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Vinashinlines ex-official bought 40 houses with embezzled money

Update: July, 15/2015 - 19:00
The Hoa Sen cruise involved in the Vinashinlines corruption case. — VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Giang Kim Dat, the latest suspect arrested in the high-profile Vinashin corruption case, is alleged to have embezzled some US$18.6 million while working in a division of the corporation.

Dat was arrested last Thursday after being on the run for five years. Details about his alleged crime were brought to light by the Social Security Department yesterday.

The police investigation into the case found that Dat used the money he had allegedly embezzled to buy some 40 villas and luxury apartments across the country. The properties were registered in the names of his family members.

Dat's father is being investigated for allegedly hiding assets gained by criminal acts.

Dat was one of the two wanted suspects who absconded after corruption at the Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd, or Vinashinlines, came to light five years ago.

Among the corrupt acts discovered during the probe into the state-owned Vinashinlines was the purchase of the Hoa Sen (Lotus) cruise liner, in which Dat was involved. The old ship with cracked flooring was purchased from Italy at a cost of VND1.2 trillion ($54.5 million) in 2007.

The decision to buy the ship was made by top officials in the corporation, including Pham Thanh Binh, Chairman-cum-General Director, and Tran Van Liem, Director of Vinashinlines.

The cruise liner made only 39 trips before its operations were suspended because the business was unprofitable.

In February 2008, the ship was found to have cracks in its steel flooring sheets. It was later found out that the cracks had appeared during the ship-building stage. Vinashinlines had failed to detect the faults before purchasing the cruise liner.

Dat, as an acting head of a division of Vinashinlines, was responsible for examining the ship before receiving it from the Italian seller. He is said to have failed to conduct proper checks to determine the condition of the ship, causing a loss of some VND470 billion ($21.6 million) for the state.

In a trial held in August 2008, Binh and Liem were sentenced to 20 years and 19 years in prison, respectively. Six other defendants in the case received a minimum sentence of ten years. — VNS

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