Chinese police assisting Argentina investigation of seafood scam

Published on
September 5, 2019

Argentinean police have shared documents seized in a seafood fraud bust with their Chinese counterparts in a bid to smash a Chinese corporate tax evasion racket that resulted in SD 27 million (EUR 24.4 million) lost in export taxes to the exchequer.

Argentinean federal investigators seized 150 boxes of currency, passports, and digital devices during 16 raids in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata last month targeting Chinese seafood firms. Argentine prosecutors claim the companies deliberately undervalued seafood products being shipped out of the country, which ultimately found their way to China via firms in Brazil and Uruguay, which were related to the main Chinese firm at the center of the investigation.

Charges of tax evasion and money laundering are being prepared by Argentine judicial authorities, according to Argentine media. But police in Argentina have sought the assistance of their Chinese counterparts in identifying key suspects involved. 

Chinese gangs have grown their presence in Argentina. A delegation was sent last year from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security to Argentina to help translate surveillance tapes gathered by local police on the Pixiu gang from Fujian Province in southern China. 

As a major buyer of Argentine agricultural commodities and seafood, China has increased its leverage in Buenas Aires, which is enduring a financial crisis that has squeezed investment. Chinese infrastructure firms are keen to build power stations in Argentina, while China also recently donated a set of anti-riot barriers to local police. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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