6 high-profile corruption cases set to go to trial in Vietnam

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Six of the 10 most high-profile corruption cases involving government and other officials will go to trial starting this quarter in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the head of the country's highest prosecutor's office has said.

The four other indictments are being reviewed by prosecutors, and would possibly go to court next year, Nguyen Hoa Binh, chief of the Supreme People's Procuracy, told the media on the sidelines of a National Assembly session Monday.

Asked if authorities would be able to retrieve the money allegedly pocketed in the cases, estimated to run into hundreds of millions of dollars, Binh said it would be "very difficult" to get back 100 percent of it, a difficulty not limited to Vietnam. 

He said they would try to retrieve as much as possible, adding that the legal system would have to be tweaked to get back more.

In Hanoi, the Supreme People's Court will try Duong Chi Dung, former chairman of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines, and nine of his subordinates, for paying US$9 million for a floating dock in poor condition bought from abroad in 2008 and allegedly pocketing over VND16 billion (US$758,000).

Duong Tu Trong, former deputy police chief of the northern city of Hai Phong and younger brother of Dung, who helped him flee the country after being caught up in the scandal, will be tried in a separate case.

Others to be charged for their involvement in the escape are suspended city police officers Vu Tien Son, Vu Trong Anh, and Hoang Van Thang and customs official Dong Xuan Phong.

A third case to be tried in the capital involved a loss of over VND1.4 trillion ($66.26 million) for the Asia Commercial Bank allegedly caused by illegal securities purchases and illegal deposits by six former executives in 2009 and 2011.

One of the six, bank co-founder Nguyen Duc Kien, one of Vietnam's 100 richest people in 2010, has been charged with fraud, illegal business activities, and tax evasion. Two of his subordinates at his other companies face charges of fraud.

A scam at state-owned Vietinbank in which 23 people, most of them employees, allegedly swindled nearly VND4 trillion ($190.6 million) in 2010 and 2011 will be tried in HCMC.

A HCMC court will also try a former chairman and a former deputy general director of Vietnam Food Industries Joint-Stock Company, and three of their subordinates for embezzlement.

Between 2002 and 2006, when the company was being privatized, they allegedly faked documents to misappropriate over VND20 billion ($948,000).

In the final case in HCMC, 11 people will be tried, including seven officials of the HCMC-based Agribank Financial Leasing Company No.2, for alleged loan scams which caused a loss of over VND530 billion ($25.1 million) to the company in 2008-09.

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