US consumers of luxury flooring, decking and furniture may be lining the pockets of businessmen accused of financing Hezbollah and illegally logging vast areas of pristine rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), says a new Global Witness investigation.
Unsanctioned Trade reveals that since 2010, US traders have purchased timber worth over $5.5 million from Cotrefor, the biggest exporter of rainforest timber from DRC. Evidence obtained by Global Witness indicates that the company is owned by a conglomerate that is controlled by members of the Lebanese Tajideen family. These individuals are named on a US sanctions list for alleged links to Hezbollah, which is listed by the US as a foreign terrorist organisation.
SOURCE: Global Witness