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​Vietnam police request prosecution of former Politburo member for economic misconduct

Thursday, December 21, 2017, 10:56 GMT+7

Vietnam’s Ministry of Police has concluded its investigation and suggested the prosecution of Dinh La Thang, former Politburo member and ex-chairman of state-run oil and gas group PetroVietnam (PVN), along with his accomplices over their wrongdoings leading to a loss of over US$35 million incurred by a state-owned enterprise.

The investigation result has been finalized and submitted to the Supreme People’s Procuracy for the next step of the legal proceedings.

Investigators requested that Thang and six other accessories be prosecuted for deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences, and abusing positions and powers to arrogate property at PVN.

Thang was a member of the Politburo, the all-powerful body of the Communist Party of Vietnam, from January 27, 2016 to May 7, 2017.

He was secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee from February 5, 2016 to May 10, 2017.

The other suspects include Nguyen Xuan Son, OceanBank’s former deputy general director, Nguyen Xuan Thang, Nguyen Thanh Liem, Vu Khanh Truong, Phan Dinh Duc, ex-board members of PVN, and Ninh Van Quynh, PVN’s deputy general director.

OceanBank was a private lender acquired at zero dong by the State Bank of Vietnam, which is the country’s central bank, in 2015 over its poor financial results.

According to the investigation result, the central government in 2006 allowed PVN to establish a bank, of which the oil and gas group would own 50 percent.  

However, in 2008, instead of opening the lender, PVN decided to buy shares of OceanBank.

Thang, who was chairman of PVN’s board of directors for the 2008-11 tenure, did not discuss with the board when he signed a contract with Ha Van Tham, former chairman of OceanBank.

Thang did not submit a report to the central government regarding the deal as promulgated by the law.

He continued issuing a resolution on capital contribution and appointed a PVN official to be the representative of the group’s investment in OceanBank, which accounted for 20 percent of the lender’s charter capital.

Despite being warned by other board members and his secretary that such actions were against regulations, Thang did not change his decision.

That resulted in the loss of VND800 billion (US$35.2 million) worth of PVN’s investment in OceanBank.

“Thang was insincere and dodgy when working with competent authorities, posing difficulty for the investigation,” investigators said.

The Ministry of Finance previously sent documents to the Government Office and PVN, advising that careful review should be done of OceanBank’s activities to ensure an effective investment.

Thang and other individuals at PVN neglected the suggestion of the finance ministry, resulting in the financial loss.

Police first arrested and began legal procedures against Thang on December 8.

In May, Thang was warned and then dismissed from the Politburo based on his financial misconduct.

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