Cop arrested for abetting official's escape in Vietnam graft case

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A police officer has been arrested in the northern city of Hai Phong for possibly helping a suspect in a multimillion-dollar corruption case escape.

Vu Van Sau, 44, chief of the An Tho commune police, allegedly helped a former Hai Phong customs official get a fake ID, and he in turn helped Duong Chi Dung, former chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, flee the country in May, Tuoi Tre reported Monday.

Dung, 55, was apprehended by Interpol in a Southeast Asian country in September and extradited to Vietnam.

The customs official, Dong Xuan Phong, 38, has been wanted in Ho Chi Minh City since 2009 for smuggling and for his involvement in the Dung case. The Ministry of Public Security started investigating him for "concealing criminals" in October.

Dung has been accused of "deliberately violating state economic regulations causing serious consequences" while at the helm of Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) between 2005 and February this year.

On May 18 investigators went to Dung's house in Hanoi in a failed attempt to arrest him. Subsequent investigations found he had fled his home the previous day.

Two other Vinalines executives - Mai Van Phuc, former general director, and Tran Huu Chieu, former deputy general director - have been detained since May 18.

It is reported that 13 other officials from the corporation have also been questioned.

The government ordered an investigation into Vinalines after state inspectors found several irregularities and fraud committed by its executives between 2007 and 2010, including the purchase and inefficient use of old ships.


The firm incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion (US24.7 million) last year and VND1.2 trillion in 2010, but falsely reported profits.

A government report in June said the corporation was in a "very difficult" financial situation, with debts totaling more than VND43 trillion (more than $2 billion).

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