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Executive of Vietnam drug firm charged with smuggling

Executive of Vietnam drug firm charged with smuggling

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 17:10 GMT+7

Police from the Ministry of Public Security have charged a senior official at VN Pharma, a pharmaceutical joint stock company in Vietnam, and its chief accountant with smuggling as part of their investigation into a case uncovered last year. Ngo Anh Quoc, 31, deputy general director of VN Pharma, has been let out on bail, while chief accountant Le Thi Vu Phuong, 33, has been detained pending investigation, police said on Monday. On September 19, 2014, police detained the chairman and general director of VN Pharma, Nguyen Minh Hung, 36, for smuggling and counterfeiting bidding documents. Police officers later apprehended Nguyen Tri Nhat, 40, another deputy general director of VN Pharma; Phan Cam Loan, 42, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered firm’s import-export department; and Vo Manh Cuong, 36, who claimed to be a representative of a foreign drug firm in Ho Chi Minh City, on the same charges. As such, a total of six people have so far faced prosecution in the case, police said. According to the case file, in April last year competent agencies detected that VN Pharma had illegally imported 9,300 boxes of H-Capita, used for cancer treatment. At that time, the total value of the drugs was US$750,000. As the importation of the drugs is subject to a license granted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, VN Pharma submitted to the ministry a certificate of origin signed by a Vietnamese counselor at the Vietnamese Consulate General in Canada. Based on this certificate, the ministry licensed the import of the said volume of H-Capita, and VN Pharma, through a foreign company, then imported it by air to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. However, authorities later found that the certificate seemed to be counterfeited. Police suspected that Hung and Cuong acted as the masterminds in the smuggling of the drugs, with the assistance of the other suspects. Last September, after Hung was arrested, investigators from the Ministry of Public Security initially concluded that he used the legal status of VN Pharma to collude with several other people to import a large quantity of drugs of unknown origin. VN Pharma has a number of affiliates and three other branches, one in Hanoi, while the two others are in the southern provinces of An Giang and Ca Mau.

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