Minister of Environment, Water and Forests has notified the prosecutor of the Supreme Court about irregularities found during an inspection at the Austrian company Holzindustrie Schweighofer and other timber producers, Energy World Magazine reported.
Between May 7 and June 12, the ministry carried out inspections at factories in Sebeş and Rădăuți, and at the headquarters of the company’s main timber suppliers. Holzindustrie Schweighofer is the biggest timber producer in Romania. The company also runs cogeneration energy plants and produces pellets and wood chips. The inspections came after an international environmental organization presented evidence that the group was encouraging illegal forest cutting in Romania, the report said.
Undercover investigators from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) posed as foreign investors who had acquired the rights to cut a specified amount of timber on land, Romania Insider said in an article. They told they intended to cut more than was permitted under contract and they needed assurances that the company would accept the wood. Austrian businessman Gerald Schweighofer, the company’s owner, issued a statement denying the allegations.
Last year the company had a turnover of EUR 447 million and a net profit of EUR 66 million. It employed over 1,800 people.