We previously outlined Mr. Zhongtian Liu [HERE] as part of the early 2018 explanation for how China was exploiting the NAFTA loophole as an end-run around tariffs. Today the Central District of California U.S. Attorney announces his indictment.
LOS ANGELES– A federal grand jury indictment unsealed late Tuesday alleges a complex financial fraud scheme in which a Chinese company exported to the United States huge amounts of aluminum – disguised as “pallets” to avoid customs duties of up to 400 percent – and “sold” the purported pallets to related entities to fraudulently inflate the company’s revenues and deceive investors around the world.
The 53-page indictment alleges that China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, Asia’s largest aluminum extrusion company; Zhongtian Liu, the company’s former president and chairman; and several individual and corporate co-defendants lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to avoid paying the United States $1.8 billion in anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) that were imposed in 2011 on certain types of extruded aluminum imported into the United States from China.
The aluminum sold to United States-based companies controlled by Liu were simply aluminum extrusions that were spot-welded together to make them appear to be functional pallets, which would be finished goods not subject to the duties, according to the indictment. 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. (read more)
Photograph of Mr. Liu Zhongtian’s aluminum stockpile hidden in Mexico.