Top official arrested for helping state bigwig flee corruption charges

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A high-ranking Ministry of Public Security official was arrested Friday for allegedly helping a former maritime official who is also his brother flee Vietnam to escape charges in a multi-million dollar graft case .

Duong Tu Trong, 52, deputy chief of the ministry's police department for administrative management of social order, is suspected of organizing the illegal transportation of people to overseas, according to investigators.

Trong was dismissed that same day.

Several newspapers reported that Trong was allegedly involved in the escape of his elder brother Duong Chi Dung, former head of state-owned shipping giant Vinalines and the Transport Ministry's Vietnam Maritime Administration.

However, the ministry has yet to confirm the reports.

Dung, 56, had fled Vietnam prior to the arrival of investigators at his house looking to arrest him on May 18 last year. He was apprehended by Interpol in another Southeast Asian country in September and extradited back to Vietnam.

He has been charged with "deliberately violating state economic regulations causing serious consequences" while at the helm of Vinalines between 2005 and February 2012.

Earlier, the ministry's inspectors also arrested six former officers in Hai Phong for allegedly abetting Dung's escape.

Another former officer is now being hunted on the same allegations.

In other news, Nguyen Binh Kien, vice director of the Hai Phong police department and also the brother-in-law of Dung and Trong, has been recently expelled from the Party for his "serious violations" of police regulations.

Hai Phong Party Unit inspectors concluded that during the time he was the deputy chief of the ministry's department for investment, monetary and financial security, Kien broke many rules and violated people's civil liberties. He was transferred to the city's police department in April last year,

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This has badly affected the ministry's prestige, according to inspectors.

State inspectors found several irregularities and instances of fraud committed by Vinalines officials between 2007 and 2010, including in the purchase and inefficient use of old ships.

Several officials involved have already been arrested.

The firm incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion (US$24.7 million) in 2011 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 ($2 billion).

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