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Ex-Vinalines chief appeals to have sentence commuted

Update: April, 23/2014 - 09:00
Vinalines ex-chairman Duong Chi Dung, sentenced to death last year for corruption, pleaded not guilty and asked for his sentence to be commuted at his appeal, which opened in Ha Noi yesterday.— VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan

HA NOI (VNS)— Vinalines ex-chairman Duong Chi Dung, sentenced to death last year for corruption, pleaded not guilty and asked for his sentence to be commuted at his appeal, which opened in Ha Noi yesterday.

At his first trial in December 2013, the former chairman of Viet Nam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) was given the death penalty on charges of embezzlement and an 18-year imprisonment sentence for intentionally violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.

Mai Van Phuc, the ex-CEO of Vinalines, also received the death sentence, while the eight other defendants received prison sentences from four to 22 years. All but one appealed their verdicts.

At this morning's appeal hearing, Dung denied the embezzlement charge. The indictment states that he received VND10 billion (US$470,000) as part of a $1.66 million kickback paid to Vinalines officials by Singaporean broker AP Company after the firm bought an old floating dock at $9 million from a Russian company.

Dung admitted he committed wrongdoing in deciding to buy the dock and said he was "very repentant", but denied receiving the VND10 billion kickback from Tran Hai Son, former CEO of Vinalines Shipyard Co Ltd.

Son told investigators that after the purchase of the dock, AP Company transferred $1.66 million as a ‘commission' to the accused officials through the bank account of Phu Ha Co Ltd, whose director is Tran Thi Hai Ha, Son's younger sister.

Upon receiving the bank transfer, Son gave Dung and Phuc VND10 billion each.

Son took VND6 billion ($284,600) himself and gave Ha VND2 billion ($94,900), and Tran Huu Chieu, Vinalines former deputy CEO, VND340 million ($16,130).

The dock purchase cost the State budget over VND366 billion ($17.4 million), including repair fees, storage expenses, transportation and other expenditures, according to the jury.

Dung told the court that his family had so far paid VND4.7 billion ($223,000) to the court's verdict execution department in order to mitigate the loss.

Therefore, he asked the court to commute his sentence for intentionally violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.

He also said he felt remorse for fleeing from Viet Nam in 2012 after being advised to do so by one of his acquaintances.

According to the indictment, Dung was arrested in Cambodia on September 4, 2012 and was later extradited to Viet Nam.

The appeal hearing is expected to last for three days. — VNS

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