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U.K. Arrests 22 As CO2 Tax Probe Widens In Europe

U.K. officials arrested 22 people as part of the biggest European crackdown on tax fraud related to emissions trading since carbon permits were first issued in 2005.

Investigators arrested 13 people in England and eight in Scotland on April 28, Jonathan Hall, a spokesman for U.K. tax officials, said in a phone interview. At least 25 people have been arrested in U.K. and German probes this week, including another person detained by the U.K. on a European arrest warrant.

German prosecutors and tax investigators on the same day searched Deutsche Bank AG, HVB Group and RWE AG as part of raids on 230 offices and homes. Carbon prices rose as regulators moved to weed out what was the carbon market’s most-rampant form of fraud, tainting about 7 percent of trades in last year’s $125 billion market, according to estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“We went into the buildings here in Germany at the exact same minute our U.K. colleagues did over there,” Frankfurt prosecutors spokesman Guenter Wittig said in an interview today. “It all worked out very well. It’s a big success.”

The German investigation involves 180 million euros ($239 million) of possible tax evasion and is targeting 150 suspects at 50 companies, Wittig said. The U.K. Revenue & Customs office, or HMRC, also raided 81 premises in the U.K., said Hall.

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