ILLEGAL TRADE ROUND-UP – FEBRUARY 2020
In this round-up: EFCTC seminar to raise the awareness of the financial community on illegal trade in HFCs; the challenge for SMEs; Italian fines for breaches of the F-Gas Regulation announced; and seizures of refrigerant in Bulgaria.
EFCTC and its Investigation Agency, Kroll, held a seminar in London to raise the awareness of the financial community on illegal trade in HFCs, emphasising that essential that the financial community should be fully aware of this issue and that it checks and, if appropriate red flags any financial transactions that may involve the purchase of HFCs. There was an active discussion between the financial sector and the panel of experts in compliance, regulatory and financial crime that focused on the detail of the illegal trade and the possible actions that can be taken. The press release can be read here.
The Italian government has set potential fines for breaches of the European F-Gas Regulation 517/2014 at €5,000 to €100,000 for violations including intentional release of HFC refrigerants, system repairs and leak checks and controls (see Cooling Post). A study for EFCTC (see press release) in 2019 had shown big holes in Member State implementation and enforcement of the F-Gas Regulation and the announcement by Italy is a very positive.
A seminar by SMEunited and its Austrian member WKÖ in the European Parliament concluded that the implementation of the F-Gas Regulation is very challenging. The effects of illegal trade in HFCs were discussed, including the impact of very poor quality illegal refrigerants jeopardizing the safety and the good functioning of many appliances (see report on SMEunited website).
Seizures of illegal HFCs and enforcement: BULGARIA: Customs officers seized 60 cylinders of refrigerant totalling 634.5kg, at the border with Turkey. The identity of the refrigerants was not given in the customs office statement but did not comply with F-gas Regulation 517/2014 (see Cooling Post).