Penalties have been handed down in the case involving the largest criminal network ever uncovered by the U.K. Environment Agency.
A total of 220,000 GBP ($354,266) in fines have been levied on eight individuals and three companies in connection with an electronic waste trafficking scam. The individuals and companies in question illegally exported 496 tons of scrap televisions, refrigerators, computers and other electronics, to Ghana, Nigeria and Pakistan, all while telling customers the items were being refurbished or recycled responsibly. Separate convictions for five individuals and three companies were handed down in connection with the allegations in November, 2011. Additionally, two defendants are awaiting sentencing and a third is still at large.
“This has been a long and complex investigation to bring to book criminals who have flouted the law, risking people’s health in developing countries and undercutting legitimate recycling businesses in the U.K.,” said Jeff Warburton, an investigator working on the case. “Working in partnership with the authorities in Nigeria and Belgium, we have successfully stopped these illegal exporters. But we won’t stop there – we will continue to track down environmental criminals.”
The penalties are the result of a three-year investigation by the Environment Agency and a legal process that has been ongoing since October 2010.