The former Chairman of Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) Duong Chi Dung pleaded guilty to deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences, on the first day of an appeal hearing in Hanoi on April 22.

Former Vinalines General Director Mai Van Phuc and former Director of the Vinalines Ship Repair company Tran Hai Son also admitted mismanagement in the purchasing of a floating dock, which prosecutors allege was a front for multi-million dollar fraud.

All the men have denied charges of embezzlement, however.

In the afternoon, the jury panel questioned representatives from Vinalines, the Vietnam Register and the Transport ministry to clarify the nature of the alleged violations.

According to the indictment issued at the court, during 2007-2008, Dung and his fellow defendants violated regulations on investment, bidding and customs procedures for import and export through the purchase and repair of the dock. The malpractice caused losses of 366.9 billion VND (17.2 million USD) to the State budget, the court heard.

Through the deal, Dung, Phuc, Son and Tran Huu Chieu, former Deputy Director of Vinalines, allegedly appropriated over 1.6 million USD. Prosecutors argue that Son and Dung signed papers requesting State funds to buy the dock, built in 1965, from the Singapore-based AP company at a price of 9 million USD, despite knowing that it was damaged and out of use. Furthermore, it is believed that the Singaporean firm had themselves bought the dock from its initial owner for only 2.3 million USD.

Dung, while admitting violating management rules, has denied receiving 10 billion VND (476,000 USD) from Son in commission for organising the scheme.

He told the court that the fact that his family repaid 4.7 billion VND (220,000 USD) to the State since his arrest was merely to remedy some of the damage his actions had caused.

The Hanoi People’s Court on December 16, 2013 sentenced Dung and Phuc to death for embezzlement, and an 18-year imprisonment for intentionally violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences.

Chieu was sentenced to 19 years behind bars while Son got 22 years in jail on the same charges./.