Plenty of guilt to go around in Vietnamese shipbuilding scandal

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Two more former officials were placed under investigation Friday, as the Ministry of Public Security's investigators expanded their probe into the huge losses of state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin.

A report in Tuoi Tre quoted the investigators as saying Saturday that Nguyen Van Tuyen, 49, former director of Hoang Anh Ship Building Joint-stock Company, a member company of Vinashin in the northern province of Nam Dinh, and his subordinate Do Dinh Con, 59, former vice director, would be investigated on embezzlement charges.

Tuyen is suspected of withdrawing VND4.5 billion (US$214,000) from the company's bank account at the end of 2006, claiming it was for the Red River Thermo-electricity Plant project, but he allegedly pocketed the funds instead.

Tuyen ordered Con, who was then the company's chief accountant, to falsify documents to make it seem like the money was spent on purchasing materials, investigators said.

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The investigation into Hoang Anh company was part of the ministry's extensive probes into seven member companies of Vinashin, which nearly went bankrupt last year after piling up debts of $4.5 billion.

In November, Vietnam's highest prosecutorial office, the Supreme People's  Procuracy, announced that it had ratified charges against nine former officials of the shipbuilder for causing the losses of more than VND910 billion ($43.3 million).

Among the officials charged with "deliberately violating state regulations on economic management," was Pham Thanh Binh, former board chairman of the corporation. Meanwhile, Ho Ngoc Tung, former director of Vinashin Financial Co., and Giang Kim Dat, former business manager of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co., have fled the country.

Prosecutors said 20 others who were involved in the case also have been fined for violations.

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