The European Police Office, Europol, announced on Tuesday that an estimated five billion euro was lost in 2010 due to VAT-fraud in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS).
Law enforcement authorities around Europe continue to fight the criminal networks involved in the fraud, said Europol which is based in the Dutch city of the Hague, in a statement Tuesday.
In operations during 2010, several hundred offices all over Europe were raided and more than 100 people arrested.
In the latest operation on 17 December, Italian authorities carried out raids on about 150 companies in eight regions of Italy.
These operations happened just a few weeks after the Italian Power Exchange (G.M.E) halted all trading in carbon credits due to a high number of abnormal transactions. Earlier this year, authorities in France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and other countries conducted numerous operations against criminal networks involved in carbon credit fraud.
Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic and Portugal are all among the countries trying to identify the network of criminals behind this massive fraud, a fraud with links to criminal networks operating outside the EU and in other continents, like the Middle East, said Europol.
Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, commented that, “organised VAT fraud remains a significant criminal activity in Europe. It is responsible for draining huge resources from central government revenues and undermining the objective of transforming Europe into a competitive and greener economy.”
The Emissions Trading Scheme was created as a cap-and-trade system to control pollution by providing economic incentives to companies for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.