Saturday, January 14, 2017

U.S. seizes $25 million worth of aluminum linked to Chinese billionaire


U.S. Seizes $25 Million Worth of Aluminum Linked to Chinese Billionaire


Published: Jan 13, 2017


The move is the most potent action yet by federal authorities investigating aluminum shipments to the U.S.


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China Zhongwang Holdings Chairman Liu Zhongtian poses for pictures just after trading had started at the stock exchange in Hong Kong on May 8, 2009.

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U.S. customs officials have seized $25 million worth of aluminum linked to a Chinese billionaire accused of stockpiling the metal across the world, according to people familiar with the matter.
The move is the most potent action yet by federal authorities probing whether U.S. companies connected to Chinese aluminum magnate Liu Zhongtian illegally avoided punitive tariffs by routing their metal through other countries.
The Wall Street Journal in October reported that Homeland Security and the Justice Department are investigating whether the companies committed criminal or civil violations that could include smuggling, conspiracy and wire fraud. Homeland Security agents have questioned former employees of companies associated with Liu, according to people familiar with the investigation.

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The aluminum has become a new flashpoint in American-Chinese trade relations, with U.S. executives complaining that they are being undercut by cheap Chinese metal being sold into the U.S. illegally. A massive stockpile of aluminum that has crisscrossed the world and depressed the price of some aluminum products was part of the scheme, according to people familiar with the companies involved in the shipments of aluminum.