Customs officers get suspended sentences in smuggling case of Gucci products

By Phan Thuong, Thanh Nien News

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 Three men, including two dismissed customs officers, stood a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on April 15 in a smuggling case involved Italian luxury items. Photo credit: VnExpress

Two customs officers in Ho Chi Minh City were given three-year suspended sentences at a trial on Wednesday for letting Italian luxury items be smuggled into Vietnam, allowing a local retailer to evade over VND550 million ($25,000) in taxes.
Both Nguyen Van Sang, 48, and Nguyen Buu Chi, 43, were found guilty of "lacking responsibility, resulting in serious consequences" because they failed to check the items thoroughly. 
The board of judges also sent Le Hong Duc, 37, to eight years in prison for "smuggling." 
Duc was an employee of Tran Anh Tuan, a 55-year-old Vietnamese American who ran Milano and Gucci shops in District 1 and is now being wanted for his involvement in the case.
According to the indictment, Tuan imported authentic fashion products of famous brands like Gucci and D&G from Italy.
He ordered Duc to hire a company to transport the goods to Hong Kong, where they would be packaged like Chinese knockoffs, before being brought into Vietnam by another company to evade taxes.
Prosecutors said Tuan had managed to smuggle the products, worth nearly VND33 billion ($1.5 million) in total, by the time his scheme was busted in November 2012.
The case came to light when police discovered four trucks transporting clothes, handbags and footwear to the warehouse of Tuan's stores at the basement of Sheraton Hotel.
The items were declared with customs as Chinese originated products worth only $1.8-7 each.
Later police raided the stores and found many items without proper documentation.

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