Court upholds death sentences to former Vinashinlines officials

A court of appeals in Hanoi on Friday upheld the death sentences against two executives from the corruption-hit shipping industry after convicting them of pocketing nearly $12 million in deals made between 2006 and 2008, the latest punishment meted out as the ongoing crackdown on the public sector is widening. At the first trial in February, Giang Kim Dat, the former sales manager of the troubled shipbuilder Vinashinlines, and Tran Van Liem, the company's former CEO, were sentenced to death for stealing more than VND260 billion ($11.65 million) from the company between 2006 and 2008. In February, the firm’s former accountant, Tran Van Khuong, also got a life sentence for abetting the embezzlement, while Dat’s father Giang Van Hien received 12 years in prison for money laundering. Friday's appellate court upheld all these sentences. Dat, Liem and Khuong at the court of appeals on Friday. Hien was absent on health grounds. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Dung 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 investigation found that Dat paid Liem $150,000 and Khuong $110,000 in the scam. The rest of the embezzled money was transferred to multiple bank accounts in Hien’s name, who used it to buy houses and cars. After his wrongdoings were discovered, Dat fled aboard and was arrested in July 2015 following an international arrest warrant. Vinashinlines is…... [read more]

Australia is set to regulate virtual currency exchanges such as Bitcoin and strengthen the powers of its financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC as it cracks down on money laundering and terrorism financing. The changes came two weeks after AUSTRAC took the country's biggest bank, the Commonwealth, to court for alleged "serious and systemic non-compliance" of money laundering and terror financing laws. It follows similar reforms by Japan to regulate virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicenter of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange. "Stopping the movement of money to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defenses and we expect regulated businesses in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime," Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Thursday. He added that the digital currency exchange sector was being regulated for the first time, while low-risk industries such as cash-in-transit would be subject to fewer regulations. Virtual currency has grown rapidly since the 2009 launch of Bitcoin, and there are now more than 100 crypto-currency options. But the sector has suffered from highly publicized scandals like the 2014 collapse of MtGox. Backers say virtual currencies offer an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online. But critics argue the lack of a legal framework governing the currency, the opaque way it is traded and its volatility, make it dangerous.... [read more]

Tran Van Liem, former general director of Vinashinlines, was sentenced to death (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) – The High-Level People’s Court in Hanoi on August 17 began to hear the appeals of four defendants in a major corruption case at the Vinashin Ocean Shipping Company Ltd (Vinashinlines). Tran Van Liem (former general director of Vinashinlines), Giang Kim Dat (former acting head of Vinashinlines’ sales department), and Tran Van Khuong (Vinashinlines’ ex-chief accountant), are present at the three-day court, while Giang Van Hien (Dat’s father) asked to be absent due to health reasons. [Two sentenced to death in Vinashinlines embezzlement] The Hanoi People’s Court earlier held that there are sufficient grounds to confirm that during the process of purchasing and leasing ships from 2006 to 2008, Liem, Dat and Khuong had abused their position and power and appropriated more than 260 billion VND (11.4 million USD) of Vinashinlines. Liem stole 3.1 billion VND (138,000 USD), while Dat embezzled around 255 billion VND (11.34 million USD) and Khuong 110,000 USD. Liem was pinpointed as the ringleader in the case, while Dat was a proactive accomplice and Khuong was an accomplice. Liem and Dat were sentenced to death for embezzlement, while Khuong was sentenced to life imprisonment also for this charge and Hien was given a 12-year jail term for money laundering.-VNA ... [read more]

VietNamNet Bridge – The Ha Noi Superior People’s Court on Thursday held an appeal hearing of Giang Kim Dat and three accomplices in a major corruption case that involves bankrupt State-owned firm Vinashin Ocean Shipping Ltd, or Vinashinlines. Giang Kim Dat escorted in the first instance court. – Photo In an initial trial on February 22, the Ha Noi People’s Court handed death penalties for embezzlement to Dat, 40, Vinashinlines former sales manager; and his 62-year-old ex-superior and former director general Tran Van Liem. They were said to have embezzled at least VND255 billion (US$11.2 million) and VND3.3 billion ($150,000), respectively. Vinashinlines’ former chief accountant Tran Van Khuong, 67, received a life sentence for embezzling $110,000. In addition, Dat’s father Giang Van Hien, 76, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for money laundering. After the initial trial, all four defendants filed an appeal. According to the indictment, Dat, Liem and Khuong stole the money from deals to buy or lease foreign vessels and colluded with foreign partners to rig prices for personal profits. The money was transferred to multiple bank accounts in the name of Dat’s father, who later used it to buy several houses and cars. Dat fled when an arrest warrant was issued in 2012 and was eventually arrested in July 2015.  Vinashinelines was a subsidiary of the marine conglomerate Viet Nam Ship Building Industry Group (Vinashin). Ten Vinashin executives were arrested and brought to trial on embezzlement charges so far. The estimated state losses of…... [read more]

