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Austrian authorities have refused to publish the serial numbers of nearly 500,000 carbon allowances stolen from its registry in last month's cyber attack, in a move that has prompted fresh criticism of the European Commission's handling of the fraud.

The Austrian carbon registry yesterday issued a statement downplaying any risk that 488,141 illegally transferred carbon credits would re-enter the ETS because they were blocked when found in Liechtenstein and Sweden.

"The illegally transferred allowances have been frozen on accounts in Liechtenstein and Sweden. Consequently, there is no risk that these allowances are traded on the market and thus no need to publish the serial numbers of the affected allowances," it said, adding that it had filed a request for the credits to be transferred back to Vienna.

But the statement failed to satisfy many traders, who are frustrated at the failure of the authorities to provide a list of the serial numbers.

ETS spot trading partially resumed on Friday after a 15-day market freeze, in the wake of a cyber attack which saw an estimated €30m (£25m) of carbon credits stolen from the Czech national carbon registry.

Five of the 27 member states were sanctioned to reopen on Friday on the basis that they had proved their security levels to the EU, but trading volumes have remained low as traders express fears they could inadvertently purchase stolen credits.

Alessandro Vitelli of analyst IDEAcarbon told BusinessGreen that many traders are reluctant to resume buying and selling on the spot market until an official list of the stolen allowances is published.

He added that Austria's refusal to publish the serial numbers will do little to boost market confidence.

"What Austria said is like a policeman telling you: 'Move on! There's nothing to see here.' The market really wants to see a clear, unequivocal statement detailing the stolen allowances, but they're not getting that," he said.

Trading volumes were up to 180,000 tonnes yesterday from just 40,000 tonnes on Friday. But the level of trading remains well below the two to three million tonnes traded daily prior to the market freeze.

Vitelli also confirmed that many of the credits being traded are in brokered deals, rather than over the counter, because buyers feel safer purchasing from people they know.

Further registries are expected to re-open this week, but there are concerns that some registries in Eastern Europe could stay closed until March or April.

Czech authorities last week asked the EU for help in preventing nearly 1.36 million stolen carbon allowances found in the UK, Estonia and Germany re-entering the carbon market.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Swiss cement maker Holcim has yet to recover one million permits stolen by hackers in November, and 267,911 allowances have disappeared from Italy's registry.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut