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Police: Carbon Crime Gangs Have Stolen 5 Billion Euros

AN accountant has been arrested following a wave of raids across Europe linked to a £156million fraud probe.

Ian Nairn was quizzed by Customs investigators after they swooped on his chartered accountants office in Ayrshire.

Strathclyde officers were present during the fraud team raid and we can reveal that Nairn, 46, was questioned in connection with the complex Europe-wide fraud.

Another seven people were arrested in Scotland butcompany director Nairn refused to reveal their identities.

The dad-of-two, who until recently lived in Fintry, Stirlingshire, was shocked to discover the scale of the alleged scam. And he told the Sunday Mail that the fraud probe relates to a company who are clients of his firm in Stewarton.

He said: “I don’t really know much about it. Customs only asked me very limited questions about my relationship with the clients.

“I’m relaxed about the whole thing but I can’t say who my clients are because of confidentiality rules.”

More than 2450 UK and German tax officers were involved in raids that also saw 13 arrests in England.

The German-led probe is into suspected cross-border fraudulent trading of carbon credits and involves $239million – around £156million – of VAT fraud.

There are 150 suspects in 50 companies across Europe.

Also known as emissions trading, carbon credits allow firms who wish to exceeed their C02 output limit to buy credits from those who pollute less.

The system is controlled by the EU but Europol admitted that up to 90 per cent of the market was fraudulent.

Police estimate organised crime gangs have stolen 5 billion euros – £4.25billion – from taxpayers.

Criminals in one EU country buy carbon credits from another country.

During the transaction, the crooks fail to pay the VAT on the trade and disappear.

Europol director Rob Wainwright said: “These criminal activities endanger the credibility of the EUEmission Trading System and lead to the loss of significant tax revenue for governments.”

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