EPPO investigates EU ETS fraud in Bulgaria, SEE Energy News
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) announced that its Bulgarian office has launched an investigation into possible fraud regarding the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), resulting in losses of millions of euros to the EU and national budgets.
According to the press release, a private company responsible for verifying the greenhouse gas emissions of thermal power plants and heating plants in Bulgaria is under investigation for allegedly submitting falsified reports to the competent national authorities. Namely, from 2017 to date, the company knowingly submitted false data and documentation for the annual reports on greenhouse gas emissions produced by thermal power plants and heating plants in Bulgaria, in order to under-declare their emissions output.
Based on the evidence, it is estimated that the under-declared emissions submitted to the national authorities resulted in losses to the EU and national budgets of millions of euro, in unpaid amounts for actually-consumed greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the under-reported emissions also had an impact on the air quality in Bulgaria.
More than 40 searches have already taken place and more than 70 witnesses have been interviewed. The investigative officers have seized mobile phones, laptops and voluminous documentation related to the investigation. The investigative activities are still ongoing.
The management of coal-fired TPP Maritsa 3 said that the Directorate General for Combating Organized Crime and the State Agency for National Security are currently conducting a probe at the power plant, pledging their full cooperation in the investigation process.
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