The head of Thailand’s Forest Industry Organisation (FIO) has been accused of selling teak to India at less than one third of its market value.

An inquiry panel has revealed that a contract approved by FIO chief Chanatt Lauhawattana was for the export of 841,918 teak logs, amounting to 126,508m3, to India’s Tropical Forest Pte at 6,500 baht per cubic metre. The domestic price for the type of trees in question is at least 20,000 baht per m3.

The panel’s report is to be submitted to the FIO’s executive board shortly, but meanwhile Mr Chanatt has insisted on going ahead with the teak export despite being advised to cancel the deal to prevent further damage.

The timber is being harvested from the FIO’s 11 teak plantations where trees are up to 40 years old.