Vietnam to prosecute former senior cops in multimillion dollar gambling case

By Ba Do   July 19, 2018 | 10:34 am GMT+7
Vietnam to prosecute former senior cops in multimillion dollar gambling case
Phan Van Vinh (L), former director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former head of the ministry's cyber crime division. Photo by VnExpress

Phu Tho provincial police have recommended criminal prosecution of two former police officials and 90 others involved in a transnational online gambling ring.

They announced on Wednesday that they have concluded their first phase of investigations and made recommendations.

Phan Van Vinh, former director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministry’s cyber crime division, will face charges of "abuse of power or position in performance of official duties."

They could be sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.

The total of 92 suspects, including major tech businessmen Phan Sao Nam and Nguyen Van Duong, will be charged with seven different crimes, including gambling, organizing gambling, money laundering, trading in illegal receipts, giving and receiving bribes.

The police have issued arrest warrants for another 12 people involved in the gambling ring. These suspects have gone into hiding.

A total of about VND1.3 trillion ($57.8 million) in property has been seized from the suspects and other related parties as part of the investigation.

According to investigators, the gambling ring on web portals Rikvip/Tip.club headed by Nam and Duong had established a large network of 25 "tier 1 agencies" and nearly 5,900 "tier 2 agencies" with nearly 43 million user accounts since beung launched in mid-2015.

The illegal ring was found to have generated a total income of over VND9.8 trillion ($426 million) and a profit of VND4.7 trillion. Out of this profit, Nam received nearly VND1.5 trillion, Duong got over VND1.6 trillion while a group of wanted suspects earned VND1.57 trillion.

Due to the complex nature of the case, a second phase of investigation will be launched to identify the remaining people and organizations involved in the ring's criminal activities.

Phu Tho police first uncovered the gambling ring while investigating a fraud case regarding mobile top-up cards in May last year, in which the scammer claimed he had redeemed all the cards for virtual currencies used in an online gambling card game.

Investigating this claim, police discovered Nam and Duong's ring, which was run using two online game portals that resembled professional casinos in which players could gamble virtual money and convert their winnings to real money.

Police arrested Nam and Duong last August, and further investigations resulted in the arrests of Hoa in March and Vinh in April. Hoa has been accused of colluding with the ring’s organizers, while Vinh is accused of failing to report it.

Investigators said they have found evidence to support Duong's claims that he "gifted" Hoa money worth nearly $1 million and Vinh nearly $3 million.

 
 
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