3 execs charged for embezzling $12 mln in Vietnam's decade-old shipping scandal

By Mai Chi   October 25, 2016 | 11:02 am GMT+7
3 execs charged for embezzling $12 mln in Vietnam's decade-old shipping scandal
Vinashinlines' old ships in Ha Long Bay. Photo courtesy of Vinalines
The troubled Vinashin and its units continue to haunt Vietnam years after the serious corruption case was uncovered.

Vietnam’s top prosecutors have charged three former executives of a unit of state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin for misappropriating nearly $12 million from the company.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy, the highest prosecutor's office, charged Tran Van Liem, former CEO of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd. (Vinashinlines), Tran Van Khuong, its former chief accountant, and Giang Kim Dat, former sales manager, of embezzlement.

They are expected to stand trial soon. A specific court date has not been set but it should be not be later than March.

Dat’s father Giang Van Hien has also been charged for money laundering.

The three executives were accused of stealing more than VND260 billion, or $11.65 million, from the company between 2006 and 2008.

According to the indictment, Dat stole the money from 16 deals to buy or lease old vessels, before sharing some with the others.

Investigators found that Dat had advised Liem, the CEO, to buy and lease ships and colluded with foreign partners to rig prices for personal profits.

The money was transferred to multiple bank accounts in his father’s name, who later used the money to buy many houses and cars.

At least 40 luxury apartments and villas and 13 cars were found under the names of his relatives. Dat also allegedly owns two apartments in Singapore, including one costing $3.6 million.

Dat was arrested on July 7, 2015 after he fled an arrest warrant in 2012.

According to the investigation, Liem was paid VND3.1 billion (nearly $140,000) and Khuong got nearly $110,000 in the scam.

Liem, 61, is serving a 19-year jail term after being convicted of “deliberately violating state regulations on economic management” at Vinashin in 2012. He was also a Vinashin board member.

Vinashin, which had piled up $4.5 billion of debt by 2010, was restructured into the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in 2013.

Vinashinlines was transferred to shipping giant Vinalines along with a few other struggling units. The shipping firm could never recover from the scandal. In May 2014, the government approved its filing for bankruptcy.

The company’s embezzlement case is one of six serious corruption and mismanagement cases that Vietnam's government has decided to bring to trial by the end of March 2017.

Other cases involve violations at Agribank, Oceanbank and Vietinbank, and abuse of power at Vietnam Waterway Construction Corporation under the Transport Ministry.

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Vietnam’s former trade minister faces penalty for promoting son

 
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