Interpol clamps down on illegal logging

September 11, 2012

BBC on September 10, 2012 released the following:

“By James Melik
Reporter, Business Daily, BBC World Service

The illegal logging industry is worth almost as much as drug production, according to the international police organisation Interpol.

In collaboration with the United Nations, Interpol has launched the Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests project (Leaf), which fights the crime of illegal logging and the trafficking of such timber.

Davyth Stewart at Interpol says the value of illegal logging is worth more than $30bn (£19bn) a year, while the legitimate annual global trade is estimated to be $115bn (£72bn).

“There are billions of dollars being invested in forest protection around the world and, as a result, organised crime is looking seriously at the timber industry as a way of generating revenue, and also for laundering the proceeds of crime,” he says.

“That is theft of natural resources from some of the poorest countries in the world,” he adds.

The private sector is also missing out significantly.

“They are losing opportunities to tax that revenue,” he says, “They are losing opportunities to auction logging permits.”

‘Timber mafia’

“Most of the profits generated by the timber industry are in the processing, transport and production of timber,” says Mr Stewart.

He explains how Interpol is looking at the illegal logging industry at the highest level.

“We are looking for those that are the kingpins in this timber mafia,” he says.

“They are processing that timber and laundering those proceeds through foreign banks and tax havens,” he maintains.

The problem is global, with illegal logging prevalent in the Amazon Basin, the Congo, Borneo and Sumatra, South East Asia, Central America and Russia.

“In Indonesia alone, illegal logging is estimated to cost up to $8bn a year,” Mr Stewart says.

However, global timber markets are moving to eliminate illegal logging.

The US has passed amendments to the 2008 Lacey Act to ban the importation of illegal timber, the European Union has timber regulations which will commence in March 2013, while similar legislation is being considered in Australia and New Zealand.

Due diligence

Legislation threatens companies with fines if they end up buying and selling wood which has come from illegal logging.

But what can a company do when it wants to buy legal timber, but has trouble establishing exactly where the wood has come from?

John Simon, chief executive of Simmonds Lumber in Australia, says the company took a decision at board level some years ago that any responsible business should implement a process of due diligence that ensures that any product they purchased comes from a legal source.

“We were not prepared to stand in front of our customers and not guarantee that any wood we sold them was produced legally,” he says.

“Although many of our customers at the moment are not demanding this, it was a decision we took to step ahead of the industry,” he says, saying it was a “moral responsibility”.

Timber that Simmonds Lumber imports ends up as house framing, decking, flooring and in furniture.

“Our customer base is timber merchants, retailers, builders, cabinet makers and anyone who deals in timber,” Mr Simon says.

“Our expectation is that within the next 24 months all importers of timber into Australia will be required to provide some due diligence that ensures legality under the new Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill,” he adds.

He explains how, when buying from Indonesia, which is notorious for illegal logging, his company obtains a certificate that proves the provenance of the timber.

Rather than relying on documentation, which can be faked, they have the scientific backing of a DNA system introduced in 2009.

Ensuring a premium product increases the cost but, as the Australian market is highly competitive, it is not a cost Simmonds Lumber feel they can pass on to their customers.

Mammoth technology

The company at the forefront of this DNA testing is Double Helix Tracking Technologies, based in Singapore.

Jonathan Geach explains how the testing is a complex technical feat which enables the genetic maps to pinpoint where trees originated.

It involves scraping a small amount of wood off a piece of furniture or a floor.

“We then soak it in a number of different chemicals, send it through some centrifuges, and use different types of chemicals called primers to draw out and isolate the DNA,” he enthuses.

He says that getting DNA out of a tree in your garden is relatively straightforward because the tree in your garden is alive.

“However, the oak table in your kitchen or the wooden floor is dead. It’s been dead for a very long time. After it died, it was kiln-dried and desiccated,” he says.

“Getting DNA out of samples like that is rather like getting DNA out of a woolly mammoth that has been in the Siberian tundra for 40,000 years,” he says.

He likens trees to people: “Trees in the natural setting reproduce sexually. They are therefore genetically individual but, unlike people, they don’t move around quite so much.

“If we are looking at a certain oak species that is prevalent across Britain, France and Germany, you’re going to find the same species, but you’re going to find different aunties, uncles and cousins in Central France, and different ones in Germany,” he explains.

However, a lot of questions can be answered without the necessity of any genetic map.

“America is an exporter of sawn timber, or round logs, which are then processed in other countries,” he says.

“The finished product is then re-exported to Europe or back to America, where they declare the country of harvest as being the US.”

But anecdotal data suggests that a lot more American oak returns to America than ever left in the first place.

“When you start to look at the genetics of this furniture, decking or flooring, you might find an oak species which is common in Russia, for example – an oak species which does not come from America,” he says.

“Therefore, somebody is either making a mistake or they are deliberately misleading an importer.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Southeast Europe Police Chiefs contribution to regional and global security praised by INTERPOL Chief

April 25, 2012

INTERPOL on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“BUDVA, Montenegro – Addressing the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that their example of dedication and resolve to work together was an example of what can be achieved in combating regional transnational crime.

Speaking at the joint International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) Cyber Crime Conference and SEPCA General Assembly, the head of the world police body pointed to the expansion of access to INTERPOL’s databases beyond the National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in all nine SEPCA member countries as the model for other regions of the world.

Law enforcement officers in key locations across Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia can now carry out instant checks against INTERPOL’s databases.

In 2011, countries in the SEPCA region performed 50 million checks against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database, triggering more than 3,000 alarms for people attempting to travel on a fraudulent document. A further 22 million checks on individuals were carried out, enabling officers to obtain critical policing information on nearly 25,000 persons known to law enforcement around the world.

