The Great Timber Heist: The Logging Industry in Papua New Guinea, exposes massive tax evasion and financial misreporting by foreign logging companies, allegedly resulting in nonpayment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to the world’s third largest rainforest. After the lease of 5.5 million hectares of land in recent years through the Special Agriculture and Business Lease scheme, today over 15 million hectares—more than one third of the country—are in the hands of foreign firms. With land and vital natural resources taken away from traditional owners, PNG has become the world’s largest exporter of tropical wood. Timber companies argue that logging is an important source of tax income needed for country’s development. The new exposé, The Great Timber Heist, based on field research and analysis of hundreds of financial documents and tax records of the logging companies, details how the use of dubious mechanisms allows them to evade taxes.