If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Romanian prosecutors raid Austrian timber giant for alleged organized crime

On Wednesday Romanian prosecutors executed 23 search warrants across the country related to a criminal investigation into the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer. The police raids, which included the company’s headquarters in Sebes, represent a new stage in the investigation into organized criminal activity that began three years ago. The alleged organized criminal group includes Holzindustrie Schweighofer, several public institutions, and other companies suspected of engaging in “misappropriation of public auctions, tax evasion, unfair competition, illegal logging and other offenses,” according to a press release from the Romanian Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

“Today’s police action shows that even a company as powerful as Schweighofer is not above law,” says David Gehl, Eurasia Program Coordinator for the Environmental Investigation Agency. “Illegal logging in Europe’s last great forests must have real and meaningful penalties.”

Holzindustrie Schweighofer, the largest timber processor in Romania, has been active in the country since 2002, over a period when the Romanian government estimated that a large portion of all logging was illegal. An undercover video released by EIA in 2015 exposed a top Austrian Schweighofer official eager to purchase illegal wood, and a subsequent EIA report documented the vast amount of illegalities incentivized by Schweighofer’s activity.

A report issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 2016 also found clear and compelling evidence of illegal activity, resulting in Schweighofer losing its FSC certification. In a statement today, the company reiterated that it has instituted a new tracking system, but EIA has shown that a major portion of their supply comes from third party log yards, which mask the origin of the timber and leave them at high risk for receiving illegally logged wood despite this new system.

Romania harbors Europe’s largest remaining virgin forests, which have become increasingly threatened by aggressive logging, including in National Parks. On May 26th, Romanian activists protested the destruction of Domogled National Park, Romania’s largest protected area, which has been among the most affected by destructive logging in the past ten years.

“The forests of Romania are a treasure that should benefit all Romanians today as well as future generations,” says Gehl. “Schweighofer is finally starting to face the consequences for a decade of stealing the forests from the Romanian people.”

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Respaldo de Sociedad Civil a Defensora Ambiental en Perú
03/26/2021
60 instituciones y miembros de la sociedad civil y organizaciones indígenas en Perú emitieron hoy un comunicado respaldando a la Defensora Ambiental Lucila Pautrat ante los ataques que viene recibiendo de parte de una empresa investigada por la instalación no autorizada de monocultivos agroindustriales en Tamshiyacu, en la Amazonía peruana.
Escazu Agreement Offers Hope but is Only the Beginning
02/23/2021
2020 was a terrible year across the globe, but particularly for Latin America’s environmental defenders. After record numbers of murders in 2019, the perils for environmental and human rights defenders did not decline in 2020. In fact, these threats remained high and even increased during the pandemic, as illegal loggers, miners, and other land grabbers had free reign to encroach upon remote communities. And this time, the intruders brought with them the deadly coronavirus.

Recent Reports

Cashing-In On Chaos
06/03/2020
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s three-year investigation into the Senegal-Gambia-China rosewood traffic uncovered unprecedented evidence on a series of major forest crimes.
Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods.

Recent Press Releases

ORAU Statement on the murders of two indigenous Cacataibo leaders in Peru
03/03/2021
EIA joins ORAU in expressing outrage at the murders of human rights defenders who are protecting the Amazon region and their communities, and echoes ORAU’s calls for urgent and immediate actions. Here is an EIA-translated version in English of ORAU’s original letter in Spanish.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Romania’s New Timber Traceability System Removes Public Transparency
02/03/2021
On January 31, Romania released a new electronic timber traceability system, an important step in its transition to a fully digital forest sector. Unfortunately, the new system has inexplicably removed all public transparency.

Recent Videos

Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods
Raw Intelligence: GOCA
10/18/2019
Mr. Lu is the Secretary of the Association of Overseas Chinese in Gabon and a leading figure in the Forest Union of the Asian Industry in Gabon (UFIAG). He doesn’t miss an opportunity to publicly defend Chinese logging companies in Gabon, and to assert that these entrepreneurs operate with the best of intentions.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!