Preston dad in £6m theft ordered to pay back just £1

Prague, where the carbon registry is based
Prague, where the carbon registry is based
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A former Preston man who played a role in a multimillion pound carbon credit theft that shut down the European carbon trading market for a week, costing the economy millions must pay £1 for his crimes.

Ruman Patel, 31, formerly of Brook Street, Preston, but now of Blackburn, is serving a 32 month sentence.

The father-of-two was given the £1 order at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Preston Crown Court.

Despite having no assets, the proceedings mean he can be revisited in the future if this changes, a court spokesman said.

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 permit allowing organisations to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be traded between firms. When the theft was discovered on January 19, 2011, thieves had already sold the credits.

Ruman admitted encouraging or assisting an offence relating to a firm, Segel Zoo, set up to handle the stolen goods.

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 and father-of-two Mohammed Hanif Patel, 53, of St Thomas’s Road, was jailed for 42 months.

They 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 petrol station worker Ayub Ibrahim, 60, of Lees Hall Road, Dewsbury, jailed for 42 months.

Mohammmed Patel and Ayub Ibrahim were charged with offences relating to Segel Zoo.