One more Vinalines executive arrested

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A former chief accountant of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) was arrested Wednesday in connection with financial irregularities at the state-owned shipper.

Bui Thi Bich Loan, 49, faces charges of "deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences."

The police said six other officials would face the same charges  three working for Vinalines and three Khanh Hoa Province customs officials.

Five of them have been arrested while the other is out on bail.

Loan and the others are suspected of fraud in the import of an old, decrepit floating dock for US$24.3 million in 2007.

Police said the dock meant for use in repairing Vinalines' shipping fleet has itself been under constant maintenance.

Its repair and maintenance are estimated to have cost VND100 billion (US$4.8 million).

The government ordered an investigation into Vinalines earlier this year after state inspectors found a slew of frauds at the company in 2007- 10, including the purchase and inefficient use of old ships.

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It incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion (US$124.7 million) last year and VND1.2 trillion in 2010, but falsely reported profits.

All but two of 13 officials under investigation are in police custody.

There is an international arrest warrant out for former chairman Duong Chi Dung, 55, after he disappeared in May.

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