Vietnamese cashews shipped to Italy:

Progress in probe of scam

06:00 | 25/04/2022 Trade

(VEN) - A positive development has been reported in the suspected scam involving millions of dollars in Vietnamese cashew nut exports to Italy, following the recovery of 12 out of 35 containers whose original documents went missing.

progress in probe of scam
The Italian Genoa port, where several containers of Vietnamese cashew nuts were detained

Missing documents

The complex international saga involving exporters, brokers, banks, shipping lines, lawyers, police, and other authorities involves contracts signed by several Vietnamese cashew exporters with a Vietnamese broker to sell 100 cashew nut containers to Italy worth US$20 million.

When exporters failed to receive any payment, an investigation was launched and it found that the original documents of 35 of the 100 containers, valued at approximately US$7 million, were missing or had been falsified. The investigation turned up that changes had been made to the documents of collection sent from Vietnamese banks to those allegedly representing the importer.

Having found 12 of the 35, the Vietnam Trade Office in Italy has contacted reputable overseas Vietnamese businesses in Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, and Hungary to help find new buyers in Europe and reduce the exporters’ losses.

If 39 containers with original documents have not arrived at the Italian ports, they will be delivered back to Vietnam, Vietnamese Trade Counselor in Italy Nguyen Duc Thanh said, adding that original documents can be further processed in a case that they have arrived at the ports. Specifically, some 20 containers were re-exported to the Netherlands and Germany, Thanh said.

Thanh said that the Vietnam Trade Office in Italy was working with lawyers, police and relevant agencies to detain all the containers and ensure they were not released into the hands of those who may present false documents.

progress in probe of scam

Caution in contractual terms

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Italy, Vietnamese businesses place great trust in brokers for their exports. All six Vietnamese cashew nut exporters signed contracts through a broker and did not know their customers, Thanh said.

He added that although brokers are essential in international trade, businesses still need to check them out and monitor the shipping and delivery process. Before signing a contract and deducting the commission, businesses must ask for the buyer’s contact information, specific address and email or conduct phone calls and online exchanges with the buyer.

Vietnamese businesses should choose safe payment methods, learn carefully about import partners, and should be proactive in chartering means of transport to better control the original documents and goods, Thanh said, adding that customers can deposit 30 percent of the contract if its value is small and 10 percent for large-value contracts. Businesses will start producing as soon as deposits are made.

Thanh advised Vietnamese businesses to be careful with contractual terms, especially payments. Small-sized firms unable to hire consultants can ask for help in the process of connection, negotiation, transaction and contract implementation, Thanh said.

Vu Ba Phu, director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said fraud is an inevitable part of international trade, but companies should seek support from Vietnamese trade offices to verify information and reduce potential risks.

Thu Phuong