Vietnam officials, investors probed in $18.5 mil scam

By Minh Anh, Thanh Nien

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Vu Quoc Tuan, a natural resources and environment official in Vung Tau, being arrested at his home for helping a property project evade taxes. Photo by Minh Anh

 

Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security on Friday arrested a senior official from the southern beach town Vung Tau and three property investors involved in an alleged US$18.5 million fraud.

Ngo Thi Kim Phuong, 55, and board chairwoman of the local real estate company An Khang, is being probed for a scam involving a luxury housing and commercial complex that her company invested in.

The project has drawn VND390 billion from nearly 200 investors but investigations found signs of fraud as the company did not prove financially capable to win legal permits for the investment in the first place in 2011.

Phuong’s daughter Do Thuy Linh, who is general director of the company, and Tran Quy Duong, a Ho Chi Minh City-based shareholder, were also arrested for the investigation. Linh’s husband Vuong Quoc Hai also faces fraud charges but was left at large.

The arrested official, Vu Quoc Tuan, 45-year-old head of the Natural Resources and Environment Department of Vung Tau, had allegedly helped change the usage purpose of the area and saved the company from more than VND20 billion in taxes.

Tuan’s subordinate Nguyen Trung Quoc was also put under investigation for the accusation but not arrested.

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