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May 9, 2014

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Cotton traders in court over tax fraud

A group of nine people from China’s mainland and Hong Kong went on trial in Shanghai yesterday for tax fraud involving almost 2 billion yuan (US$321 million).

The key suspects in the case are Huang Yujian and Chen Hui, operators of Shanghai-based textile trading company Meisuo.

Between 2008-12, the pair is alleged to have headed a gang that cheated the government of more than 800 million yuan in export tax rebates and 1.1 billion yuan in value-added tax, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court heard.

According to prosecutors, over the four-year period Meisuo exported cotton yarn to Hong Kong and Singapore but claimed it was cashmere, so it could claim a higher tax rebate. It then imported the exact same products, but this time accurately described them as cotton yarn to minimize the tax payable.

The gang is accused of purchasing 1.1 billion yuan worth of VAT invoices from more than 60 companies, which it then used to apply for 800 million yuan worth of export tax rebates.

Five people are facing charges of export tax rebate fraud, and four of issuing false VAT invoices. The two Hong Kong residents were involved in transporting and handling the goods in Hong Kong and Singapore, the court heard.

No verdict was reached yesterday.


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