Appeals court upholds jail terms for former Vinashin officials

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An appeals court in the northern city of Hai Phong Thursday upheld sentences against eight ex-officials of the state-owned shipbuilding corporation Vinashin for losses of over VND910 billion (US$43.96 million) incurred under their administration.

In the latest verdict, Pham Thanh Binh, former board chairman of Vinashin, has his 20-year-sentence unchanged.

Seven others received jail terms of between ten and 19 years.

All of them were convicted of "deliberately acting against state regulations on economic management."

The court also ordered them to pay a total of VND1.06 trillion ($50 million) in compensation, of which Binh was held responsible for VND500 billion ($23.62 million).

The second hearing was held after the former officials filed appeals asking for reduction in the sentences they received in March this year.

The last defendant of the case, Nguyen Tuan Duong, former board chairman of Cuu Long Vinashin Steel Company, did not file an appeal. He was jailed for three years for "using properties illegally."

According to the indictment at the first trial, the defendants' violations were evidenced in five projects. One of them was the purchase of the high-speed seagoing vessel Hoa Sen (Lotus) Ship for $87.8 million. The used, Italian-made ship only operated 39 north-south trips, causing losses of VND470 billion ($22.5 million). 

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Vinashin nearly went bankrupt after piling up debts of $4.5 billion in 2010.

Police are still hunting for two other accused, Ho Ngoc Tung, 54, former director of Vinashin Financial Co., and Giang Kim Dat, 34, former business manager of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co., who have reportedly fled the country.

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