Chinese online sales scheme dismantled by Belgian justice
Thursday, 19 September 2019
A system of fraud operating via Brussels Airport that allowed Chinese companies to offer many products at floor price through online shopping sites has been dismantled by Belgian authorities, De Tijd wrote on Thursday.
The scheme was discovered by Hal-Vilvorde Prosecutors.
Investigators screened 16 products transported from China to the EU via Brussels Airport, without VAT being paid.
Chinese exporters have used false invoices to evade taxes, the prosecutor’s spokesperson Carlo Vercarre explained. To escape VAT, Chinese companies induced that the containers were not meant for the Belgian market, but for other European countries where VAT would be paid.
Ultimately, the tax was not paid elsewhere, meaning the products could be sold on online sites like Amazon at a much lower price.
“The goods are then sent to one of the online retail sites’ distribution centres in Europe, such as Amazon, where they are then sold to individuals across the continent,” Vercarre said.
The prosecution is currently investigating three Chinese companies, plus a German and a British one, through the Criminal Court of Brussels. They are suspected of forgery, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization. The case will be judged on 5 December.