23 Mar 2013

Zespri subsidiary fined millions over customs duties

6:16 am on 23 March 2013

A Shanghai court has found a China-based subsidiary of Zespri guilty of evading customs duties and ordered it to hand over millions of dollars.

The New Zealand kiwifruit exporter says its subsidiary, Zespri Management Consulting Company, has been convicted of smuggling and an employee jailed for five years.

Zespri Management Consulting was fined about $960,00 and the court also ordered it to repay what it called "ill-gotten gains".

Zespri says this refers to about $10 million paid by its former importer to Zespri Management Consulting for marketing services.

The Shanghai-based importer was earlier jailed for 13 years.

Zespri says it is considering whether to appeal against the most recent court ruling.