Former chairman of Vinashin sentenced to 20 years in prison

Pham Thanh Binh, former chairman of Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on March 30, for intentionally violating state regulations that resulted in serious consequences, during his tenure in the company.

Pham Thanh Binh (C, front row), former chairman of Vinashin along with accomplices in court (Photo: SGGP)

Binh, 58, was convicted of intentionally violating state regulations while he was head of Vinashin, and received the maximum punishment possible for charges of misappropriation of funds which resulted in the collapse of the company.

Eight other former executives of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group were handed sentences between three to 19 years.

“This case caused serious economic consequences,” said court president Tran Van Nghiem at the ruling in the northern city of Hai Phong.

Acts committed by Binh and other executives of the company  damaged the company, reduced public trust and harmed the prestige of the country in the eyes of foreign investors, resulting in stagnant business production that forced the government to appoint a new management, Nghiem added.

The former Vinashin executives were blamed for losses of more than US$43 million, mostly from procurement of an Italian-made high-speed passenger vessel and two electric generators.

In December 2010, the company defaulted on the first $60 million installment of a $600 million loan arranged by Credit Suisse in 2007.

Binh admitted during his four-day trial that he had made mistakes but insisted that he had not acted for his own personal gain.

He told the court on Friday that he was devoted to the shipbuilding industry, though sometimes he had made mistakes that were against regulations and the government.

Vinashin, a state-owned company founded in 1996, was reduced to bankruptcy in 2009 after accumulating enormous debts exceeding $4.11 billion.

The Vietnamese government has ever since restructured the company under new management.
Related article:
Former Vinashin chairman faces possible 20 years in prison

By Kh.Nguyen – Translated by T.Huong

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