CO2 sanctions fraud causes Confederation CHF 9 million loss
Bern, 26.04.2021 - The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has filed an indictment in the Federal Criminal Court against a former employee of the Federal Roads Office FEDRO and two board members of a vehicle import company. According to the indictment, the two board members paid the FEDRO employee to change the data used to calculate CO2 sanctions so that their company was not required to pay any sanctions for more than three years. As a result, the Confederation has incurred a loss of around CHF 9 million.
In 2012, Switzerland introduced CO2 emissions regulations for new cars with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions from new cars by the end of 2015 by an average of 130g CO2/km. If the average CO2 emissions of all vehicles of any importer exceed this goal, the Confederation charges a CO2 sanction. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE and the FEDRO keep the records on imports, and are responsible for billing and collecting the CO2 sanctions.
In response to a criminal complaint from FEDRO, in September 2017 the OAG opened criminal proceedings against the FEDRO employee and extended the investigation shortly afterwards to include the two board members. Following complex enquiries, the OAG has now indicted the former FEDRO employee on multiple charges of forgery of a document by a public official (Art. 317 No 1 of the Swiss Criminal Code, SCC), multiple counts of accepting bribes (Art. 322quater SCC), commercial tax fraud (Art. 14 para. 4 of the Administrative Criminal Law Act, ACLA) and multiple counts of obtaining a false certificate by fraud (Art. 15 No 1 ACLA). The two other suspects face multiple charges of inciting forgery of a document by a public official (Art. 317 No 1 in conjunction with Art. 24 para. 1 SCC), multiple counts of bribery (Art. 322ter SCC), commercial tax fraud (Art. 14 para. 4 ACLA) and multiple counts of obtaining a false certificate by fraud (Art. 15 No 1 ACLA).
Data falsified and manipulated between 2014 and 2017
The former FEDRO employee worked for its Road Traffic Division as a technical case officer from May 2012 to September 2017. The suspect is alleged, in the period from June 2014 to September 2017, to have manipulated the data in the FEDRO computer systems that are required for collecting CO2 sanctions so as to benefit the vehicle import company concerned. In return, the two board members involved apparently paid him CHF 2,000 in cash every month. As a consequence, the vehicle import company did not have to pay any CO2 sanctions on the cars that it imported from 2015 to 2017. If the correct data had been recorded, the company would have had to pay around CHF 9 million in sanctions.
As is customary, the OAG will announce the penalties that it is proposing at the main hearing before the Federal Criminal Court. With filing of the indictment, the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona becomes responsible for answering any further media enquiries. The presumption of innocence applies until a legally binding judgment has been issued.
Address for enquiries
Communications Service of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, T +41 58 464 32 40, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland