Investigation exposes European firms exploiting loophole to import Myanmar teak

Investigators have uncovered a scheme by European timber traders to evade E.U. laws by supplying Myanmar teak to the continent’s marine sector, including for decking on superyachts.

The investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) was based on documents obtained from the Croatian agriculture ministry. The documents detailed 10 shipments of Myanmar teak via Croatian company Viator Pula, which EIA described as a focal point for the scheme designed to circumvent an E.U. regulation banning the sale of illegally harvested timber.

“Effectively, companies throughout Europe were paying Viator to break the law in order to continue trading in Myanmar teak,” the EIA said in the report.

Since 2015, several European companies have been taken to court over their Myanmar teak imports and lack of due diligence. In December, Dutch police carried out a series of raids on teak traders in the country, uncovering a network of teak suppliers operating via the Czech Republic, but did not name the companies involved.

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