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Calls to illegal HFC “hot line” lead to significant seizures

BELGIUM: The EFCTC’s illegal refrigerant Action Line received 111 reports of suspicious black market trading in HFCs in 2020 – 30% of which originated from Italy.

Following receipt of this information, the EFCTC’s investigation agency Kroll subsequently prepared 74 evidence packs that were passed on to EU enforcement authorities and the European anti-fraud office, OLAF. 

The Action Line was established in 2019 by the EFCTC – the refrigerant suppliers association – as a confidential “hotline” for whistleblowers keen to end the considerable European black market trade in HFCs.

The evidence supplied is said to have helped in some of the 13 seizures of illegal HFCs that have taken place in Europe. The biggest seizure in 2020 was in Romania, with a shipment coming from Turkey, in which customs officials found more than 7,000 cylinders in several trucks. 

This year’s reduction of the European F-gas quota from 63% to 45% raises fears of a renewed increase in illegal imports.

“Illegal HFC imports are a well-known issue in the industry and the EFCTC Action Line is an effective tool to report it,” claimed EFCTC chairman Dr Nick Campbell. 

“Insights received via the Action Line continue to provide unique intelligence from the market and enable Kroll to rapidly identify potential criminal behaviour. It is a crucial source of evidence for enforcement action by EU member states and OLAF and we hope it can lead to more seizures at EU borders, as well as criminal cases in courts leading to dissuasive penalties,” he added.

Those with suspicions of illegally-imported HFCs being offered for sale are urged to contact the confidential Action Line here.

Related stories:

Customs seize huge shipment of illegal HFC refrigerant5 August 2020
ROMANIA: Intelligence supplied by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has enabled Romanian authorities to intercept over 76 tonnes of illegal HFC refrigerant. Read more…

EFCTC introduces illegal refrigerant reporting “hotline”19 March 2019
EUROPE: Illegal refrigerant imports and sales activity in Europe can now be easily reported, and in confidence, through a new website established by the refrigerant producers group EFCTC. Read more…

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