World News

Briton charged in carbon trading probe in Germany

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Frankfurt prosecutors said they have charged a British man with having been a member of a gang involved in fraudulent trading of carbon permits and evading about 58 million euros (43.51 million pounds) of taxes.

The move is part of an investigation relating to so-called carousel trades made in 2009 and 2010, in which buyers imported emissions permits in one European Union country without paying value-added tax (VAT) and then sold them to each other, adding VAT to the price and generating tax refunds when no tax had been paid.

The 35-year-old Briton used his Munich-based company to act as a middle-man in such trades, at the bidding of the carbon trading gang’s masterminds, the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

He turned himself in to the police at Frankfurt airport last September and has been held in custody since.

A Frankfurt court has so far sentenced 10 people to prison terms ranging from two years and nine months to almost eight years for their involvement in carbon trading scandals, which European police agency Europol has estimated cost EU governments more than 5 billion euros in lost revenues.

One of the alleged masterminds of the scheme, a 57-year-old Briton, is still in custody in Germany in connection with suspected evasion of taxes worth 136 million euros, after he was arrested in Las Vegas and later extradited to Germany.

Also, Frankfurt prosecutors in August indicted seven current and one former employee of Deutsche Bank in connection with its carbon fraud investigations.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Keith Weir