Two former senior police officials to be prosecuted in multi-million dollar gambling case

July 22, 2018 | 08:00
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Police in the northern province of Phu Tho have recommended criminal prosecution of two former police officials and 90 others involved in a transnational online gambling ring.
two former senior police officials to be prosecuted in multi million dollar gambling case
Phan Van Vinh (left) and Nguyen Thanh Hoa (right) covered online gambling ring

The investigation concluded on July 18, with Phu Tho Police identifying Phan Van Vinh, former director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministry’s cyber crime division, both of whom will face charges of ‘abuse of power or position in performance of official duties’. The two former officers would face sentences of 5-10 years imprisonment.

A total of 92 suspects including prominent tech businessmen Phan Sao Nam and Nguyen Van Duong will be charged with seven different crimes, namely gambling, organising gambling, money laundering, trading in illegal receipts, and giving and receiving bribes.

The investigation agency found that in mid-2011, Phan Van Vinh directed Nguyen Thanh Hoa to establish a C50-backed company, recommending Nguyen Van Duong to collaborate with him to carry out this work.

On September 30, 2011, Duong established CNC Co., Ltd. and signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing 20 per cent of CNC’s profit would go to C50. However, C50 did not contribute capital, and send a representative to operate the company.

In May 2012, Duong asked C50’s leaders to support CNC company to develop and distribute online gambling in order to acquire money. In 2016, Vinh intended to develop a national system on cyber security criminals and assigned CNC to implement it.

Following this, Duong collaborated with VTC Online to develop a system of online gambling. The conclusion of the investigation stated that Vinh knew these two companies were operating the game Rik.Vip as a disguised gambling game, but he failed to report this information to the leader of the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS).

Meanwhile, when the subordinates proposed to investigate CNC company for signs of organising gambling, Nguyen Thanh Hoa did not give his approval. He claimed that CNC had not violated the law and reported to the general department and MoPS to recommend this company be piloted for professional work.

However, CNC was found to have operated an online gambling ring and gained trillions of Vietnamese dong, yet had failed to invest in the national defense system on cybercrime. C50 received only VND700 million ($30,800) and antivirus software from this company.

Former director believed to have accepted one million dollar bribe

The investigation agency assessed that Vinh’s behaviour had extremely serious consequences and affected the reputation of the public security sector.

According to the investigation agency, Vinh received a Rolex watch from Duong, though Vinh claimed he had paid VND1.1 billion ($48,500) for the gift.

The investigation also concluded that Duong’s claim to have given Vinh VND27 billion ($1.2 million) and Hoa VND22 billion ($0.97 million) may in fact be true. However, the agency has yet to collect enough evidence, and these statements will be investigated further in the second phase.

To date, a total of approximately VND1.3 trillion in property has been seized from the suspects and other related parties as part of the investigation.

According to investigators, the gambling ring on web portals Rikvip/ headed by Nam and Duong had established a large network of 25 "tier 1 agencies" and nearly 5,900 "tier 2 agencies" with nearly 43 million user accounts since launched in mid-2015.

The illegal ring was found to have generated a total income of over VND9.8 trillion ($426 million) and a profit of VND4.7 trillion. Out of this profit, Nam received nearly VND1.5 trillion, Duong over VND1.6 trillion while a group of wanted suspects earned VND1.574 trillion between them.

Due to the complex nature of the case, a second phase of investigation will be launched to identify the remaining people and organisations involved in the ring's criminal activities.

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