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Five ex-Da Nang officials probed in case linked to business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 13:23 GMT+7
Five ex-Da Nang officials probed in case linked to business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu
Police officers search the residence of Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, former deputy chairman of the Da Nang administration, on March 18, 2019. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre

Legal proceedings were commenced on Sunday and Monday against five former Da Nang officials for land mismanagement as Vietnamese police expanded their investigation into activities of local business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu.

Among those prosecuted is Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, 61, former deputy chairman of the Da Nang administration, who is investigated for violating regulations on the “management and use of public capital” and “land management”.

The Investigative Police Agency under the Ministry of Public Security also launched legal proceedings against Nguyen Thanh Sang, former director of the municipal finance department, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, former deputy director of the finance department, Phan Xuan It, former deputy chief of the office of the Da Nang People’s Committee, and Nguyen Dinh Thong, former director of the Da Nang Land Exploitation and Management Company, for “violations of regulations on the management and use of public capital”.

Two corporate leaders, Le Anh Tuan, chairman of the board of directors of the Da Nang Ship Chandler Corporation, and Phan Minh Cuong, former director of the I.V.C Limited Company and general director of the 79 Construction Joint Stock Company, were prosecuted for the same charge.

All of the accused had their house searched in accordance with court warrants.

Cuong was put into temporary detention for the investigation, while the remaining six were barred from leaving their place of residence.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan is photographed while serving as deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Da Nang. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Ngoc Tuan is photographed while serving as deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Da Nang. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre

The former Da Nang officials and business leaders are being probed in an expanded investigation into the crimes of Phan Van Anh Vu, a.k.a. Vu ‘nhom’, a local business tycoon who acquired many of the central city’s prime real estates via unorthodox methods.

In January, Vu was sentenced by a court in Hanoi to 15 years in jail for “abusing position and power while performing duties”.

Vu, 44, is a former Senior Lieutenant Colonel and deputy head of an intelligence division at the Fifth General Department of the Ministry of Public Security.

According to his indictment, while running the Bac Nam 79 Construction and Nova Bac Nam 79 Companies, Vu abused his power as a Ministry of Public Security intelligence officer to ask authorities to rent land to him or give him land use rights for multiple prime locations in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, which was not in line with state regulations.

He then made the land plots his own properties or those of his relatives’, transferred them, or put them under shared ownership with other people to earn illegal profits, the court ruled.

Under the first-instance judgement, Vu, with the highest role in the case, was found responsible for a loss of over VND135 billion (US$5.81 million) to state assets.

Fourteen ex-officials in Da Nang, including the five prosecuted this week, have so far been put under criminal investigation for links to Vu’s illegal activities.

Phan Van Anh Vu leaves a court in Hanoi on December 4, 2018. Photo: Hoang Dong / Tuoi Tre
Phan Van Anh Vu leaves a court in Hanoi on December 4, 2018. Photo: Hoang Dong / Tuoi Tre

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