Briton charged in Germany for conspiracy over emissions certificates

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German prosecutors have charged a British national with conspiring to evade taxes worth 136 million euros (£106.5 million) while buying and selling carbon emissions certificates, they said on Monday.

The case stems from an investigation into so-called carousel trades in the European Union’s carbon market in 2009 and 2010, in which some buyers imported emissions permits in one EU country without paying value-added tax (VAT). The buyers then sold them to each other, adding VAT to the price and generating tax refunds when no tax had been paid.

The 58-year old Briton, who was not named for legal reasons, was a mastermind of the scheme via a Dubai-based firm he controlled as well as through four companies based in Germany, the Frankfurt prosecutor said on Monday, adding he was helped by accomplices.

The man was arrested in Las Vegas in May 2014 and extradited to Germany in September 2015, where he has since been held in custody awaiting trial.

Several Deutsche Bank employees are alleged to have been involved in the case, for which court proceedings started in February.

Deutsche Bank’s Frankfurt headquarters were raided by around500 police and tax inspectors in late 2012 as part of the investigation.

In all, Frankfurt prosecutors have investigated more than two dozen current or former employees at Germany’s largest bank.

The regional court of Frankfurt has already sentenced eleven people to serve up to 7 years 10 months in jail as part of the case, the prosecutor said.

European police agency Europol has estimated the VAT fraud case has cost taxpayers more than 5 billion euros since 2008.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Mark Potter