Vietnam cashew industry flags suspected UAE fraud

July 19, 2023 | 09:27
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The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has raised concerns over suspected fraudulent activities impacting one of its members and two other companies, ostensibly perpetrated by a client or financial institution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Vietnam cashew industry flags suspected UAE fraud

According to local media Tienphong, Vinacas reported that Tin Mai Co., a key local player in the cashew export market, released a consignment to a UAE-based buyer towards the end of June, following an upfront payment amounting to 15 per cent of the total shipment value.

The goods were confirmed as collected and the corresponding container returned on June 27. However, the company has yet to receive the outstanding 85 per cent payment despite numerous follow-up actions.

Vinacas disclosed that Sacombank, the Vietnamese financial institution involved in the transaction, has initiated two separate payment requests to the Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai Branch of Ajman Bank Pjsc, based in the UAE. The requests pertain to the unresolved payment and the return of the shipping documentation, both of which remain unfulfilled.

According to a representative from Vinacas, "Investigations have revealed that the shipping documents were handed over to a security official from Ajman Bank Pjsc by DHL, the courier firm involved. However, the subsequent location of these documents remains uncertain. The shipping company asserts their compliance with standard operating procedures, releasing the goods only after receiving the necessary paperwork."

In addition to Tin Mai, Vinacas revealed that at least two more firms have found themselves ensnared in comparable situations involving the same client and bank. Recognising the hallmarks of a potential scam, Vinacas solicited support from the Vietnam Trade Office in the UAE.

In an attempt to comprehensively understand the situation and formulate an effective response, Vinacas plans to collaborate with the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association. Together, they aim to convene a meeting with all affected parties to gather comprehensive data and establish recommendations for moving forward.

These are not isolated incidents in the cashew trade, as the industry has faced previous challenges of a similar nature. A notable case involved 100 cashew export containers destined for Italy, which led to substantial concerns over the security of international transactions.

Such instances of suspected fraud within the cashew export sector highlight the inherent risks involved in overseas trade, underscoring the importance of stringent due diligence. It sends a potent message to both corporations and regulators about the necessity for robust checks and balances to safeguard stakeholders' interests in the increasingly interconnected global marketplace.

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By Lam Tien

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