Former Vietnam shipping chief arrested in ASEAN country

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A former chief of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines who was wanted since May in a multimillion dollar financial mismanagement case was arrested Wednesday in a neighboring country.

Tuoi Tre news website quoted the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Police Department as saying that Duong Chi Dung was apprehended in an unnamed ASEAN country and extradited to Vietnam by Interpol.

On May 19 ministry investigators started to look for Dung, 55, after he absconded during their investigation into a corruption scam at the state-owned Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), which he had headed between 2005 and early this year.

The police have questioned 13 Vinalines officials, Lieutenant General Phan Van Vinh, head of the Criminal Police Department, was quoted as saying by Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper in July.

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

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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.

It 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 early June said the corporation was in a "very difficult" financial situation with debts of more thanVND43 trillion (more than US$2 billion).

Dung was made chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration earlier this year.

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