Europe’s top court has dismissed an appeal by cement giant LafargeHolcim in its lawsuit against the European Commission over the 2010 theft of 1.6 million EU Allowances.
Holcim Romania, a subsidiary of what is now LafargeHolcim, filed the appeal nearly a year ago after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Sep. 2014 rejected the company’s case that the commission should compensate it for some €18 million after its account at Romania’s emissions trading registry was hacked.
Holcim filed the lawsuit against the EC in 2012 for failing to freeze the online accounts containing the stolen allowances, for not returning the units to the company, and for allowing other firms to surrender them for compliance.
In its ruling released Thursday, the ECJ rejected all 13 grounds of Holcim’s appeal, which was comprised of arguments again mainly targeting the commission’s refusal to help recover the permits.
The ECJ also ordered Holcim Romania to pay the European Commission’s legal costs.
At the time of writing, LafargeHolcim had not responded to questions from Carbon Pulse seeking comment.
According to EU records, the 1.6 million units were in Nov. 2010 transferred from Holcim’s Romanian account to registries in Italy and Liechtenstein, then moved on to the UK, France, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, before eventually being sold on emissions exchanges BlueNext and Climex.
Some 695,000 EUAs were later returned to Holcim by European authorities, but the remaining permits were not recovered by the company despite the commission knowing their exact location in the registry system.
The EC defended its actions, citing EU law stipulating that any details regarding the allowances were confidential and could only be given to authorities.
The EU records show European companies including International Power and ScottishPower have since surrendered some of Holcim’s missing EUAs against their own emissions, but the firms claimed they purchased the permits in good faith without knowing they were stolen.
Holcim had argued that the EC should pay it the value of its missing units based on their €14.60 market price on Nov. 16, 2010 – the day of the theft – plus annual interest of 8%.
In addition to this lawsuit, Holcim also last October filed an appeal in its case against Romania’s Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) after a Romanian court last year rejected the cement maker’s claims.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org