A file photo of a Vinashin ship. Photo: Mai Vong
A key suspect in a high-profile case of corruption at shipping giant Vinashin, now in custody, allegedly misappropriated US$18.6 million and spent most of it on houses and cars in Vietnam and Singapore, according to the police.
Officers from the Ministry of Public Security, at a press conference Tuesday, leveled the charge against Giang Kim Dat, 38, a former sales manager at Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd, a shipping line run by Vinashin.
Dat's alleged theft was among a string of violations that possibly caused losses of over VND980 billion (US$40.98 million) to Vinashin, but by the time inspections were begun in August 2010, the man had already fled the country.
Inspectors said they managed to track him down through his bank transactions with his father Giang Van Hien, 65, and arrested him on July 7 this year.
However, it is not known where Dat had been hiding. His father had earlier been arrested in January for harboring a criminal and benefiting from illegal assets.
The inspectors said that during the time that Dat was working, starting in May 2006, consulting his company's CEO to buy and lease ships, he had colluded with foreign partners to rig prices to illegally earn profits.
The money was transferred to multiple bank accounts in his father’s name, who later bought the houses and cars.
At least 40 luxury apartments and villas and five cars were found in the names of Dat's relatives.
The man also allegedly owns two apartments in Singapore, including one costing $3.6 million.
According to the inspectors, the money Dat pocketed was from 16 transactions related to either buying or leasing old vessels.
Giang Kim Dat, former sales manager at Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd. Photo supplied by police
The questionable deals did not however include the 2007 purchase of a second-hand Italian ship for which the police questioned him.
Dat's company bought the ship at nearly VND1.5 trillion ($67.55 million) and spent another $300,000 repairing it.
The ship was pulled out of service after 39 trips due to huge losses, with the deal causing nearly VND500 billion ($22.51 million) in losses.
The inspectors said they are expanding the investigation into Dat's violations.
The Italian ship was one of five major business deals that had gone wrong at Vinashin. Nine company executives, including former chairman Pham Thanh Binh, were jailed for three to 20 years in 2012.
Another wanted executive, Ho Ngoc Tung, former director of Vinashin Financial Co., is still at large.
Vinashin, which had piled up debts of $4.5 billion by 2010, was restructured into the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in 2013.
Dat's company was transferred to shipping giant Vinalines along with a few other subsidiaries, but in May last year the government approved the company's filing for bankruptcy.