According to the 53-page indictment, which was presented to a federal grand jury in January and filed on May 7 but first reported upon by the Wall Street Journal when it was unsealed earlier this week, says the conspiracy began 11 years ago and has been carried forward until today.
Zhongwang stands accused by Federal prosecutors of fraudulently importing aluminium as a finished product in order to evade duties on raw aluminium, and using aluminium shipments to artificially boost revenue, according to the WSJ, justifying charges of fraud and money laundering against Liu. Altoghether Liu faces charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, smuggling goods into the United States, money laundering, and aiding and abetting. If convicted of all counts, Liu could face a prison sentence of over four centuries in length as well as forfeiting to the United States government any property derived from funds traceable to the offenses.
“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 United States Attorney Nick Hanna in a statement released by the Justice Department. “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. The rampant criminality described in this case also posed a threat to American industry, livelihoods and investments.”
Federal marshals have been given a warrant for Liu’s arrest, but sources place the 55-year-old Liaoyang native as currently residing in China.
Also named in the indictment was Zhaohua Chen, said by prosecutors to be a friend of Liu and a “key player” in the alleged crimes, and Xiang Chun “Johnson” Shao, who allegedly operated shell companies that imported Zhongwang’s aluminium. Perfectus Aluminium Inc. and subsidiary Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions, LLC, both of which are based in California, were also named in the indictment as well as four other LLCs (Scuderia Development, LLC; 1001 Doubleday, LLC; Von Karman – Main Street, LLC; and 10681 Production Avenue, LLC) allegedly used as holding companies for purchasing warehouses in California for storing the illicit aluminium.
None of the indicted parties have gone on record to date regarding the indictment.