Ex officials appeal sentences in Vinashin case

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Eight of nine former officials of the state-owned shipbuilding corporation Vinashin have filed appeals against the jail terms they received last month for causing losses of over VND910 billion (US$43.96 million) at the company.

Among the eight defendants who were convicted of "deliberately acting against state regulations on economic management" was Phan Thanh Binh, former board chairman at Vinashin, according to a representative of the People's Court in the northern city of Hai Phong.

At the first trial held on March 30, Binh was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while seven others received jail terms of between ten and 19 years.

Nguyen Tuan Duong, 46, former board chairman of Cuu Long Vinashin Steel Company, was the only one who did not file an appeal. He was jailed for three years for "using properties illegally."

Also at the first hearing, the court ordered the former officials to pay a total of over VND1.2 trillion (US$54.7 million) in compensation, of which Binh was held responsible for some VND524 billion ($25.2 million).

So far Vietnamese agencies have yet to seize two others accused in the case - Ho Ngoc Tung, 54, former director of Vinashin Financial Co., and Giang Kim Dat, 34, former business manager of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. - who fled the country after Vinashin was found piling up debts of $4.5 billion in 2010 and nearly went bankrupt.

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Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security last year assigned investigators in seven provinces to look into the operations of seven subsidiaries of Vinashin.

The company is currently undergoing a massive restructuring effort in accordance with a government order to stop all operations outside its expertise and focus exclusively on shipbuilding and repair contracts.

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