Quantcast
Connect with us

Chinese billionaire indicted in $1.8 billion tariff evasion scheme

Published

on

The Chinese billionaire founder of metals giant Zhongwang has been indicted in the United States for his alleged role in an elaborate scheme to avoid paying $1.8 billion in tariffs on aluminum shipped to the US.

Liu Zhongtian, the former chairman of China Zhongwang Holdings, is accused of exporting huge amounts of aluminum disguised as pallets to avoid paying customs duties of up to 400 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Also named in the indictment, filed in Los Angeles federal court, is the company as well as several individuals and shell companies.

“This indictment outlines the unscrupulous and anti-competitive practices of a corrupt businessman who defrauded the United States out of $1.8 billion in tariffs due on Chinese imports,” said prosecutor Nick Hanna.

“Moreover, the bogus sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of aluminum artificially inflated the value of a publicly traded company, putting at risk investors around the world.”

Authorities say the scheme, started in 2008 and still operating, consisted of Zhongwang selling the purported aluminum pallets to US-based companies controlled by Liu.

The metal was simply aluminum extrusions that were spot-welded together to make them appear to be functional pallets which would be considered finished goods not subject to duties, according to the indictment.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In reality, there were no customers for the 2.2 million pallets imported by the Liu-controlled companies between 2011 and 2014, and no pallets were ever sold,” authorities said.

The bogus sales that transited through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were intended to inflate the value of the Chinese metals giant, the complaint says.

It said demand for the pallets was such that “defendants Liu and China Zhongwang would direct that aluminum melting facilities be built and acquired to be used to reconfigure the aluminum imported as pallets into a form with commercial value.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The indictment came as the United States on Wednesday resumed trade talks with China that had collapsed in May.

Washington and Beijing have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade in a row focused on demands for China to curb the alleged theft of American technology and provide a level playing field to US companies.

ADVERTISEMENT

Liu and the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

The indictment charges Liu and his co-defendants with conspiracy, nine counts of wire fraud and seven counts of passing false and fraudulent papers through customs.

All of the defendants, apart from warehouse entities, also face money laundering charges.

ADVERTISEMENT

Liu, 55, who goes by the nickname “Big Boss” and “Uncle Liu,” according to the indictment, is believe to be in China, US media reports said.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Harvard’s Laurence Tribe nails Alan Dershowitz for mischaracterizing what ‘abuse of power’ actually means

Published

on

President Donald Trump's lawyer Alan Dershowitz took to the Senate podium Monday to explain that the president absolutely did what he's being accused of, he just shouldn't be impeached for it.

Dershowitz argued that Trump cares so much about corruption that his actions in Ukraine were about foreign policy, not for Trump's own personal purposes. It's a fact that doesn't hold up to evidence, as Trump has never once indicated in all of his years in office or in the campaign that he cared about corruption in the Ukraine or anywhere else.

In fact, according to a new book, Trump advocated the opposite.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Alan Dershowitz’s ‘sleight of hand’ Trump defenses blown to bits by legal analyst

Published

on

On Monday, as former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz delivered his defenses of President Donald Trump to the Senate, legal analyst Elie Mystal fact-checked and debunked his "sleight of hand" arguments in real time:

All right let's do this: Sleight of hand #1: Dersh says he will analyze why the Framers chose the words they did as "the sole criteria for impeachment."

Nope, nothing in the doc says "SOLE CRITERIA." That's a trick he learned from FedSoc, requiring textual fealty.

— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) January 28, 2020

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

New Bolton bombshell implicates Bill Barr in Trump’s corruption with China and Turkey: report

Published

on

Yet another huge bombshell was revealed to be included in manuscript for the upcoming book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton titled The Room Where it Happened.

"John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton," New York Times correspondents Micheal Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reported Monday evening.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image