Vietnamese businesses have lost control of cashew nut containers shipped to Italy. (Illustrative image).
Vietnam requests Italy to investigate suspected cashew nut export scam
Competent authorities of Vietnam have asked relevant ministries and agencies of Italy to conduct a quick investigation into a suspected scam involving 100 containers of Vietnamese cashew nuts exported to Italy.
Five cashew nut processing and exporting businesses had previously signed contracts with some Italian customers to export the nuts to Italy through a broker named Kim Hanh Viet.
The exporters agreed to the international payment method of D/P (Documents against Payment) with five different Vietnamese banks that later used the express delivery service of the global courier DHL.
However, they completely lost control of the shipments after they found all original documents of some shipments that had already reached the destination were missing.
Vietnamese businesses noticed signs of fraud and immediately stopped delivering shipments in Vietnam. They at the same time intervened to keep consignments in transit in Singapore.
As of March 15, the documents of 36 containers valued at VND162 billion were missing. Of the total, eight containers had arrived at Italy’s Port of Genoa, and the remaining containers are scheduled to reach the destination by the end of March and the beginning of April.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam directed ministries and sectors to urgently coordinate with the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) in examining and clarifying the case to assist businesses and people involved, and ensure their interests.
After receiving Vinacas’ notice on the suspected scam, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affair (MoFA) directed the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy to contact owners of the ships transporting the cashew nuts. The embassy also sent officials to Italian cities of Genova and Napoli to verify the information.
According to MoFA spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang, the Vietnamese Embassy sent a diplomatic note to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Development, police, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and other competent agencies, requesting a quick investigation into the case and necessary measures taken to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese enterprises.
The embassy and the Vietnamese Trade Office in Italy had meetings with the involved Vietnamese businesses and Vinacas to discuss specific solutions. They suggested the exporters contact the international economic court and the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre to ask for their intervention in stopping the delivery of goods to the suspicious buyers so as to minimise losses.
PM Pham Minh Chinh has asked relevant ministers and the central bank’s governor to coordinate with the Vietnam Cashew Association and agencies concerned to verify the information that many cashew nut exporters are facing rist of big losses.
The Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS), on the evening of March 8, informed that it had just received an appeal for help from some cashew nut processing and exporting enterprises.