They are the latest executives to fall foul of the communist country’s crackdown on mismanagement and graft in its sprawling state-run sector.

The group was arrested for “intentionally violating state regulations on economic management causing serious consequences” amounting to US$147.9mil (RM612.9mil) in losses, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website.

The four businessmen, who worked for the PetroVietnam Construction (PVC) subsidiary, include former director Vu Duc Thuan, former deputies Nguyen Manh Tien and Truong Quoc Dung and former chief accountant Pham Tien Dat.

Their arrests come after the detention last year of former company chairman Nguyen Xuan Son, who was accused of abuse of power and “deliberate wrongdoing causing serious economic consequences”.

His predecessor is also under investigation for involvement in PetroVietnam’s losses, though he has gone under the radar since he was stripped of a government posting earlier this year.

Communist Vietnam has been struggling to clean up its vast and inefficient state-run sector for years.

After the collapse of state shipping giant Vinashin in 2008, the government ordered all state-run enterprises to divest from non-core investments, though many have still not complied.

In recent years there have been a string of high-profile arrests and prosecutions of wealthy businessmen and executives.

However, analysts often view such cases as the result of political infighting rather than a genuine commitment to reform.

Last week, a Vietnamese court convicted the former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank and 35 other employees for stealing more than US$400mil from the joint-stock bank.

Agence France Presse - September 17, 2016