Officials from state coal firm on trial for fraud

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The trial on 19 officials from a state-owned coal group accused of lying about the quality of coal exported to China in May last year began Wednesday.


According to the indictment read at the Quang Ninh Province court, the workers and officials from three businesses under the Vietnam Coal and Mining Group (Vinacomin) are charged with "violating government economic management regulations" and "irresponsibility causing severe consequences," the Saigon Tiep Thi reported.


The case was exposed in May last year after police in this northern province caught four boats carrying more than 4,000 tons of dust coal to China in form of border trade.


The transporters of the cargo lied about the quality of the coal, which valued at nearly VND900 million (US$43,200) more than what was stated in the cargo statement.


The defendants also admitted having carried out similar cases from February to April of 2010.


Prosecutors have pressed charges against quality control officials at many Vinacomin businesses.


Besides the 19 Vinacomin defendants, two people from a transport firm carrying the coal at the time will also be brought to court.


The trial is expected to end Friday.


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