Romanian prosecutors raid Holzindustrie Schweighofer plants in illegal logging probe

Romanian prosecutors raid Holzindustrie Schweighofer plants in illegal logging probe
By bne IntelliNews May 31, 2018

Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) raided on May 30 the offices and two plants of Austrian wood processing company Holzindustrie Schweighofer, local media reported. The raid was reportedly part of an investigation linked to illegal logging.

In 2015, the company came under investigation over alleged purchases of illegally logged wood. Schweighofer lost its FSC certificate for good practices in wood sourcing last year for illegally sourcing wood from Romania, after which most Romanian DIY chains refused to sell Schweighofer wood products.

DIICOT and the police raided 23 locations on May 30 in order to dissolve a criminal group which is said to have caused a €25mn damage to the state via illegal wood acquisitions, the police said in a statement. The police did not name the Vienna-based company, but mentioned the raids targeted, among others, the headquarters and production facilities of a company and four institutions.

The investigation revealed that the management of the targeted company has allegedly coordinated, since 2011, the acquisition of wood coming from illegal logging, the police claimed. In addition, the company was also involved in rigging public tenders.

The Austrian company said it is cooperating with the Romanian authorities and fully supports their efforts in the investigation.

"The company is offering all available information that might help the ongoing investigation and is assisting the authorities in all matters that might lead to a correct investigation based on fully transparent data. Holzindustrie Schweighofer is the first interested to bring light into this situation. The company has not been yet notified of the scope of the investigation,” the company said in a statement.

Since it entered the Romanian market in 2002, Holzindustrie Schweighofer has invested almost €800mn in its mills. Holzindustrie Schweighofer employs 2,700 people in Romania.

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