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February 12, 2012

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Da Vinci backs down, pays 'fake imports' fine

AUTHORITIES in Shanghai said yesterday that luxury furniture retailer Da Vinci has already paid its "fake imports" fine, over a month after the company openly refused to pay the penalty.

The Shanghai-based retailer was fined 1.33 million yuan (US$211,777) by the city's industry and commerce bureau in December, months after it was found to have deceived customers about the origin of its products.

The company sold substandard furniture and those pieces of furniture would all be confiscated, the bureau ruled on December 23.

Da Vinci later said that it would not pay the fine and would instead lodge a complaint against the bureau.

However, the bureau said in a statement yesterday that the company has paid its fine within the required time frame and it has not heard anything about the complaint yet.

An investigation was launched after media reports in July accused Da Vinci of lying about places of production and of selling inferior-quality products at high prices.

The company claimed its furniture was made in Italy, but the furniture had actually been manufactured in Chinese factories, "exported" to the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone, and Da Vinci later "imported" and stored the products in its warehouses in Shanghai.

However, the industry and commerce bureau's punishment mostly focused on the company's substandard furniture.

Investigation results have yet to be released by the Customs department in charge of the "fake imports" claims.


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