Dutch police seizure of allegedly ‘illegal’ Myanmar Teak, a first for European law enforcement and member states cooperation
In the first raid of its kind, Dutch police have seized a large quantity of Myanmar Teak in the Netherlands circumvented through the Czech Republic in contravention of EU Law. This follows revelations from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) one year ago, in its report ‘State of Corruption’, showing how criminals were shipping non-compliant timber into Europe through member states with weaker law enforcement.
Working on information provided by the Czech authorities the police found the wood after intercepting a convoy of lorries and then raided six addresses in Noord Holland, Utrecht and Gelderland. Under the European Union Timber Regulations (EUTR) importing wood without a clear chain of custody, including the origin of the timber, and the lack of documentation has been a persistent issue in the trade of Myanmar Teak to the EU Market
Faith Doherty, Forests Campaign Leader at the EIA said, “Earlier this year we exposed how traders in Myanmar were redirecting supply through third countries in Europe in order to avoid countries with strong EUTR enforcement. The trade is highly lucrative and the use of the Czech Republic as one route indicated how devious they were becoming in avoiding the law.”
Top quality teak is much prized and is mainly used for the decking of luxury yachts. The EU Competent Authorities – who regulate the trade in wood into Europe – had repeatedly stated that it was impossible for Myanmar and associated traders to comply with the EUTR and in particular due diligence requirements.
“The EIA has been pushing for stronger enforcement of the timber regulations, as up till now there have been few real penalties for trading in illegally sourced timber. This seizure, and the willingness of the Czech and Dutch authorities to cooperate to prevent circumnavigation of the law within the EU is a major and very welcomed step.”
No details about any pending prosecutions, or the names of individuals or companies involved, have yet been released.
CONTACTS FOR MEDIA
- Paul Newman, EIA Press & Communications Officer, via press[at]eia-international.org or +44 (0) 20 7354 7960
- The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuses.
- Read and download State of Corruption at https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-report-State-of-Corruption.pdf
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7354 7960