Secretary General Noble said that the joint conference with IACP on cybercrime also clearly demonstrated the region’s recognition of the need to tackle crime in the virtual world is well as ensuring effective policing on the ground.

“Cybercrime is the challenge of tomorrow and one which will force us to reinvent the traditional business model of police as the expertise necessary to combat this type of crime will reside more in the private sector,” said Mr Noble, adding that INTERPOL was already putting measures in place to help its 190 member countries address this threat.

“The INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, which will open its doors in Singapore in 2014, will include an ‘innovation, research and digital security’ unit which will work with INTERPOL’s 190 member countries and the private sector to develop innovative solutions to tackle cybercrime.

“The commitment and vision of the police chiefs in Southeast Europe will ensure that SEPCA will be among the key players in contributing to the global security of tomorrow,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, Secretary General Noble commended Montenegro’s NCB in Podgorica for having implemented so many of INTERPOL’s tools and services that help to keep Montenegrins and visitors safe.

Mr Noble also agreed that Montenegro would become the second country in the world where INTERPOL would deploy a special support team during the summer tourist season when the population in Budva grows from 20,000 to 100,000 persons in order to ensure that Montenegrin police have quick access to information about foreign tourists should the need arise.

“Montenegro has proved time and time again that it is committed to close international police cooperation via INTERPOL which enhances both security and the continued development of its country,” concluded Secretary General Noble.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Interpol rejects call for NGOs staff arrest

April 24, 2012

IOL News on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“By SAPA

Lyon – Interpol, the international police organisation, Monday said it had rejected a call by Cairo for the arrest of 15 foreigners linked to non-governmental organisations operating in Egypt.

The “request is not in conformity with Interpol’s rules… under which it is ‘strictly forbidden for the organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character’,” France-based Interpol said in a statement.

In the run-up to Egypt’s presidential election on May 23, Egyptian authorities have closed a number of NGOs, four of them American, on the grounds that they are not officially registered and receive money from abroad.

A number of foreigners working for the NGOs were charged before being allowed to leave the country, while Egyptians employees are to be tried.

Interpol said it would not call on member countries to arrest the 15 people wanted by Egypt Ä 12 US citizens, two Lebanese and one Jordanian.

Egypt has refused to license eight US civil groups, including the election-monitoring Carter Centre, amid a crackdown on foreign NGOs, Egyptian state media reported Monday.

MENA news agency quoted a government source as saying it refused to license the groups because their activities were “inconsistent with the state’s sovereignty on its lands.”

Washington had complained of what it called rising “anti-American” statements in Egypt after an uprising ousted its close ally president Hosni Mubarak in February 11 and left the military in power.

The military also enjoys close ties with the United States, but a Mubarak-era minister in the cabinet it appointed who led the NGO crackdown accused Washington of trying to destabilise Egypt through civil society groups. – Sapa-AFP”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


SA paying Interpol R1.7m pa

October 12, 2011

DefenceWeb.co.za on October 12, 2011 released the following:

“South Africa pays international police organisation Interpol a membership fee of 162 956 euro a year (R1 755 707 this morning).

Answering a parliamentary question, the Ministry of Police says Interpol is primarily funded by compulsory annual contributions from member countries in the form of membership fees.

“Annual contributions ensure that member countries enjoy access to the entire technological spectra made possible by Interpol’s General Secretariat. These are considered as instruments offering real time intelligence beneficial to member countries in their fight against trans-national organised crime and countering international terrorism.

Contributions vary from country to country, taking into consideration the economic well-being, size and population of each particular member country.

South Africa renewed its membership during the 62nd General Assembly held on 29 September 1993 after a 39-year absence.

“South Africa has received much credit in its leadership ability in the continent of Africa and globally, especially in recognizing its technological advancement in the last decade. The international policing community has acknowledged South Africa’s ability to render support to neighbouring countries, especially with deployment of response or support teams to assist in times of major events, disasters or investigative capacity. The manner in which South Africa has advocated its strengths to manage events of great international magnitude has become a bench mark offered to Interpol’s member countries. This is supplemented in the Police’s vast experience and breakthroughs within its investigative abilities with internationally threatening crimes, like Maritime Piracy, which has won South Africa a place of recognition as having expertise in such fields that can serve as a foundation for best practices to Africa and the World.

Benefits include:
– Access to a Secure Police Global Communication Network: “aptly named the I-24/7 allowing for direct country to country rapid communication and responses, as well linking I-24/7 to Interpol General Secretariat Command and Coordination Centre for assistance across language barriers.”
– Access to Operational Data Services and Databases for Police: “containing approximately ten (10) databases that offer real time intelligence to counter trans-national organised crime. These are now being extended to ports of entries and ground level forces for effective utilisation.”
– Providing Operational Police Support Services: “Interpol offers a 24/7 support to all member countries in terms of assistance to liaise messages in different languages, 24/7 monitoring of global threats through the media and sharing information on tendencies and concerns with member countries, investigative support, deployment of Inerpol Major Events Teams, Interpol Response Teams to assist during times of disasters or investigation of specific threats and assistance with Disaster Victim Identification and managing arrests of fugitives as well as their extraditions.
– Providing Training and Development for Police: Interpol Lyon provides focused training for national police forces, and also offers on-request, advice, guidance and support in building dedicated crime-fighting components. The aim is to enhance the capacity of member countries to effectively combat serious trans-national crime and terrorism and create a common ground for skills development. Working through its Regional Bureau in Harare, Interpol has recognised the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) learning programmes and have assisted with its implementation in the region. South Africa hosts a fair number the SARPCCO Courses thereby ensuring that its members stand the most to benefit from regional and international practices.”

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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