Ex-maritime chief sent to Hanoi in high-profile graft case

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The former chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration was sent to Hanoi on Friday for investigations into his alleged involvement in a multimillion dollar corruption case.

The Ministry of Public Security Inspectorate sent Duong Chi Dung, 55, to the capital from Ho Chi Minh City by air that day, a source told Thanh Nien.

He is 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, before being appointed as head of the Transport Ministry's maritime department.

Dung was arrested on September 4, more than four months after he left the country in an attempt to escape the ministry's investigation.

The inspectorate said he was apprehended in an ASEAN country and extradited to Vietnam by Interpol. It did not name the country.

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

According to the warrant issued by the ministry at that time, Dung was to be placed in custody for investigation for a period of four months.

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 was reported that 13 other officials from the corporation had also been questioned.

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

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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 US$2 billion).

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