Wagner PMC-controlled firm Bois Rouge has rebranded itself as Wood International Group (WIG) while continuing its supply of African timber to the European Union (EU) through Cameroon.
That’s according to Earthsight, a nonprofit organisation, and the All Eyes On Wagner (AEOW) project, which monitors the activities of the Russian paramilitary group.
Wagner, which has ties to the Kremlin and has thousands of troops fighting in Ukraine, has been seen throughout Africa, including in Libya, Mali and Mozambique.
The investigation uncovered that Bois Rouge, following reports connecting it to Wagner PMC, undertook various measures to conceal its operations. These measures included changing its name, appointing new directors, and establishing a covert logistics system centred around a military base in the Central African Republic (CAR).
WoodGroup ApS, a Danish subsidiary of the UK-based Woodbois, was implicated in the trade with Bois Rouge/WIG.
Before being publicly linked to Wagner, WoodGroup ApS, a Danish subsidiary of the UK-based Woodbois, was Bois Rouge/WIG’s biggest customer. Bois Rouge/WIG also maintained ties with SEFCA, the main logging company in the CAR. SEFCA has previously been accused of financing individuals involved in war crimes.
Despite the European media's exposure of Wagner's affiliation with Bois Rouge, timber shipments to the EU persisted, with European and international companies unknowingly participating in the PMC's operations.
The investigation also found direct links between Bois Rouge/WIG and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner PMC, through companies such as Service K LLC and Ferrum Mining LLC.
Prigozhin is currently under US sanctions, and Wagner PMC has been recognised by the US Treasury Department as a transnational criminal organisation. Alongside its commercial activities, the PMC has also been accused of war crimes, mass executions, sexual assault, and child abductions.