A Dewsbury man has today been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for his part in an international multi-million pound carbon credit fraud.
Ayyub Ibrahim, 61, was part of a group involved in stealing half-a-million carbon credits from the Czech Republic’s ‘Registry’.
At the time of the cyber attack in January 2011, the credits would have sold for £7m Euros.
Carbon credits represent permits that allow a company to emit carbon dioxide, but can also be traded.
The men set up two separate businesses in Poland as a front for their criminality.
A Preston man set up Segel Sp Zoo, while Huntingdon Sp Zoo was established by Ayyub Ibrahim, of Lees Hall Road, and two other men from Preston, one of whom was Ibrahim’s cousin.
They then planned to hack into the Czech Republic registry.
Once into the registry, this would provide them with the administrative rights to transfer the carbon credit – they could then be moved on to a legitimate dealer before the loss was even recognised.
The attack was also helped by the making a hoax bomb call which caused the offices to be evacuated on the day of the attack.
Following the theft the European Commission suspended trading on all 30 national Registries.
Intelligence shared by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Czech Police showed the companies were set up for the sole purpose of transferring the stolen credits.
The joint investigation was conducted across a number of jurisdictions – requiring international cooperation from China, Hong Kong, India and Dubai.
No credits/funds have yet been recovered.
When all four men were arrested, officers from the Czech Republic came to the UK to assist with the searches.
Ibrahiam was arrested in June 2012 and admitted the offence in June of this year.
He was sentenced to 42 months in jail.
NCA Branch Commander Ian Betts said: “This criminal investigation concerned a ‘virtual’ commodity which can be traded electronically in large numbers and at great speed across international borders.
“Let me be clear this is not a victimless crime – it hits the pockets of every taxpayer in the UK.
“Officers in the National Crime Agency will work with their partners both here and internationally to ensure criminals realise international borders will not protect their illegal activity from law enforcement and they will be brought before the courts.”