Duong Chi Dung (C), 56, former Head of Vietnam's national shipping company Vinalines, and his alleged complices listen during the opening of a three-day-long trial at Hanoi's People's Court on December 12, 2013. (photo: AFP / Vietnam News Agency)
Vietnam on Monday sentenced two former top executives at scandal-hit national shipping company Vinalines
to death for embezzlement as authorities try to allay rising public anger over corruption.
nearly collapsed under some $3 billion of debt, according to official media, in one of several high profile scandals at large state-run companies which are a pillar of the economy.
Former Vinalines chairman Duong Chi Dung, who fled the country but was later apprehended, and the group's chief executive Mai Van Phuc were given the death penalty Monday after a three-and-half day trial.
, 56, fled after the scandal broke in May 2012 when Vinalines
defaulted on loans worth more than $1.1 billion.
was arrested in September last year in neighbouring Cambodia after three months on the run.
The death sentences relate to the chairman and CEO's role in the procurement of an old, broken Japanese floating dock which then racked up enormous repair and maintenance bills.
"Going on the run showed that he
(Dung) wanted to escape from his
responsibilities," the court president said, adding that he
was the main driver of the embezzlement scheme which was estimated to involve more than $1.5 million.
I have been wrongly charged," Dung
told the court.
did however, accept some responsibility for the Vinalines
debt scandal, and apologised to "the party, state, national assembly, government, people and Vinalines employees".