Fraudsters stole 185 million euros ($198 million) worth of metal from Europe’s largest copper producer, possibly with the help of insiders, the company said Tuesday.
After conducting an extraordinary inventory on August 31, German company Aurubis found that it had paid inflated invoices for shipments of scrap metal and other inputs, based on samples manipulated to show much higher copper content. higher than what turned out to be.
The inventory established the scale of the thefts disclosed by the company on August 31 and June, an Aurubis spokesperson told CNN. These losses forced Aurubis to reduce its pre-tax profit forecast for the current financial year by around 170 million euros ($182 million).
The company said on June 15 that it had identified “past criminal activities” and that prosecutors and police in Hamburg, where Aurubis is based, were investigating “active and former Aurubis employees” as well as people employed by other companies working at the company. Aurubis plant.
“The company has been providing all its support to the public prosecutor and the police for several years,” he adds, stressing that some of the suspects have been arrested.
That the same criminals are behind these past cases and that the theft revealed in August is the subject of ongoing investigations, the Aurubis spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The State Criminal Investigation Office in Hamburg is still investigating, the company said.
Hamburg police also told CNN earlier this month that they had opened an investigation, adding that there was “currently no evidence” that the most recent and previous cases in Aurubis were linked.
Aurubis produces about 1.1 million tonnes (1.2 million tonnes) of “cathodes” or square sheets of copper per year at factories in Europe and the United States. The company represents around 30% of European production of this copper and 3 to 5% of global production.
Copper is widely used in construction, especially in electrical wires and water pipes. It is also an essential metal for the energy transition since it is used in wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars.
— Nadine Schmidt contributed reporting.