Illegal Belarus timber flows to EU circumventing sanctions via Central Asia

By Georgi Gotev
EURACTIV
December 20, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

EUROPE — Belarus is circumventing EU sanctions by exporting its timber to EU countries using false documents claiming that the wood comes from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, a Belarusian investigative website revealed on Tuesday. …To circumvent the sanctions, Belarus timber kept arriving to the usual clients with false documents, according to the investigative website “Belarusian Investigative Centre”. The scheme should have raised suspicion in the EU because it has led to a 74-fold increase of wood exports from Kazakhstan and 18,000-fold surge from Kyrgyzstan in 2022, compared to the previous year. According to the investigation… the scheme was in part run by former Belarusian officials. Kyrgyz companies with Belarusian links offered to supply sanctioned products directly to the EU using forged documents. The Belarusian Investigative Centre learned about three such companies, one of them planning to bring “trainloads” of pellets to Europe. 

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