The Ministry of Environment has notified the Prosecutor’s Office on illegal deforestation investigation. Opening of criminal files pending

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Extensive researches have taken place in the illegal logging scandal. The Ministry of Environment has submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office the results of the investigation on timber exporting companies, including Austria’s Holzindustrie Schweighofer, informs.
A press release states that previously, the ministry conducted a wide control both to Holzindustrie Schweighofer, but also to other suppliers of the company. Following the control, they identified several irregularities, including suspicion that several operators have supplied timber without legal origin, resulted from illegal logging.
“The Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests has submitted the investigation reports concerning the activity of several operators in the forestry sector to the Prosecutor’s Office upon the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court). The decision was taken in view of carrying out specific research to determine whether the issues meet the constitutive elements of crimes,” reads the release.
The ministry states that it carried out an inspection at SC Holzindustrie Schweighofer to verify compliance with the legal provisions of the origin, transport, storage, primary processing and trading of timber, including importation.
“We remind that following the press articles concerning possible irregularities in forestry, the Minister of Environment, Water and Forests Gra?iela Gavrilescu triggered during 05.07.2015 – 12.06. 2015, a comprehensive control both at SC Sebes Holzindustrie Schweighofer SRL Sebes , at SC Holzindustrie Schweighofer SRL Radauti, as well as at the premises of the main suppliers of wood materials to the economic operator. The purpose was to check the compliance to legal provisions regarding the origin, transport, storage, primary processing and sale of wood materials, including their import,” the document reads.
On the other hand, the document states that the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests cannot provide details contained by the inspection reports, after the reports were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Austrian company Schweighofer Holzindustrie has warned on May 15 that it might withdraw from Romania, due to the new Forest Code, whose impact cannot be predicted.
Holzindustrie Schweighofer currently has 2,670 employees in Romania and the number could reach this year more than 3,000.
In the fall of 2014, the company sent a letter to Prime Minister Victor Ponta, threatening that mass redundancies could be operated.
According to Schweighofer, discussions in Romania are exaggerated, being triggered by a secretly made film, which intends to prove that they have bought illegally harvested timber. Holzindustrie Schweighofer rejects accusations.
As Romania Journal reported, an incognito investigation conducted by an international environmental organization accused the largest processor of resinous wood on the Romanian market agreed to buy wood knowing that is was illegally cut down from the forests in Romania. Environmental activists issued a recording in this regard, during a press conference carried out by the EIA executive director Alexander von Bismarck.
At the time, Holzindustrie Schweighofer informed it will start an internal investigation and will take decisions accordingly. “All persons involved in the procurement process are required to sign on their own responsibility that they will comply with the rules of conduct. Our company will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour of its employees. Holzindustrie Schweighofer meets all legal requirements imposed by the Romanian State. Moreover, we are certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and we are permanently monitored by independent auditors that keep track of stocks of raw materials processed in our factories and verify the legality of processed raw material in our manufacturing units. Holzindustrie Schweighofer supports any official and legal action directed towards the protection of natural resources, especially to protect forests,” said the company in a point of view.

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