Defendants Phan Sao Nam (front, second, left) and Nguyen Van Duong (front, second, right) listen to the arraignments on November 21 (Photo: VNA)

Phu Tho (VNA) – The People’s Procuracy of the northern province of Phuc Tho announced the arraignments on November 21 for the main defendants involved in a major online gambling ring.

The procuracy said that the nature and scope of the case have endangered society. The 92 defendants involved were charged with “using the internet to appropriate assets”, “organising gambling”, “gambling”, “illegally trading invoices”, “laundering money”, and “abusing position and power while performing duties”.

They are accused of being involved in the ring that organised online gambling through the card game Rikvip/Tip.club, led by Phan Sao Nam (former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the VTC Online Telecommunications Co. – VTC Online) and Nguyen Van Duong (former Chairman of the Members Council of the Hi-tech Security Development and Investment Co., or CNC).

According to the indictment, Duong and accomplices used high technology to commit the crimes, occuring in Phu Tho, some other localities, and even nations overseas, with the support of Former General Director of the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS)’s General Police Department Phan Van Vinh and former Director of the MoPS’s High-tech Crime Police Department Nguyen Thanh Hoa.

During the 28 months of operating software and technological solutions with such card games as Rikvip/Tip.club, 23Zdo, and Zon/Pen, the games’ operators connected with many services, providing companies to set up a system of 5,913 outlets to convert game scores into real money and vice versa.

They attracted more than 42.95 million gambling accounts and earned more than 9 trillion VND (384.4 million USD) from the money gamblers sent to the illegal gambling organising service.

The procuracy brought to light a number of pieces of evidence and documents proving that Vinh knew about CNC’s operation of online gambling games but failed to take any suitable action.

It said that Vinh and Hoa were prosecuted for “abusing position and power while performing duties”, an offence that has the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

According to the procuracy, Vinh was the mastermind who directed Hoa to create favourable conditions and cover up for Duong and his accomplices in their gambling activities. Vinh was also charged with concealing the case from his superiors, seeking ways to regulate the operation of these games while being checked by the inspectorate agency.

Therefore, the procuracy recommended the jury accuse Vinh of “abusing position and power while performing duties” and sentence him to from seven years to seven years and six months in prison.

Meanwhile, Phan Sao Nam pleaded guilty as stated in the indictment. Through the organisation of illegal gambling, Nam pocketed over 1.47 trillion VND (62.7 million USD).

The procuracy proposed the jury charge Nam with “organising gambling” and “laundering money”, and imprison him to from six to seven years for both counts.

The agency also recommended the jury to impeach Duong for “organising gambling” and “laundering money”, and sentence him from 11-13 years imprisonment for both crimes.

The procuracy suggested the jury consider the role as an accomplice to the defendants in organising gambling, and defining the position and role of each of the defendants. –VNA