Eurasia Review on 21st May reported that illegal wood trafficking is the most profitable crime against natural resources and the world’s third most important crime, according to a report titled “Transnational crime and the developing world,” published in March 2017 by Global Financial Integrity.  The report estimates that, globally, this transnational crime generates $52 billion to $157 billion a year.  The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that 30% of the wood sold in the world has been illegally obtained.  Latin American forests are the second most vulnerable in the world to illegal timber logging, after Asian forests.  In late 2012, it says, INTERPOL confiscated over 50,000 m³ of illegally obtained timber with an estimated value of $8 million as a result of an operation named Project LEAF, in which law enforcement agencies from 12 Latin American countries worked together to crack down on illegal timber logging.  Wood trafficking is linked to a series of crimes such as deforestation, labour exploitation, land invasions, tax evasion, document forgery, state corruption and even the murder of community leaders who are fighting to preserve forests.  Another report published in January 2018, sheds light on the practice known as “timber washing,” meaning the sale of illegally obtained timber with fake permits.  It also revealed that Peruvian timber — including timber that has been legally obtained — is exported to China, the Dominican Republic, the US, Mexico, France, Cuba, South Korea, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Australia, Taiwan, Spain, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada, Israel and Japan.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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