Death sentences upheld

Two former Vinalines executives have failed in their bid to overturn death sentences for fraud.

Vietnam’s supreme people’s court upheld the convictions of Duong Chi Dung, the ex-chairman of the state shipowner, and ex-general director Mai Van Phuc.

They were found guilty last year of embezzling VND10bn ($474,000) each, as well as economic mismanagement as the company nearly collapsed under its debt mountain.

The court ruled the death sentences were justified due to the amount of money involved and the fact Dung fled to Cambodia instead of handing himself in to police.

It added Dung and Phuc's executions by lethal injection will provide a necessary deterrent to others in the public sector.

Tran Huu Chieu, the former deputy general director, and Tran Hai Son, another former director, also had their sentences upheld.

Chieu got 19 years and Son 22 years for embezzlement and "intentionally violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences."

The central charge was that the Vinalines bosses bought the floating dock for $9m in 2008, causing a loss of VND 366bn ($17.26m). The Russian owner had offered it for less than $5m.

They were also accused of embezzling $1.67m.

The first trial court heard that Singapore broking intermediary AP Co transferred $1.67m back to the accused officials through the bank account of Phu Ha Co, whose director is Tran Thi Hai Ha, the younger sister of Tran Hai Son.

Son was accused of giving Dung and Phuc VND 10bn each, which Dung denied.

Dung told the appeals court that the fact that his family repaid $220,000 to the state since his arrest was merely to remedy some of the damage his actions had caused.