January 21, 2011 / 3:47 PM / in 7 years

Czechs say to track, invalidate stolen CO2 permits

* 1.3 million permits missing from six different accounts

* OTE working to identify the accounts holding them now

* Cyber attack after bomb threat, evacuation at registry

PRAGUE, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The Czech carbon permits registry said it aimed to locate 1.3 million stolen carbon permits and either reverse the fraudulent transactions, which led to a halt in trading across Europe this week, or invalidate the permits.

The European Union imposed a week-long freeze on Wednesday on spot trade in its carbon market, the bloc’s chief weapon for fighting climate change, after the theft of emissions permits called EU allowances (EUAs) from accounts in the Czech Republic and Austria.

Czech registry operator OTE said on Friday it was investigating and aimed to identify the accounts to which 1.3 million missing permits went after the incident.

“This search will be completed in several days,” OTE said in a statement.

“The OTE will, in cooperation with the European registry operator CITL, propose a solution through reverse transfers or invalidation of these permits.”

The registry operator said a total of 1.3 million permits went missing from six accounts.

They were transferred first to accounts in Poland, Italy, Estonia, Lichtenstein and Germany and are now in a number of other accounts in several European countries, it said.

The cyber attack occurred between noon on Jan. 18 and the morning of Jan. 19, it said.

OTE said police received a bomb threat at 1230 local time on Jan. 18, which forced the registry to evacuate its premises and operate the system from a back-up site for several hours, which could have been the time of the cyber attack.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka, editing by Jane Baird

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