Wednesday , June 7 2023

Businessman nabbed for giving bribes in Covid repatriation scandal

Tran Tien, director of Phi Truong Tourism Service Trading, was arrested Tuesday for giving bribes regarding to the repatriation of Vietnamese living overseas during the Covid outbreak.

Tien’s detention has raised the number of people under investigation to 51 in the bribery scandal surrounding flights to bring home stranded Vietnamese during the pandemic. Many of those under investigation are directors of travel companies.

After the Covid outbreak began, Vietnam organized around 2,000 flights to bring home Vietnamese citizens, according to the Ministry of Public Security. Many travel companies allegedly bribed officials to get approved to organize those flights. Some sold stranded people very expensive air tickets.

Each flight fetched profits of several billion dong (VND1 billion = $42,580), according to the ministry.

Those arrested also include high-ranking officials such as To Anh Dung, deputy foreign minister until last April, and Nguyen Quang Linh, an assistant to former Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The former head of the Government Office, Mai Tien Dung, received a warning from the Communist Party Secretariat on March 9 for “violating the principles of democratic centralism” and Party regulations and the law. He was criticized for being negligent regarding the organization of Covid repatriation flights and for allowing people from the Government Office to give and take bribes.

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