Details of the dramatic move to end carbon credit fraud emerged this weekend after three members of a UK gang aiming to steal “as much money as possible” from the public purse were jailed for up to 35 years. Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal, were found guilty of stealing £38m.
Southwark Crown Court in south London heard how the gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade carbon emission allowances. The convictions, the first in the UK, turn the spotlight on a fraud that has cost European nations an estimated £4.2bn in lost tax revenue, according to the law-enforcement agency Europol.
British customs launched an investigation in 2009 after learning that French investigators had concerns about the growing trade in carbon emission certificates. The certificates – one is the equivalent of one ton of carbon dioxide or an equivalent greenhouse gas – are bought and sold by companies as part of a scheme to encourage them to reduce pollution. They are designed to be a key weapon in the battle against global warming, giving companies a financial incentive to cut their emissions and sell for profit any spare certificates they have.