Three men jailed for smuggling 198 million liters of gasoline worth $109M

By Phuoc Tuan   December 8, 2022 | 04:37 am PT
Three men jailed for smuggling 198 million liters of gasoline worth $109M
Defendants in a major gasoline smuggling case at the Dong Nai People's Court are escorted by the police into prison, December 8, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
Three people in southern Dong Nai Province were sentenced to prison Thursday for smuggling over 198 million liters of gasoline, worth nearly VND2.6 trillion ($109 million).

Phan Thanh Huu, director of the Phan Le Hoang Anh Co., was sentenced to 16 years in prison; Dao Ngoc Vien, director of the Ocean Hai Phong Co., was sentenced to 17 years; and Nguyen Minh Duc was sentenced to 10 years.

The three were all sentenced by the Dong Nai People's Court under the same charges. Other people who were convicted, owners of gas stations who were complicit with the smugglers, were either jailed, fined or given suspended sentences. A former custom officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for receiving bribes.

Numerous material possessions of the convicted men, including 17 ships, 22 tanker trucks, three cars, two motorbikes and 63 mobile phones, have been seized by authorities.

Prosecutors said the smuggling was especially dangerous for society as it negatively impacted oil and gas trade and sales, disrupting the market, causing loss to the state budget and severely impacting people’s lives.

"Besides the recklessness of the defendants, the crime also stemmed from impracticalities in state management of oil and gasoline. Several authorities manage the sector together, but a lack of coordination mechanisms and missions cause overlapping and inefficient management," the sentence said.

Huu, Vien and Duc discussed buying a large amount of illegal gasoline from Singapore and bringing it to Vietnam from March 2020 to February 2021. Their actions have impacted energy security, and the fact that they gained high amounts of money from their criminal acts has spurred many others to follow their example, the authorities said.

Huu and Vien used two ships to smuggle over 198 million liters of gasoline, worth over VND2.596 trillion, to Vietnam during the time period. Over 197 million liters have been sold, allowing them to illegally gain hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong.

In addition to Duc's cooperation with Huu and Vien, Duc also cooperated with others to smuggle in another 5.7 million liters of gasoline, worth VND98 billion, from February 2021 to April 2021.

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