Shipping firm execs to appeal death sentences in $12 million Vietnam fraud case

Giang Kim Dat, former sales manager of Vinashinlines, at the trial in Hanoi in February where he was sentenced to death for embezzlement. File photo
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Hanoi’s appeals court will be reopening the infamous Vinashinlines scandal this week.

Four men convicted of stealing $12 million from state-owned shipping giant Vinashinlines will have their appeals heard in Hanoi this week as the government is scrambling to wrap up the trials of several major corruption cases.

Local media reported that the convicts will take the stand again on money laundering and embezzlement charges at Hanoi’s Supreme People’s Court, an appellate jurisdiction, on Thursday.

At the first trial in late February, Tran Van Liem, former CEO of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd. (Vinashinlines), and Giang Kim Dat, the former sales manager, were sentenced to death, while the company’s former chief accountant Tran Van Khuong was sentenced to life in jail.

The three former executives were accused of abusing their positions to steal more than VND260 billion ($11.65 million) from the company between 2006 and 2008.

According to the indictment, Dat siphoned off the money from 16 deals to buy or lease old vessels. He also advised Liem on how to buy and lease ships and colluded with foreign partners to rig prices for personal gain.

The money was transferred to multiple bank accounts in his father’s name, who used it to buy houses and cars. Giang Van Hien, Dat’s father, was sentenced to 12 years in jail at the February trial for money laundering.

All four men have filed appeals.

Liem is already serving a 19-year jail term after being convicted of mismanagement at shipbuilding company Vinashin, Vinashinlines’ parent firm, in 2012. Vinashin racked up debt of $4.5 billion in 2010 before being restructured into the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in 2013.

The Vinashinlines case is one of six serious corruption and economic mismanagement cases the government planned to bring to trial by the end of March 2017. The others involved violations at Agribank, OceanBank, VietinBank, the Vietnam Waterway Construction Corporation and a public development fund in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

However, authorities have failed to bring these cases to a close.

In the OceanBank case, former chairman Ha Van Tham and other executives have been accused of causing losses of over $66 million, and a trial was held in Hanoi in February. However, the judge ordered further investigations and the trial is scheduled to reconvene on August 28. – VNExpress

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