Holcim joins suit against EU regulator

Holcim joins suit against EU regulator
Published: 21 February 2011

The Romanian unit of Holcim Ltd plans to start legal action against the European Commission to help find 1 million stolen carbon permits, according to the attorney handling the case.

The company will join a suit started last month by Italian energy trader TCIE Srl, which is seeking as much as 100,000 euros ($136,000) a day in penalty payments from the commission after about 268,000 carbon allowances disappeared from its account in November, said Laurent Arnauts, head of the law firm representing the two companies.

“The case is gaining importance, with 1.3 million permits representing a value of about 20 million euros,” Arnauts said by phone from Brussels today.

The theft of permits from Holcim and TCIE last year was followed by computer-hacking attacks last month on at least three national carbon registries, which said more than 2 million permits were illegally transferred. This led the commission, regulator of the European Union emissions trading system, to impose a suspension on all 30 carbon centers in Europe on Jan. 19. Seven of them have been allowed to resume so far.

The commission can’t disclose information about stolen permits to anyone except for law enforcement authorities, said Isaac Valero-Ladron, EU climate spokesman. “We are confident that the court will decide in the commission’s favor,” he said.