BMW importer gets 9 years in prison for smuggling cars

By Hai Duyen   June 5, 2019 | 05:57 am PT
BMW importer gets 9 years in prison for smuggling cars
Thao (wearing glasses) and Dang received 9-year and 7-year sentences respectively for smuggling. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen.
The former CEO of Euro Auto falsified documents to import BMW cars at a lower price, dodging VND6.5 billion ($278,000) in taxes.

A Ho Chi Minh City court on Wednesday sentenced Nguyen Dang Thao, 45, former general director of Euro Auto Company, to nine years in prison for smuggling.

Thao's accomplices Nguyen Thi Minh Yen, 37, former head of Euro Auto's planning department, and Tran Hai Dang, 45, former deputy director of Viet A Delivery Services Trading Co. Ltd., received 5-year and 7-year sentences respectively for the same charge.

According to the indictment, in July 2007, Euro Auto signed contracts with German automaker BMW AG to become the official importer and distributor of BMW cars, Mini Cooper cars and BMW Motorrad motorcycles in Vietnam.

By December 2016, it had signed 473 contracts to import over 9,350 vehicles with a total value of nearly VND5.5 trillion ($235 million).

Euro Auto then signed a delivery service contract with Viet A Company to perform import procedures, with Dang being directly responsible for carrying out customs declaration and customs clearance, as well as freight forwarding, for Euro Auto.

In 2013, Dang falsified 91 records and invoices at values below BMW AG's factory price, which Thao then used to complete Euro Auto's customs declaration documents for importing 91 BMW cars.

Investigators determined that Thao was the main perpetrator of the crime as the Euro Auto representative who directly signed the falsified documents, causing losses of over VND6.45 billion ($276,000) in tax money to the state.

The illegally imported cars were later sold for over VND206 billion ($8.8 million). However, as the buyers were unaware of Euro Auto's violations, the authorities decided not to confiscate them.

In addition to the illegal import of 91 BMW cars, Thao and Euro Auto's board chairman Simon Andrew Rock are also allegedly responsible for importing 133 BMW cars and selling 23 of them without customs clearance in 2016, as well as importing 81 BMW cars through Hong Kong's AAF company to evade the payment of about VND8 billion ($342,000) in tax between 2011 and 2012.

However, as Simon Andrew Rock and a number of other people involved in the alleged violations have left Vietnam, investigators decided to separate these into a second case which would be dealt with later.

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