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STRUCTURE OF CORPORATE NETWORKS

Examples given throughout this report provide a basis for a more general description of the structure of some of these cor- porate networks that have a direct responsibility for the atroci- ties conducted in the DRC and the exploitation of wildlife habi- tats. There is no standard organisational structure, but certain trends in their manner of organisation and in their operational practices can be described (UNSC, 2001; UNEP, 2007). Uncrit- ical markets ensure that there are buyers for goods at the right price, regardless of how they are obtained, processed or trans- ported. It is relatively easy and standard practice for companies to build up their political networks through the judicious se- lection of non-executive directors or by maintaining mutually profitable relations with former board members or CEOs who later become top government officials. These arrangements can lapse into less innocent ones when a company and an of- ficial, regardless of their current relationship, share a secret from the past, such as having benefitted from military actions in resource-rich locations. This may or may not have involved an evil or even an illegal activity, yet investigative journalists exist who can spin the story to make even the uncritical global public take notice, and exposure of an ‘arms-for-oil’ trade is sel- dom welcome in the corporate world. Shared secrets, therefore, are important binding agents that hold companies and their political networks together.

Illegal logging may be conducted by companies with no right to be in the area, but also by legal concession holders, operat- ing in several ways. Concession holders may over-harvest from the lands granted to them, or they may exploit areas outside these lands. It is well documented from Indonesia that conces- sions illegally expanded their operations into protected areas or outside of their areas, as is observed also in DRC (Curran

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et al. 2004). The timber or processed wood products may be smuggled secretly from the country, or even transported openly across border stations with military or militia guards (UNSC, 2001; 2008), or sold and transported as if produced from a le- gal concession. To avoid international tracking of the timber or wood products, the products often change ownership multiple times in transit. Hence, when the wood products arrive in port in another country, it is no longer recorded as timber originat- ing from the country in which it was produced.

The extent to which smuggling poses a problem can be seen in official trade data on minerals and timber that are far be- low actual exports (UNSC, 2008), possibly from 50–80% lower than actual exports from the entire Congo Basin. A very similar structure has been observed with illegal logging for example in Indonesia (UNEP, 2007. Here, import figures from many countries including China, Taiwan and Malaysia, to mention a few, are generally far above that of officially reported exports from Indonesia (Schroeder-Wildberg and Carius, 2005; UNEP, 2007).

Once again, the looting and destruction of gorilla habitat is an international concern, with multinational networks operating openly, while the protection of the parks is a primary law en- forcement issue. Once again, this law enforcement needs train- ing, financing and particularly trans-boundary coordination with the judicial system, customs and international collabora- tion to become effective in uncovering environmental crime involvement from end-to user.

Companies knowingly buying resources illegally exploited are, per se, becoming complicit in criminal actions.

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