Daily News / Forestry / Global / South America
September 19, 2016

Illegal timber trade operations in Brazil uncovered by Interpol

Illegal timber trade operations in Brazil uncovered by Interpol

Interpol has released on August 30 a purple notice regarding the illegal timber trading operation involving 4 companies in Brazil.

The Brazilian Federal Police performed an investigation that revealed a technique employed by illegal timber traders in the country. The authorities got their hands on some fraudulent forest management plans which uncovered a higher density of a high-value timber species within a timber concession than actually exists on the ground, allowing criminals to harvest timber from unauthorized areas and report it as if it was legal, according to Mongababy news.

These false forest management plans procured by bribery of by force. IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental agency, released their first suspicion report and sent it to the country’s federal police in February 2015. They suspected illegal logging activities carried out by a sustainable forest management project called JOVINO VILHENA – Fazenda Esmeralda, based in Santarém, Para State, Brazil.

JOVINO VILHENA had obtained the false forest management plan through bribery and declared a a larger concentration of Ipe (Tabebuia serratiafolia), a hardwood prized for its durability and resistance to fire and pests, in the area it covered. The police investigation also revealed that three Brazilian companies had logged timber using the forged forest management plan: Pampa Exportações LTDA, K.M. Coercio e Exportação de Madeiras LTDA, and Jari Florestal S/A, as reported by Mongababy news.

These companies made approximately 28 million Brazilian Real (about $8 million) exporting the illegal timber they cut under the false forest management plan in 2015, while half of the timber went to Europe, 30% to the US and the rest of it was sold domestically.

The purple notice released by the Interpol contains information about the modi operandi, the procedures, the gear and other devices, and the concealment methods used by criminals to commit their illicit acts. Interpol had held a five-day training in April before releasing the purple notice in Brazil and aimed to strengthen the capacity of those who participated as to eliminate corruption in the forestry sector.

Interpol has estimated that corruption in the forestry sector costs the governments worldwide some $30 billion in lost revenue.




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