Three Preston men have been jailed for their parts in a multimillion pound carbon credit theft that shut down the European carbon trading market for a week, costing millions.
Father-of-three Hanif Patel, 53, of Elgin Street, Deepdale, who was the director of a PPI firm before the incident, was jailed for seven years in a hearing at Burnley Crown Court before Judge Graham Knowles QC.
His accomplice, father-of-two Mohammed Hanif Patel, 53, of St Thomas’s Road, was jailed for 42 months.
Father-of-two Ruman Patel, 31,formerly of Brook Street, Preston, but now of Addison Street, Blackburn, was sent to prison for 32 months.
A probe was launched by the National Crime Agency into the theft of 475,000 EU carbon dioxide emissions allowances (EUAs) worth £6m from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry OTE, on January 18, 2011 - following a hoax bomb scare.
It formed part of a wider theft of 1.25 million carbon credits - a form of permit allowing organisations to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be traded between firms.
The theft was discovered on January 19, 2011, but thieves had already sold the credits.
Judge Graham Knowles QC was told Hanif Patel and Mohammed Hanif Patel were involved in registering a Polish firm in Lichtenstein order to handle the stolen goods and commit fraud.
They admitted encouraging or assisting an offence, along with former petrol station worker Ayub Ibrahim, 60, of Lees Hall Road, Dewsbury, who was jailed for 42 months for his role.
Mohammmed Patel, Ayub Ibrahim and Ruman Patel were charged with a similar offence relating to another firm, Segel Zoo.