Timber linked to one of Russia’s largest illegal logging scandals has entered the E.U. despite rules meant to tackle the illicit trade, according to a new report. The report, titled Taiga King, by UK-based environmental group Earthsight alleges more than 100,000 tons of timber from Khabarovsk Krai in Russia’s far east made its way into Europe via the BM Group, a conglomerate headed by Alexander Pudovkin, who was arrested last year and is being investigated along with two officials who are accused of abuse of office. According to prosecutors, Pudovkin admitted to paying bribes to the officials in return for government subsidies and access to timber concessions. He has denied wrongdoing and is due to stand trial. Prosecutors also allege Pudovkin was handed contracts without public tender and his company received state funding for a sawmill project that it never completed. The BM Group’s offices in Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border in Siberia, were raided by Russia’s domestic spy agency, the FSB, in March 2019. The FSB seized computer hardware and a safe in the raid and subsequently a criminal investigation was launched. The law enforcement action led to BM Group’s removal from Russia’s federal list of priority investment projects, which allow a select group of firms to sidestep public auctions for logging rights. “Pudovkin’s BM Group milked this lucrative status for all it was worth, setting up no fewer than five sawmill ventures between 2008 and 2017. Together, they handed over combined rights to cut more than two million…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer