Vietnam nabs key suspect in Vinashin debacle after 5 years in hiding

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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 A file photo of Vinashin's ship
The Ministry of Public Security has arrested an executive of shipbuilding giant Vinashin, five years after he fled Vietnam to avoid an investigation into one of the country's most high-profile corruption cases. 
Officials said Giang Kim Dat, 38, will be probed for multiple violations that allegedly caused losses of over VND910 billion (US$40.98 million) at the state-owned group.
It was unclear when and how the ministry's inspectors located Dat, who fled the country even before the investigation was launched on August 23, 2010.
He was a sales manager at Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd, a shipping line run by Vinashin. 
After the arrest, Dat reportedly admitted to pocketing nearly $19 million in the purchase of a ship in 2007.
Inspectors said his company bought the used, Italian-made ship at nearly VND1.5 trillion ($67.55 million), and later spent another $300,000 repairing it.
The ship was pulled out of services after 39 trips, due to huge losses.
The transaction caused nearly VND500 billion ($22.51 million) in losses, according to inspectors.
It was one of five major business projects that had gone wrong at Vinashin. Nine of its officials, including its former board chairman Pham Thanh Binh, were jailed for between three and 20 years in 2012.
Another involved official, Ho Ngoc Tung, former director of Vinashin Financial Co., is still at large.
Vinashin, which piled up debts of $4.5 billion by 2010, was restructured into the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in 2013.
Dat's company was transferred to shipping giant Vinalines along with a few other subsidiaries, but in May last year the government approved the company's filing for bankruptcy.

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