5. Timber smuggling in Indonesia

Labora Sitorus, a low-ranking police officer in Indonesia’s West Papua Province, was the owner of a timber processing company named PT Rotua. During fieldwork civil society investigators determined that PT Rotua was receiving logs crudely processed in the forest from communities in two districts. Investigators subsequently determined that PT Rotua was using incorrect or incomplete documents to transport the timber from the point of harvest to its sawmill, and from the sawmill to the processing hub in the city of Surabaya. Sitorus was arrested in May 2013 and 115 containers of precious Merbau timber, estimated to be worth more than US$20 million, were seized. Subsequent investigations by the anti-corruption agencies suggested that nearly US$128 million had been laundered through his personal bank account, the proceeds of both illegal timber and smuggled fuel. In 2014, Sitorus was convicted of illegal logging and money laundering. He was sentenced to a 15 year prison term and instructed to pay a US$400,000 fine.