The Greenpeace investigation focuses on 3,000m3 of timber imported into La Rochelle on a vessel called La Safmarine Sahara.

One of the buyers of the timber is Swiss-based Interholco (AG) (IHC). The company was recently certified under NEPCon’s Legalsource scheme, which includes an EUTR aligned due diligence illegality risk assessement system, and Greenpeace questions the quality of the NEPCon auditing process.

"We commend Greenpeace for its sustained efforts to support full EUTR implementation," said a NEPCon statement. "We take any concern over our auditing quality very seriously and would welcome its review, which could serve in calibrating important interpretations."

The operation, which is also an EUTR Monitoring Organisation, said that the timber from the DRC must be considered "high risk" under the terms of the Regulation. This entails ‘operators’ undertaking further illegality risk mitigation steps.

It said IHC had sourced its timber from a concession run by SIFORCO and that this had been third-party assessed under the SGS timber legality verification system.

"NEPCon reviewed IHC’s evaluation of the SGS scheme and found it adequate," said NEPCon’s Christian Sloth. "We also found no major issues with the most recent SGS field verification of SIFORCO."

NEPCon has launched its own investigation into Greenpeace’s allegations.