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​Former PetroVietnam official Dinh La Thang arrested

Saturday, December 09, 2017, 10:12 GMT+7

Vietnamese police on Friday arrested and launched legal proceedings against Dinh La Thang, former chairman of the board of members of state-run oil and gas giant PetroVietnam (PVN).

Thang has been taken into custody to serve the investigation of two serious economic cases, according to the investigation police department under the Ministry of Public Security.

The 57-year-old is currently a member of the Party Central Committee and deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission.

Thang is suspected of involvement in the case of deliberately violating the state’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences, and abusing position and authority to arrogate property, causing losses of VND800 billion (US$35.24 million) in PVN’s investment in OceanBank, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

It is believed that Thang also has a role in the case of deliberately violating the state’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences and committing embezzlement in PetroVietnam Construction Corporation, a PVN subsidiary, related to the Thai Binh 2 thermal power project.

Earlier the same day, Vietnam’s Politburo also suspended Thang’s Party-related activities, while the Standing Committee of the lawmaking National Assembly adopted a resolution suspending his status of a legislator, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

Besides Thang, another ex-PVN official, Nguyen Quoc Khanh, was also arrested on Friday to serve the investigation into the same two serious economic cases.

Khanh, former deputy general director of PetroVietnam, faces charges of deliberately violating state regulations on economic management causing serious consequences.

File photo of Dinh La Thang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
File photo of Dinh La Thang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Economic wrongdoings

Thang’s wrongdoings were conducted during his time serving as chairman of the board of members of PVN in the 2009-2011 period.

As of March 2014, PVN was one of the four biggest shareholders of OceanBank.

According to investigation documents, in late 2008, Thang, as the then chairman of the PVN Board of directors, signed an agreement for the state-run oil and gas behemoth to become a shareholder and strategic partner of OceanBank with a 20 percent stake.

PVN has channeled VND800 billion into the lender, an investment the company would never be able to retrieve.

Following the investment, PVN recommended one of its officials, Nguyen Xuan Son, to be member of the board of directors and general director of OceanBank.

Son was later prosecuted and taken to court on charges of deliberately violating the state’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences in a high-profile loss case at OceanBank. He was sentenced to death in September. 

In May, Thang was warned and dismissed from the Politburo of the Party Central Committee for those financial wrongdoings.

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