Monday, June 11, 2007

Bait And Switch

Pangasius Importers Arrested For Mislabeling

SFB Staff (June 8) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday that two individuals were arrested for conspiracy to import mislabeled fish. The indictment, which was returned on May 24 by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California, charges 10 seafood companies and six individuals for importing millions of pounds of mislabeled Vietnamese pangasius into the United States.

David S. Wong of True World Foods and David Chu of Dakon International were arrested in Chicago and San Francisco, respectively. Other companies named in the indictment include the Virginia Star Seafood Corp., International Sea Products Corp., Silver Seas Co., Blue Ocean Seafood Corp., Cafatex, Anhaco, Antesco, Binh Dinh Import Export Co. and T.P. Co. Other individuals named in the indictment include Henry Nguyen, Peter X. Lam, Arthur Yavelberg and Henry Yip.

According to the indictment, between July 2004 and June 2005, Virginia Star Seafood Corp. and International Sea Products Corp. illegally imported from Vietnamese companies Binh Dinh, Antesco and Anhaco more than 10 million pounds of Vietnamese pangasius labeled as sole, grouper, flounder and conger pike.

As part of the conspiracy, after the Vietnamese pangasius was imported into the United States, defendants Henry Nguyen, Peter Lam and Arthur Yavelberg marketed and sold the fish to seafood buyers, including defendants Yip of T.P. Co., Wong of True World Foods and Chu of Dakon International.

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to deceive Customs and Border Protection agents in order to evade anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese pangasius, enacted in January 2003.

Investigating agencies include Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

For more information about the Pangasius ,
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