EUROPOL targets illegal timber imports from the Amazon in EU and Brazil


More than 350 inspections conducted in a major joint operation, involving law enforcement authorities from Brazil, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain as well as the Latin American Project EL PAcCTO

EUROPOL, European Union´s law enforcement agency recently announced a huge success of an operation that targeted illegal timber being imported from the Amazon Forest. The agency made this announcement on Friday, November 18, in a press release, EUROPOL stating, it’s the first time that a joint action to combat the illegal export of timber was organized, both in the country from where the timber was exported, as well as, at the destination of the import.   

During the operation, the report states, environmental crime, illegal logging, smuggling, tax evasion, money laundering, and document fraud were all targets. More than 350 inspections were conducted in September. The report said, the investigations revealed irregularities in connection to 17 companies (one in Italy, one in the Netherlands, three in Spain and 12 in Portugal).  

Meanwhile, authorities have opened criminal proceedings against one of these companies. The report adds, criminal networks involved use forged documents to change the origin of the timber or the actual spies in order to pass custom controls.  

Europol coordinated the operational activities, facilitated the information exchange and provided analytical support. The operations were carried out in collaboration with law enforcement agencies from Brazil, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, as well as the Latin American Project EL PAcCTO.  

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space research, the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rose at least 28% in 2020. Illegal trade contributes significantly to current deforestation, depleting natural resources, the report adds.

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