switzerland-based Holcim Ltd. said Nov. 30 that about 1.6 million permits had been stolen from its accounts. Holcim asked the European Union, which oversees the national registries for electronic permits, to help track the missing allowances, saying it had recovered 600,000.

The Romanian prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the theft after the Swiss cement maker notified the organized crime and terrorism unit about 10 unauthorized transactions with the 1.6 million permits, worth 24 million euros ($33 million), from its two accounts, according to today’s statement.

The theft of permits from Holcim was followed by a series of hacking attacks in at least three European countries this month, in which 2 million allowances might have been stolen, according to EU estimates.

The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, suspended all national carbon registries on Jan. 19 and the bloc’s member states are working with Europol to track down the thieves.

To contact the reporters on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net; Ewa Krukowska in Brussels ekrukowska@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net;Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net.

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