|Defendants in the record fuel smuggling case listen to the verdict at the Bình Thuận People’s Court on December 21. — VNA/VNS Photo|
BÌNH THUẬN — The People’s Court of the south-central province of Bình Thuận yesterday handed out prison sentences to 12 defendants, including two customs officials, involved in a US$85.8 million fuel smuggling case.
Six of the defendants previously worked for Dương Đông Hoà Phú Co Ltd in Hoà Phú Commune, Tuy Phong District, which imported large reserves of fuel without declaring the correct amount to customs.
Nguyễn Đức Mạnh, chairman and director-general of the company, and Nguyễn Thanh Sơn, its former deputy director-general, received the longest sentences of 10 years and 8 years respectively on smuggling and bribery charges.
Vũ Văn Bằng, Nguyễn Đăng Duy and Nguyễn Đức Quang from the company’s business department each received five, four and a half, and four years in prison for smuggling. Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, an employee, was given two years on probation for giving bribes.
Two customs officials from Bình Thuận, Đinh Hữu Thuỳ and Lê Văn Vinh, got four and three years behind bars for taking bribes from the company.
According to the indictment, on January 19, 2016, an inspection group examined the BTS Christina – a ship owned by the Singapore-based company BTS Tankers and captained by a Filipino citizen while it was offloading gasoline to a Hoà Phú fuel tanker operated by Dương Đông Hoà Phú Co Ltd.
Inspectors determined that the ship was carrying 9,370 tonnes of RON 92 gasoline, but the company had declared 1,870 tonnes at customs.
The investigative unit of the Ministry of Public Security started criminal proceedings into the case, and found that Dương Đông Hoà Phú had been smuggling gasoline from foreign companies into Việt Nam from October 2015 to January 2016.
The company was found to have imported 91 million litres of A92 gasoline and 77.57 million litres of diesel oil, but only declared a small portion of these volumes (17.4 million and 14.84 million). The value of the undeclared fuel reached VNĐ2 trillion ($85.8 million).
The Filipino captain in the case, Aleria Romel Pagenta, who signed receipts confirming the incorrect amount of fuel onboard, was fined VNĐ500 million ($21,460) and deported for cross-border smuggling.
Two defendants from a local insurance company, including its director-general, Đàm Văn Dương, were sentenced to jail for four years and three-and-a-half years for issuing false documents regarding the volume of fuel.
Lê Hải Dương, an employee of Đông Hưng International Co Ltd, a local company that was BTS Tankers’ agency in Việt Nam, got two years for smuggling for preparing the necessary documents to allow the BTS Christina to enter Việt Nam and offload. — VNS