The Wall Street Journal published, “Chinese Billionaire Linked to Giant Aluminum Stockpile in Mexican Desert,” an investigative report on Liu Zhongtian, founder of Chinese metals conglomerate China Zhongwang, alleged use of Aluminicaste, an aluminum remelt factory in Mexico, to game the global trade system. The article notes that nearly 1 million metric tons of aluminum was stockpiled at Aluminicaste in San José Iturbide, Mexico, worth approximately $2 billion.
According to the authors:
Mr. Liu, a member of China’s ruling Communist Party, denies any connection to the Mexican aluminum or transshipping. “These things have nothing to do with me,” he said in a June interview at his company’s Liaoning, China, plant, where he lives in an apartment inside the factory. He said he wouldn’t know how to establish a business in Mexico, joking that “in that sort of place, there are a lot of killers with guns.”
Company records, trade documents and legal filings reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, along with interviews of people who have done business with Mr. Liu, raise doubts about his account. They show that hundreds of thousands of tons of aluminum were shipped to Mexico from China through a series of companies, including one owned by Mr. Liu’s son and one by someone who describes himself as a longtime business associate of the Chinese billionaire.
The article provides a thorough investigation of the business relationships between all the major executives operating the companies involved, including China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., Aluminicaste, and other operations said to be associated with the stockpiling of aluminum in Mexico.
Jeff Henderson, president of the Aluminum Extruders Council, and other U.S. aluminum industry heads of note were interviewed as part of the article.
The full article is available to read online.