The European Public Prosecutor’s Office was informed of the suspicious activities by the Belgian customs administration and the European Anti-Fraud Office. “The two companies are suspected of having evaded customs taxes, the so-called anti-dumping duties, that apply to the import of bicycles from China,” European Prosecutor Yves Van Den Berge explains.
“There are indications that they did this by making it appear that they were not importing complete e-bikes, but only individual bicycle parts. Importing complete bicycles from China requires you to pay higher customs taxes.”
According to the European public prosecutor’s office, the various parts could immediately be assembled into an electric bicycle through a “simple assembly”. “That is of course an evasion of the higher duties that must be paid on complete bicycles,” said the European Public Prosecutor. The companies that were responsible for completing the customs documents have also been summoned.
Yesterday there was the preliminary hearing before the criminal court in Antwerp. These are two separate cases (per summoned importer). One importer is said to have evaded customs duties worth 3.5 million euros, the other 3.1 million. The two cases will be argued in court in February and March respectively. It is expected that a decision will be made one month after the hearing on the merits.