Two former top executives at Vietnam’s national shipping company Vinalines were sentenced to death Monday for embezzlement and wasting state funds.
Vinalines is buried under $3 billion of debt, according to official reports. The scandal stirred public sentiment against government corruption.
Former Vinalines chairman Duong Chi Dung the firm’s chief executive Mai Van Phuc received death sentences after a three-and-a-half day trial.
Dung, 56, fled Vietnam in May last year after Vinalines defaulted on $1.1 billion in loans. He was arrested in September in Cambodia and sent back to Vietnam.
“The death sentences relate to the chairman and CEO’s role in the procurement of an old, broken Japanese floating dock which then racked up enormous repair and maintenance bills,” the South China Morning Post said.
The two executives embezzled more than $1.5 million and mismanaged state funds that caused more than $17 million in losses, prosecutors said.
Lawyer Tran Dinh Trien, who represents Dung, said the sentence was unfair and not based on enough evidence. Both executives plan to appeal, the lawyer said.
Eight other officials at Vinalines or other state-owned entities were sentenced to between four and 22 years in jail on charges of defying state regulations and embezzlement, the SCMP said.
“All the defendants were (communist) party members but became rotten in their nature (and) need to be seriously punished before law,” the presiding judge said.
In November, a banker at state-owned Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) and an accomplice were sentenced to death for embezzling $25 million. Ten other defendants in the case were sentenced to between six and ten years.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.