Holcim considers next move after court rejects carbon theft lawsuit

Holcim considers next move after court rejects carbon theft lawsuit
Published: 06 October 2014

Holcim is considering its options after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed its lawsuit against the European Commission over the theft of 1.6m emissions allowances in 2010.

On 18 September, the ECJ said it had rejected Holcim's arguments that the Commission should compensate the firm for around EUR17.6m for damages suffered when the online carbon trading account of its Romanian subsidiary was hacked.

In its judgment, the court ruled that Holcim must bear the losses resulting from the thefts as well as pay the Commission's legal costs in the case, which were not disclosed.

"Holcim has taken note of the General Court's judgement ... (and) we are currently analysing the decision in more detail and cannot comment any further," a Holcim spokeswoman told Reuters by email.

In November 2010, cyber criminals hacked into Holcim's account at the Romanian emissions trading registry and transferred 1.6 million so-called EU Allowances to two accounts at the Italian and Liechtenstein registries.

According to EU records, within hours the allowances passed through registry accounts in Britain, France, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic, before eventually being sold on emissions exchanges in Paris and Amsterdam.

Around 695,000 allowances were later returned to Holcim by various European authorities, but the company's spokeswoman said the remaining units have still not been recovered.

Holcim sued the Commission, which administers the bloc's electronic emissions trading network, in 2012 for failing to freeze the accounts containing the stolen units, for not returning them and for allowing other companies to turn them in for compliance under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

The Commission refused to reveal the location of the allowances, saying that under EU law the details were confidential and could only be passed to European authorities.

Holcim had claimed the EU should pay it the value of any allowances still missing, based on the market price on 16 November – the day of the theft – plus annual interest of eight per cent.

Holcim has also sued Romania's National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) over similar claims. (Source: Reuters)