Heartbreaking documentary about the large-scale illegal logging in the Carpathians and the thrive of forest mafia that enriches the Austrian timber company Holzindustrie Schweighofer.
Clear Cut Crimes is a 42-minute documentary that has been filmed over a period of one year in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, mainly in the northern Romanian district of Maramures and across the border, in Ukraine.
The OCCRP documentary stars a couple of key characters: The kingpin – Austrian billionaire Gerald Schweighofer; The Gangsters – local Romanian crooks; The White Collars – corrupt Romanian/Ukrainian politicians and government professionals; The Cossack – a Ukrainian paramilitary group and The Whistleblower – Rise Project Romanian investigative reporters.
“What was once a beautiful forest, it emerges now like a desolate “cemetery” that sweeps across western Ukraine and northern Romania. Europe’s largest virgin forests and its protected wildlife seem to be doomed,” a source is quoted as saying.
The investigation tracks down the money, goes through all phases of the financial machineries, analyses the anatomy of these hundreds of millions of euro businesses and finally pinpoints the systemic corruption behind the environmental disaster.
The criminal network is organized as a cartel which is made up of people and corporations. Everyone seems to get a piece of the spoil but the main beneficiary remains the Austrian group Holzindustrie Schweighofer which is the center of gravity for the cartel.