WOB Timber, a logging company based in Hamburg, Germany, has been ordered by a court to pay a $4 million fine for illegally trading Myanmar timber. The April 27 decision was one of the highest financial penalties for this type of crime in the European Union. The Hamburg Regional Court determined that WOB Timber had evaded EU sanctions by importing 31 different shipments of teakwood from Myanmar, worth several million dollars, between 2008 and 2011. Many of the shipments involved timber being processed in Taiwan and declared as originating from that country, rather than Myanmar, to get around the sanctions. The court also sentenced the company’s director, Stephan Bührich, to 21 months of conditional prison and a fine of $243,000. Multiple attempts were made to communicate via email with WOB Timber about this matter but received no response. The court’s decision comes within the framework of an investigation carried out by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), related to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), a law introduced in 2013 to combat illegal timber imports into the EU. The EIA is a London-based organization that investigates and campaigns against environmental crimes and abuses. Its undercover investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, with a focus on elephants, pangolins and tigers, and forest crimes such as illegal logging and deforestation for cash crops like palm oil, among others. According to the EIA, the EUTR was necessary as, previously, a much smaller set of tools was available to address the illegal timber trade. One of these tools was sanctions;…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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