Trial of 14 accused of smuggling petrol worth 130 million USD begins hinh anh 1Defendants in the record fuel smuggling case on trial (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Fourteen defendants, including high-ranking officials from the Border and Coast Guards, stand accused of smuggling 200 million litres of RON 95 petrol worth around 2.8 trillion VND (130 million USD) into Vietnam. 

The defendants, who include regional commanders, are accused of smuggling, accepting bribes and helping people illegally flee abroad.

Four defendants are from the Coast Guard Command. They are Phung Danh Thoai, former head of the Petroleum Office’s Logistics Department; Le Van Minh, former commander of the Fourth Region; Le Xuan Thanh, former commander of the Third Region; and Luu The Duc, former deputy head of Reconnaissance No 2.

Five others are from the regional Border Guard, including Nguyen The Anh, former commander of Kien Giang province’s Border Guard; Pham Van Tren, former commander of Tra Vinh province’s Border Guard; Nguyen Van Hung, former head of Truong Long Hoa Port Border Gate of Tra Vinh province’s Border Guard; Nguyen Thanh Lam, former head of Squadron 2 of Soc Trang province’s Border Guard; and Son Hoang Ngu, Truong Long Hoa Port Border Gate’s employee.

The remaining defendants are Le Van Phuong, former deputy head of the Traffic Police Division of Tra Vinh Province’s Department of Public Security; and four other defendants, Nguyen Van An, residing in HCM City, Phan Thi Xuan in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, Pham Ho Hai in Can Tho city and Cao Phuoc Hoai in Binh Dinh province.

A total of 16 lawyers have registered to represent the defendants at the court, which began on July 12.

The Central Military Procuracy has charged Phung Danh Thoai with smuggling, while Nguyen The Anh was charged with accepting bribes and helping people illegally flee abroad, as prescribed in the Vietnamese Penal Code. 

Nguyen Van An, Nguyen Van Hung, Pham Van Tren, Le Van Minh, Le Xuan Thanh, Phan Thi Xuan, Nguyen Thanh Lam, Pham Ho Hai, Le Van Phuong, Leu The Duc, and Son Hoang Ngu face charges of accepting bribes.

Cao Phuoc Hoai has been charged with failing to report the crime.

According to the indictment, Dao Ngoc Vien, Director of Hai Phong Ocean, and Phan Thanh Huu, Director of Phan Le Hoang Anh, asked Thoai to use his influence on the Coast Guard to help smuggle of about 200 million litres of gasoline, worth about 130 million USD, into Vietnam.

Thoai contributed 5 billion VND (213,730 USD) and in return made profits of more than 22 billion VND (940,410 USD) between September 2019 and February 2021.

Nguyen The Anh took advantage of his position and power to help cover the gasoline smuggling activities and took bribes of 6.2 billion VND (265,020 USD) and 560,000 USD.

Anh asked his cousin, Nguyen Van An, to receive money between October 2019 and January 2021. From February 2021, Anh also asked Cao Phuoc Hoai and Nguyen Van Quan to help receive money.

Between December 2019 and January 2021, former commander Le Van Minh received 6.9 billion VND (294,940 USD) to help cover the smuggling activities, while Le Xuan Thanh asked his wife, Phan Thi Xuan, to receive 1.8 billion VND (76,940 USD) from gasoline smuggler Phan Thanh Huu.

Several suspects, including Phan Thanh Huu and Dao Ngoc Vien, have been put on trial in Dong Nai province.

The trial is expected to last for three days./.