CLEVELAND-Continental General Tire Inc. (CGT) agreed April 29 to pay a $230,000 fine and plead guilty to a charge it defrauded the government of customs duties. Charlotte, N.C.-based CGT entered the agreement in a U.S. District Court in Cleveland after it was accused of defrauding the government out of customs duties in 1990 that totalled $500,000. The tire maker has since paid $771,000 in owed duties, a U.S. Attorney's office spokesman said.
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed not to press any other criminal charges against CGT, its officers or employees.
According to the charge, the tire maker reported to customs officials that rolling mills it had imported in 1990 originated in Austria, even though company officials knew the mills had come from Czechoslovakia. Because that country was still making the transition to a democracy from communist rule, the mills were subject to a 35-percent import tax.
If the mills had come from non-communist Austria, the tax would have been 3.9 percent, the U.S. Attorney's office said.