Sunday, 15 December 2013

Fiddling the Papers in Miami

Rick St Hilaire draws attention to the plea deal in an interesting recent case in Miami ('Plea Deal Reached with Chinese Artifacts Dealer Charged with Obstruction', December 10, 2013) reportedly involving a Nevada-based company doing business in Florida as Asiantiques.
An antiquities gallery and its manager entered agreements with federal prosecutors last week to plead guilty to obstruction of justice under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).
It seems that the company was discovered to have submitted dodgy paperwork for a shipment of Chinese antiquities apparently attempting to get round the implications of the 2009 MOU with the People's Republic of China. It was alleged that the documentation tried to prove (reportedly using among other things back-dated invoices) that the items concerned had been in the US before the MOU and had been taken abroad in May 2011 for a trade show in Hong Kong, and then it was the same items which were being re-imported in June 2011. US Customs and Border Protection in Miami who stopped the shipment for a routine check reportedly found discrepancies between the items they inspected and the invoices, suggesting that fresh items had been substituted for some of the ones originally exported, and that some of them came under the restrictions imposed by the MOU. The shipment was reported to be worth a total of $3,177,825. Sentencing of the defendants is expected to take place in February.

ICE Press release, "Florida art gallery and owner charged with obstruction of justice in connection with importation of ancient Chinese artifacts", November 4, 2013

Megan Gannon, "Smuggled Chinese Artifacts Lead to Charges", Live Science November 08, 2013

"Florida Dealer Charged over Importation of Ancient Chinese Artefacts" PACHI Nov 4, 2013.

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