Europe’s largest steelmaker under investigation for state fraud and falsifying CO2 data

Europe’s largest steelmaker under investigation for state fraud and falsifying CO2 data
Europe’s largest steelmaker under investigation for state fraud and falsifying CO2 data

Agents of the Italian Finance Guard (financial police) have searched the homes of ten people, including directors, solicitors, employees and collaborators, of the steel company Acciaierie di Italia (ADI), which is being investigated for fraud against the State and manipulation of CO2 emissions data.

The steelworks of the city of Taranto (southern Italy), the largest in Europe, has been in extraordinary administration since last February, although the investigation concerns possible crimes committed before the state intervention due to disagreements with its former management, ArcelorMittal.

According to the Taranto public prosecutor’s office, ADI is alleged to have manipulated CO2 emissions records in order to benefit from EU regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in energy-intensive sectors.

To achieve this, the EU sets a limit on total emissions per industrial sector and, within this, each company is assigned a quota and a market for buying and selling quotas is created within the industry, which increases the prices of these titles and encourages reducing pollution.

The Italian steelmaker declared lower CO2 emissions than it actually had, which led the ministerial committee to allocate it free of charge in 2023 a higher number of quotas than it was actually entitled to.

To do this he also falsified the consumption of raw Materials and their stocks to alter the relationship between emission factor and activity level, the Prosecutor’s Office explained in a statement.

The ongoing investigations and searches by the Guardia de Finanzas are seeking the administrative and accounting documentation necessary for the precise reconstruction of the events, as well as to determine the exact amount of quotas that would actually correspond to ADI, the note adds.

These are “very serious crimes aimed at selling the environment and the public health “in the name of profit,” said the largest Italian consumer association, Codacons, which announced that it “will immediately become an aggrieved party in the investigation by the court on behalf of the citizens of Tarantino.”

For years, the former ILVA in Taranto has been suffering from a serious financial crisis, amid criticism of pollution, and serious liquidity deficiencies that have prevented it from settling its debts and guaranteeing its maintenance and production.

Until last February, the plant was controlled by ArcelorMittal after buying it in 2018 with the promise of cleaning it up and promoting it. In 2021, it allied itself with the Italian State, which owns 38% of its capital through Invitalia, the entity for public investments.

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