Holcim launches appeal with EU’s top court over 2010 EUA thefts

Published 00:19 on May 4, 2015  /  Last updated at 00:19 on May 4, 2015  /  Bavardage, EMEA, EU ETS  /  No Comments

European cement maker Holcim has launched an appeal with Europe’s top court after its lawsuit against the European Commission over the theft of 1.6 million of the company’s EUAs was dismissed last year.

European cement maker Holcim has launched an appeal with Europe’s top court after its lawsuit against the European Commission over the theft of 1.6 million of the company’s EUAs was dismissed last year.

When asked for more details, a spokesman for Holcim told Carbon Pulse: “As the court proceedings are underway, we cannot comment at this stage about the status of the case.”

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) last September rejected Holcim’s case that the EC should compensate the company for nearly €18 million for damages inflicted when the online registry account of its Romanian subsidiary was hacked.

In its judgment, the court also ruled Holcim must bear the losses resulting from the theft as well as pay the Commission’s legal costs.

Holcim also sued Romania’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) over similar claims.

“The case against NEPA has been reopened. It is still in an incipient phase and we expect a ruling in the case by the end of the year,” the spokesman said.

“Given that this is an ongoing proceeding, we also cannot comment any further.”

That case had been temporarily suspended by a civil court until Romanian authorities concluded their investigation.

HACKATHON

Hackers in Nov. 2010 hacked into Holcim’s Romanian account and transferred the allowances to accounts in the Italian and Liechtenstein registries.

According to EU records, within hours the allowances were then passed through accounts in the UK, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, before eventually being sold on emissions exchanges in Paris (BlueNext) and Amsterdam (Climex).

Around 695,000 EUAs were later returned to Holcim by European authorities, but the remaining permits have not yet been recovered despite the Commission having known their exact whereabouts in the system.

Holcim sued the EC in 2012 over the matter, for failing to freeze the accounts containing the stolen allowances, for not returning them and for letting other firms surrender them for compliance.

The Commission defended its actions, citing EU law stipulating that any details regarding the allowances were confidential and could only be given to authorities.

The data shows European companies including International Power and ScottishPower have since handed in some of Holcim’s missing permits, but they claimed that they purchased them in good faith without knowing the units were stolen.

Holcim argues the EC should pay it the value of any of its EUAs still missing, based on the market price on Nov. 16, 2010 (€14.60 – the day of the theft), plus annual interest of 8%.

By Mike Szabo – mike@carbon-pulse.com

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