Bui Tien Dung and eight other officials face charges in connection with the siphoning-off of 3.4 billion dong (now more than S$198,000) from a bridge-building project funded by foreign aid.

'Dung and seven men are accused of embezzlement,' said an official of the Hanoi People's Court, declining to be named, adding that the ninth accused was charged with using property acquired through crime.

Dung and his accomplices allegedly created a list of 26 fake employees supposedly working on the Bai Chay bridge in northern Quang Ninh province and pocketed their wages from 2003 onwards, the court official said.

It was not known which countries funded the project.

In Vietnam conviction for embezzlement can carry the death penalty in the most serious cases, or a jail term.

Agence France Presse - June 29, 2011