Vietnam official sacked from Party for abetting $2.85 mln tax evasion

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A tax official in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau was expelled from the provincial Party unit Tuesday for abetting a jeweler in evading nearly VND60 billion (US$2.85 million) in taxes.

Le Thanh Du, former chief of the Dam Doi District tax office, was found to have allowed Hoang Khiem jewelry to sell gold to Vietnam's largest gold trader, SJC Gold Co. without taxing it, the provincial Party inspectorate said.

The sales, done in the first seven months of 2010, were worth over VND7.4 trillion ($349.8 million).

Du, who was dismissed from his job, was also found illegally lending over VND6 billion ($283,600) from his office to family members, the inspectors said.

Last month Nguyen Binh Khiem, owner of the shop, filed a suit against the district tax office, saying its decision to collect back taxes was "baseless."

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In his appeal he said in 2008 he had urged the agency to tax his shop's actual income rather than collect a fixed monthly amount, but it had refused.

In 2010 he had reported that his sales had increased but the agency did not respond to this and continued to tax at the old fixed rate, he said.

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