EU wins court case over stolen EU carbon permits

LONDON | Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:06am EDT

(Reuters) – A Belgian court has ruled against forcing the European Commission to publicly name companies in possession of stolen European Union carbon permits, the EU Commission said on Friday.

Earlier this year, Italian-based company TCEI took legal action against the EU Commission in order to make it disclose data about spot EU carbon permits which were stolen from its account in the Italian emissions registry last November.

A widespread cyber attack on EU emissions registries led to the theft of over 3 million permits, called EU Allowances (EUAs), between November last year and January 2011.

TCEI wanted the Commission to reveal the location of the allegedly stolen permits as well as name the owners of the account where the permits were moved.

The Commission refused to do this, saying the information was confidential and could only be given to law enforcement authorities.

On Thursday, the Belgian Court of First Instance sided with the EU Commission, ruling that “data are confidential and the company has no legitimate claim”.

“The ruling is in line with what the Commission has always defended,” said Commission spokesman Isaac Valero-Ladron.

TCIE was seeking 100,000 euros ($144,700) for every day the Commission failed to block the transfer of the alleged stolen permits and 10,000 euros for each day the Commission refused to name the account holders.

Cement manufacturer Holcim, which also had permits stolen, had also tried to join the case but that was “not procedurally possible”, the Commission said.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Jason Neely)