Head of BMW exclusive distributor arrested over counterfeit import documents

May 02, 2017 | 08:52
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Nguyen Dang Thao, CEO of Euro Auto, the BMW distributor in Vietnam, and other colleagues  have been arrested,  by the police in order to investigate the use of fake papers in importing BMW car units.

In November 2016, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) accused Euro Auto of submitting counterfeit documents when importing BMW cars into Vietnam. The ministry asked the General Department of Vietnam Customs to stop the custom clearance of BMW units imported by Euro Auto starting from the end of 2016, and proposed the Supreme People’s Court to start proceedings against the company for using fake papers and illegally importing cars.

Afterwards, a representative of BMW AG from Germany arrived to Vietnam to join in the investigation and then confirmed with MoF that some of the papers that Euro Auto used for the customs procedure had not been provided by BMW AG.

In 2013 Euro Auto was charged VND80 billion ($3.51 million) in tax arrears by the Department of Customs of Ho Chi Minh City because of discrepancies between the contract it submitted for use in customs procedures and the contract it actually used in its actual transactions through HSBC. However, Euro Auto appealed to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court, which in turn held insufficient grounds for the charge and nullified the decision.

Founded in 2006, Euro Auto has dealerships in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Sime Darby Group from Malaysia is the strategic investor holding over 80 per cent of the company’s stakes. Sime Darby Group distributes brands such as BMW, Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Jaguar, and Lamborghini and has a presence in China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.

As previously reported by newswire dantri.vn, Nguyen Dang Thao has a lot of experience in selling cars. By the time he was arrested, he had had 22 years in the trade, having held positions in Toyota Vietnam and Mercedes Vietnam, where he was deputy sales director, before finally ending up at Euro Auto.

When he joined in 2009, Euro Auto had just resumed operations in Vietnam after a break. Under CEO Horst J. Herdtle, Thao helped the company expand its market significantly. Three products, namely the luxury BMW, the MINI, and the motorcycle BMW Motorrad, are now able to compete with brands in the same segment, such as Mercedes, Audi or Lexus.

After seven years, he was promoted from the position of sales and marketing director to CEO in November 2015 to replace Horst J. Herdtle.

By By Ha Duy

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