AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

OZ Wheels Italy under investigation for smuggling and forgery

OZ Wheels Italy under investigation for smuggling and forgery image

Text: / Photos: | posted March 12, 2014 12:05

The alloy wheel rims were reportedly produced in China

Italian automotive wheel maker OZ S.p.A. is currently being charged for alleged smuggling and forgery by the Italian government, according to reports from newspaper la Nuova di Venezia. The Italian wheelmaker allegedly falsified importation documents for their Chinese-made wheels into Italy circumventing payment of nearly 2.8 million euros.

A joint operation between the Italian Customs, Italian Financial Police, and British Police resulted in the arrest of company executive Stephan Horsley. Also under investigation are Claudio Bernoni, Marco Conean and Diego Cerutti.

The charges were a result of a series of investigations conducted by the Brussels-based European Anti-Fraud Office along with the Italian authorities. OZ was found to be producing the alloy wheels in China since 2010 and shipped to Malaysia, where the wheels would undergo a 'vessel change'. The products were made to appear to originate from Malaysia and shipped to Europe to circumvent higher import duties imposed on Chinese imports.

The alleged smuggling involves more than one hundred shipments made between 2010 to 2012.

OZ is a leading wheel manufacturer in Europe marketing brands such as OZ Racing, MSW and Sparco Wheels. It is also a major wheel supplier to motorsport teams competing in Formula One, World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship, World Touring Car Championship and the FIA GT.