More executives arrested in Vietnam state shipping firm scam

TN News

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Vietnamese police Tuesday arrested two executives of embattled state shipping giant Vinalines for allegedly causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to the company through "abuse of power" and "embezzlement."

Investigations found that Do Quoc Khanh, the sacked former general director of Vinalines' PetroVietnam Transport JSC, and his deputy, Bui Van Vien, had bought old ships that were used inefficiently and incurred losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

They were arrested in Hai Phong by the Ministry of Public Security.

The two also colluded with Pham Van Doan, director of a Hai Phong-based beverage trading company, to fake reports to pocket VND1.5 billion (US$72,000) from Vinalines, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

Doan has been arrested along with the other two, and faces embezzlement charges.

Last October Nguyen The Ngoc, 37, the former chief accountant of a factory belonging to PetroVietnam Transport Company, was arrested when the fake reports were noticed.

The Ho Chi Minh City native is being investigated also for embezzlement.

Vinalines was in the spotlight last year when its former chief, Duong Chi Dung, fled the country in May even as inspectors were seeking to arrest him. He was caught by Interpol in September in an undisclosed Southeast Asian country.

Government inspectors had found several irregularities and frauds committed by Vinalines officials between 2007 and 2010, including in the purchase and inefficient use of old ships.

Several are already arrested.

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The firm incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion ($24.7 million) in 2011 and VND1.2 trillion ($57.62 million) in 2010, but falsely reported profits.

A government report last June said the corporation has debts of more than VND43 trillion ($2 billion).

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