Da Nang demands police chief explain villa over corruption suspicion

By Ngoc Truong   April 27, 2018 | 05:14 am PT
Da Nang demands police chief explain villa over corruption suspicion
A photo on Facebook shows a villa of Da Nang's police chief Le Van Tam.
The officer's explanation was requested amid social media rumors that his asset is linked to an arrested tycoon.

Da Nang's Party unit has demanded its chief police officer to file a report explaining the origin of his riverside villa as there have been public opinions that the property involved corruption.

The request was made late on Thursday, hours after the central city's Party leaders received questions from constituents regarding the asset of Le Van Tam, Director of Da Nang Police.

People had suspicion that Tam had received the villa from Phan Van Anh Vu, an ex-fugitive businessman who is under police's custody facing multiple criminal charges.

Images of Tam's villa by the Han River was spread on Facebook, Vietnam's most popular social network, on Thursday last week. The post said the 1,000-square-meter villa is worth VND100 billion ($4.4 million) and there's suspicion that it was "sponsored" by Vu. Vietnamese earned an average of $2,385 last year. Public workers are paid an amount by multiplying the basic wage of VND1.3 million ($57) with a coefficient determined by qualifications and experience.

Colonel Tam, 59, who has served as Da Nang's police chief for three years, told reporters that the villa shared on Facebook was his, but said information that it was built with Vu's money was "inaccurate."

Vu, 42, is under investigation for "deliberately disclosing state secrets," "tax evasion," "abuse of power in performance of official duties" and "abuse of power to appropriate property."

The investigation into his vilations resulted in the arrests of a former Da Nang chairman and a retired senior police official last week, while multiple former Da Nang officials are also under investigation for land management violations.

Vu was one of the biggest property investors in Da Nang. He was the chairman of three major property companies and a shareholder in a number of other projects in the city, usually considered the third most important in Vietnam after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Last December, authorities conducted a search of Vu's house before issuing an international arrest warrant for him. He was detained in Singapore later that month for violating the country's immigration law, before being deported to Vietnam where he was arrested upon arrival.

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