Logging company Danzer accused of tax fraud in the Congo
July 31, 2008
A major European logging company is using an elaborate profit-laundering system to smuggle timber revenue out of Africa and avoid paying taxes to the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo, alleges a new report published by Greenpeace.
Danzer Group, a German-owned and Swiss-based logging firm, has swindled the governments out of 7.8 million euros in tax revenue, says the report.
“The DRC is one of the poorest places on the planet and that companies like Danzer Group are looking for ways to avoid paying taxes is simply outrageous,” Michelle Medeiros, Greenpeace International Africa Forest Coordinator said at a press conference in Zurich. “The awful irony is that while the international community is pouring billions into the war-torn DRC to help it re-build, it stands by as companies like Danzer continue to con the country out of substantial wealth through tax evasion, capital flight and aggressive tax avoidance.”
“What’s more, these same countries are plundering the natural resources, thus contributing to climate change and depriving local populations of sustainable means of future employment.”
Danzer denied the allegations.
DRC has committed to a legal review of all forest concessions. The World Bank-sponsored effort will look at 156 deals signed between 1998 and 2003, according to Reuters.
DRC has the second largest extent of rainforest after Brazil