- After the premises and homes of its executives were searched by the customs authorities, IBC Solar said it was a victim of a large-scale fraud of fraudulently imported Chinese solar modules between March 2015 and August 2016
- The company said it is cooperating with the public prosecutor’s office and plans to assert claims against erring importers and suppliers
- The customs office says IBC Solar bought Chinese solar modules around 60 times during the period with origination certificates of India, Vietnam, Malaysia or the region of Taiwan.
German solar EPC company IBC Solar has claimed innocence in the allegations of evading to pay €23 million ($25 million) in import duties for solar modules with wrong certification of origin, saying it is a victim of this ‘large-scale fraud.’
In a statement issued by the management, it said the company is fully cooperating with the public prosecutor’s office in Germany – and that it has provided €6 million ($6.6 million) as security on voluntary basis.
“We have only ever purchased solar modules from importers in the European Union at reasonable market prices. To our knowledge these modules have already been properly cleared before,” explained Udo Möhrstedt, CEO of IBC Solar AG. “In doing so, we have done everything in our power to ensure the correct declaration of the origin of the goods. Our compliance with tax regulations has been confirmed to us several times by customs.”
The German company plans to assert claims against the importers and suppliers that the public prosecutor’s office says sold such solar modules between March 2015 and August 2016 in Germany with counterfeit certificates of origin to avoid paying minimum import price (MIP) that was officially ended in September 2018.
IBC Solar’s response came in as the General Customs Directorate of Germany issued a statement saying around 70 customs investigators along with Nuremberg tax police searched the headquarters and homes of the board members of a ‘company in Upper Franconia’ on October 29, 2019 in the investigation of incorrectly declared solar modules purchased from China. It did not, however, identify the company in the statement.
The customs office said this company bought Chinese modules around 60 times during the stated period carrying certificates that revealed originating countries as India, Malaysia or Vietnam. It further added that the investigators managed to ‘secure’ €6 million of company assets and that evaluation of numerous seized company documents, especially in digital form continues.