Chinese solar panel warehouse in Zeebrugge closed as part of European fraud investigation

The European distribution centre of the Chinese solar panel handler Easylog Solutions in Zeebrugge has been closed, the transport trade journal Flows reports on Thursday. According to the journal, it was closed as part of a major European fraud investigation.

On 28 March, a major court action against customs fraud in Chinese goods traffic took place at and around Liège airport. On the orders of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, 10 searches were carried out and four people were arrested. Between 2019 and 2022, at least 303 million euros worth of VAT and 6.6 million euros in customs duties were evaded, business newspapers L'Echo and De Tijd wrote at the time.

The investigation extends to Zeebrugge, Flows reports, with the closing of the warehouses of Easylog Solutions. Belgian Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne confirmed this week in the Parliamentary Committee on Justice that searches had taken place in Zeebrugge, without naming the company.

Easylog denies the allegations. "Completing the formalities for customs duties and taxes when goods arrive in Belgium is not the responsibility of Easylog Solutions, but is exclusively the work of customs agents," it says.

The closure of the warehouse has economic implications. "Shutting down operations damages the business," a spokesperson told Flows. "It prevents solar panels from leaving for construction sites. As a result, the company cannot meet its obligations to customers, employees and subcontractors." Real estate group Intervest has also been affected by the closure, as have logistics providers in Zeebrugge.


#FlandersNewsService | The port of Zeebrugge © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND


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