Brazil levies $279 million fine for illegal Amazon logging
June 11, 2008
Brazilian authorities slapped the largest-ever fine on a timber company now owned by a Swedish sporting goods magnate for alleged illegal logging, according to the Associated Press.
Gethal Amazonas S.A. was fined 450 million reals (US$279 million) for the illegal logging, transportation and sale of nearly 700,000 cubic meters of timber, said Marcelo Dutra, a spokesman for Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA. The volume is the equivalent of around 230,000 trees.
Gethal is owned by Johan Eliasch, chairman and chief executive officer of sporting goods manufacturer Head and co-founder of Cool Earth, a London-based environmental group that has been recently criticized by Brazilian politicians for its intention to buy up and protect large tracts of Amazon rainforest for the purpose of selling carbon credits to consumers. Some Brazilians see the plan as a threat to the country’s sovereignty in the Amazon region.
In a statement Gethal the fine was for alleged activities conducted before Eliasch purchased the company in 2005. The company said the fines have been annulled, reduced, or are still being appealed and that it no longer conducts logging operations.