This report shows how vast amounts of land have been acquired for rubber plantations in Cambodia and Laos by two of Vietnam’s largest companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG). The “rubber barons” are financed by international investors including Deutsche Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private lending arm of the World Bank.
It lays bare the culture of secrecy and impunity that has allowed these two rubber giants to gain rights to more than 200,000 hectares of concession land through secretive deals with the Lao and Cambodian governments. It is the first exposé of the role of international financiers in these land grabs. Deutsche Bank has multi-million dollar holdings in both companies, while the IFC invests in HAGL.
Global Witness urges the governments of Laos and Cambodia to immediately cancel the rubber concessions in question, suspend and investigate VRG and HAGL’s rubber operations, and where there is evidence of illegal activities, prosecute the companies. It also calls on international governments to bring in and enforce regulations to stop international banks and financial institutions from continuing to turn a blind eye to deforestation and human rights abuses.