The estimated overbilling in a batch of seized cryptocurrency mining equipment is around USD 5 million. Although the company that invoiced the purchase has its headquarters in the United States, the hardware comes from China.
The General Directorate of Customs of the Argentine Republic recently reported seizing over 2,000 pieces of Bitcoin mining hardware. The authorities alleged that they took that action because they detected a case of overbilling in importing that equipment.
The mining hardware models that the Argentine Customs seized included the Whatsminer M30S from the MicroBT brand.
The cost of the 2,233 mining devices seized amounts to USD 21.9 million, an average of about USD 10,000 per unit. However, the investigations conducted by the customs revealed that the actual price ranges between USD 5,770 and USD 7,700 per unit. Therefore, that results in an estimated nearly USD 5 million in overbilling.
Concerning the cryptocurrency mining equipment market, the prices of those devices have dropped for several weeks. For example, the Whatsminer M30S is around USD 6,000, the same as Bitmain’s Antminer S19 Pro. That is consistent with the prices that the Argentine Customs have indicated.
How the Overbilled Bitcoin Mining Equipment Arrives in Argentina
The destination of the Bitcoin miners arriving in the administrative city of Ezeiza was the Free Trade Zone of La Plata. Although the equipment came from China, the headquarters of the company that issued the invoice is in Florida, United States.
The American company and those leading the Argentine importer conducting this procedure are under investigation by the authorities.
The investigators explain that this is a maneuver to avoid organisms that regulate imports and foreign currency transfers. In this case, the importers seek to evade the Comprehensive Import Monitoring System (SIMI).
The Argentine Customs Seeks to Analyze Import Operations Exhaustively
The measures taken by the Argentine Customs include blocking transit requests carrying a similar modus operandi between Ezeiza and La Plata Free Zone. Besides their criminal complaint, they seek to analyze each import operation exhaustively.
In addition, the companies or natural persons involved with companies making imports under that modality may be subject to tax inspections shortly. They want to track the movements of those taking part in the overbilling of products arriving in the Argentine Customs.
The Argentine Customs also decided to increase controls for those operations, passing all of them through the obligatory red channel. The procedure, which they would initially conduct for 15 days, implies documentary and physical control of the merchandise.
They also sent a proposal to the Central Bank and the Ministry of Productive Development to improve foreign exchange control for free zone operations. In that way, they seek to reduce the number of overbilling cases related to imported merchandise and thus protect buyers.
BTC is trading at around USD 20,079 and has accumulated a 1.4% loss over the last 24 hours. While its daily trading volume is above USD 20.29 billion, its market capitalization is about USD 383.29 billion, according to CoinGecko.
By Alexander Salazar