CEO of telco giant MobiFone dismissed for illegal pay TV purchase deal

By Nguyen Ha   August 22, 2018 | 10:13 pm PT
CEO of telco giant MobiFone dismissed for illegal pay TV purchase deal
Cao Duy Hai, 57, has been dismissed as general director of MobiFone. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
The CEO of state-owned mobile operator MobiFone has been fired for his role in the illegal acquisition of a TV firm in 2016.

Cao Duy Hai, 57, was also removed from the company’s board after being found responsible for "serious violations" in the acquisition of private pay TV firm Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG), the Ministry of Information and Communications said on Tuesday.

The Central Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam had said Hai personally worked with the MobiFone council on the acquisition and signed many documents in violation of laws to come up with a deal that caused a significant loss to the government.

MobiFone, the country's third largest telco, had made headlines early in 2016 when it announced it was breaking into the pay TV market with the acquisition of a 95 percent stake in AVG.

But the Government Inspectorate concluded the deal, which had not been approved by the prime minister, had violated investment laws and caused an estimated loss of around VND7 trillion ($307 million) to the government.

In a report on the deal last March, inspectors said MobiFone had committed multiple violations in proposing the deal and AVG's valuation.

Besides, the company had provided false and incomplete information and falsified AVG's financial status in its report to the information ministry on the deal, which resulted in MobiFone paying VND8.89 trillion for the stake instead of VND1.9 trillion.

Le Nam Tra, 57, Mobifone’s former chairman and general director, and Pham Dinh Trong, 48, head of the ministry’s department of enterprise management, were arrested last month and face charges of "violating regulations on the management and use of public capital, causing serious consequences."

The biggest fall in the case was possibly Truong Minh Tuan, who also lost his position as Minister of Information and Communication last month. Tuan had signed a decision to approve the AVG acquisition while serving as deputy information minister.

His seat has been filled by Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of military-owned telecom giant Viettel.

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