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…... [read more]

HSBC said profits were up Monday in the first half of the year in what it called an "excellent" result after a turbulent 2016. Reported pre-tax profit for the six months to June rose five percent to $10.2 billion compared with $9.7 billion for the same period last year. HSBC also announced a share buyback of up to $2 billion, expected to be completed in the second half of the year. Shares were up 2.77 percent at HK$78.55 ($10.06) in early afternoon trading in Hong Kong Monday. The half-year results showed operating expenses dropped 12 percent to $16.4 billion, partly stemming from a sell-off of its Brazil operations. Chairman Douglas Flint described the performance as "extremely pleasing". Flint said there were still uncertainties due to increasing geopolitical tensions and "ambiguous predictions" around Britain's future relationship with the European Union post-Brexit, but described HSBC's performance as resilient. Analysts said the results had outstripped predictions. "HSBC's earnings are definitely better than market expectations," said Dickie Wong of Hong Kong-based Kingston Securities. He described the firm as in "very good shape" after wide-ranging restructuring programmes following the global financial crisis in 2008. Net profit for the first half of the year rose 10 percent to $6.99 billion from $6.36 billion for the same period in 2016. Pre-tax profits for the second quarter rose $1.7 billion to $5.3 billion year on year, beating Bloomberg analysts' estimates, which had averaged out at a $4.6 billion forecast. HSBC announced the appointment of a new chairman…... [read more]

The arrests in a dawn raid at a five-star Zurich hotel mark an unprecedented blow against soccer's governing body FIFA, which for years has been dogged by allegations of corruption but always escaped major criminal cases. US prosecutors said they aimed to make more arrests but would not be drawn on whether FIFA President Sepp Blatter, for long the most powerful man in the sport, was a target of the probe. Blatter, 79, is standing for re-election to a fifth term at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, and FIFA said the vote would go ahead as planned. The European soccer body UEFA called for the election to be postponed, saying "the European associations will have to consider carefully if they should even attend this Congress." In a scathing indictment of corruption in soccer, US authorities said nine officials and five sports media and promotions executives were charged in cases involving more than US$150 million in bribes over a period of 24 years. They said their investigation exposed complex money laundering schemes, millions of dollars in untaxed incomes and tens of millions in offshore accounts held by FIFA officials. Swiss police arrested the seven, all from the Latin American and Caribbean region, and detained them pending extradition proceedings to the United States, which could take years if they contest the process. The Federal Office of Justice in Switzerland said that six would contest extradition, but that one person agreed to be extradited. Blatter, who has denied and survived…... [read more]

The project aims to improve the ability of the Vietnam’s law enforcement agencies to detect and combat money laundering crime. The project document was signed in Hanoi with the participation of Leonard Edwards, Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister, Narumi Yamada head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Vietnamese government. Attending at the ceremony, Deputy Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem said the money laundering in Vietnam remains complex but the Vietnamese government is doing its best to combat this crime. The Ministry has already uncovered and handled many complicated cases. Previously, the UK government had also agreed to financially support Vietnam in this field.... [read more]

Sen. Lieut. Gen. Le The Tiem, Deputy Minister of Public Security, said the centre is the result of cooperation and mutual assistance between the Vietnamese and Australian police. It is a further step towards bringing to life memorandums of understanding between the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), signed in Hanoi in March 2006 and in Australia in August 2009. The centre will receive, analyse and process crime-related information, especially information on trans-national crime in key areas of terrorism, illegal drugs, money laundering, human trafficking, smuggling and child sex tourism. The centre will provide support to the two countries’ agencies and parties concerned when required and make recommendations to increase cooperation between their border guards, sea police and customs units. According to AFP chief Tony Negus, illegal drug trafficking is the largest trans-national crime that faces both Australia and Vietnam. The establishment of the centre is testimony to the two countries’ commitments to addressing new challenges in the fight against trans-national crime.... [read more]

A decision to this effect was signed on August 12 by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung on behalf of the Prime Minister. Accordingly, the Steering Committee for Anti-money Laundering was assigned to instruct and coordinate relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to implement the plan. Relevant ministries, sectors and agencies were asked to study the practical plan and coordinate with the State Bank of Vietnam to carry out their tasks. Under the national action plan, the Public Security Ministry will issue a circular to give instructions to relevant ministries and sectors to implement the Penal Code’s Article 251 on anti-money laundering. The Finance Ministry will create a circular with instructions on the implementation of the Government’s Decree on Anti-money laundering in securities, insurance, rewarded games and entertainment. The Justice Ministry will submit to jurisdiction levels the ratification of the convention on anti-transnational crimes. The State Bank of Vietnam will check against limitations on regulations relating to high-risk customers and requirements of beneficiaries. The Ministry of Information and Communications will disseminate information on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. In August 2011, the Justice Ministry will review and make proposals for revising (if necessary) the Penal Code, to be in line with the Article 2 of the international convention on combating financing of terrorism and special recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).... [read more]

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