CHICAGO Two companies accused of avoiding duties on aluminum imported from China have pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico.
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico-based Sultana Screens & Aluminum Sales Inc. and its subsidiary, Ponce, Puerto Rico-based Aluwest Industries Inc., have been charged with smuggling, money laundering and wire fraud, according to court documents filed July 2.
Five men and three companies, including Sultana and Aluwest, were accused by federal prosecutors of shipping aluminum extrusions from China into the United States using false invoices indicating that the metal came from Malaysia to avoid paying $26.7 million in anti-dumping and countervailing duties that would have been imposed on the Chinese material (amm.com, June 25).
Carlos Minguela-Ortiz, an accountant for Sultana and Arecibo, Puerto Rico-based PRP Trading Corp., the third accused company, also pleaded not guilty (amm.com, June 26), as did Armando García-Vázquez, vice president of PRP and chief financial officer of Sultana, according to court documents.
Also facing charges are PRP president Edrick García-Vázquez; Samuel García-Adarme, owner of Sultana and vice president of Aluwest Industries; and William Tang Piu Wong, owner of AGI Trading Corp., Wellington, Fla., who was arrested on June 24 in Florida.
Wongs case has been transferred from Florida to U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico, where he is scheduled to appear at a July 8 hearing, according to court documents filed in Florida. Arraignment hearings for PRP, García-Vázquez and García-Adarme are scheduled for July 8 in Puerto Rico, according to court documents.