In a sting operation, the US federal authorities seized several hundreds of shipping containers as part of their investigation following a tip that a Chinese business tycoon dealing in aluminum was avoiding paying the USA custom tariffs.
Officials from the U.S Customs Department seized and detained hundreds of containers packed with aluminum shipments worth $25 million in September 2016 from a California-based company. The Department of Homeland Security recently acquired the containers from the U.S Customs Department to further the investigations.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a report to the press that they were moving the containers undisclosed location at the Port of Long Beach to allow for laboratory testing and evaluation of the aluminum.
U.S authorities link Chinese billionaire, Liu Zhongtian to Perfectus Aluminum Inc., the company that owned the aluminum. He is also the founder of Zhongwang, an aluminum giant in China with worldwide operations.
The Wall Street Journal in October reported that the Justice and Homeland Security departments were investigating allegations brought against the Zhongtian’s companies that include wire fraud, conspiracy, and smuggling.
By December, the U.S Commerce Department found that Zhongwang was guilty of evading the high U.S customs fees by routing their products through Vietnam and Mexico.
Officials from the Commerce Department also looked into a New Jersey metal company and found that it was housing Chinese aluminum pallets for melting. The high tariffs on Chinese metal exports to the U.S came after many findings of improperly dumped subsidized metal associated with Zhongwang.
In a press statement, Zhongwang’s spokesperson denied any association of Zhongtian to Perfectus Inc. However, the Wall Street Journal linked the company to Jacky Cheung, Zhongtian’s son.