A court in Vietnam has sentenced two executives from a state-owned shipping company to death and handed down stiff sentences to two others in an embezzlement case that caused the company’s bankruptcy.
The People’s Court in Hanoi found the former director general and former sales manager of shipbuilder Vinashinlines, Tran Van Liem and Giang Kim Dat, guilty of embezzling more than $11.3 million, which led to the collapse of the state-run firm.
Liem, the former head of Vinashinlines, and former sales manager Dat received their sentences on February 22 after a four-day trial.
The court found that Liem signed contracts to buy three ships from Panama, Greece, and Croatia and authorized Dat to negotiate with the sellers. The two also made illegal gains through fixing ship leasing rates with nine different parties, the court decision, posted on a government website, continued.
Dat handled the laundering of the cash through 22 different bank accounts opened in the name of his father, Giang Van Hien, the court said.
Hien was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his cooperation in the scheme.
The firm’s former accountant, Tran Van Khuong, was sentenced to life imprisonment for assisting with the embezzlement.
“All the defendants are convicted of serious crimes, causing damage to the state with more than 260 billion dong ($11.66 million), so they should face a strict punishment,” the verdict said.
Vinashinlines is a subsidiary of the carrier Vinashin Ocean Shipping Company, which nearly folded in 2010 under billions of dollars of debt. Nine former executives linked to the firm were handed lengthy jail terms in 2012. The shipbuilding arm was declared bankrupt as part of a rehabilitation plan for the parent firm.
The company’s near-bankruptcy, as well as scandals at other firms, sparked public anger over official corruption and raised investor fears of wider problems in the state-run sector, Vietnamese news reports of the executives’ sentences noted.