Vietnamese customs officials arrested in $8m diesel scheme

By Thai Son – Duc Hoa, Thanh Nien News

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Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security have detained three former customs officials in Quang Ninh Province for their alleged roles in an elaborate diesel trafficking scheme.
Pham Van Khuong, 44, former chief customs official of Cam Pha town, is presently being investigated for doctoring transaction papers to avoid paying due taxes on diesel fuel.
His counterparts--Tran Manh Hung, 40, the customs chief at Cai Lan Port and Dinh Van Long, 44, the chief at Van Gia Port--have been detained pending an investigation into their alleged abuse of power, a source told Thanh Nien on Monday.
The officials allegedly helped members of the state-owned Dong Thap Oil and Gas Commerce Company illicitly import US$8 million worth of diesel fuel to the namesake province.
Nguyen The Dung, who served as the general director of the company at the time of the incident, was among the ten individuals initially identified as suspects in the scheme in August of 2013.
Police say the group pretended to export it to a third country to receive tariffs exemption under Vietnam’s regulations, but actually sold it in Vietnam.
Dung and others allegedly conspired with with a company in Yunnan, China, to generate the fake transaction records.
Investigators found that Khuong and his wife directly participated in the business, while Long and Hung helped conceal the fact that the oil was never exported on to China.

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