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​Vietnam tries former Politburo member for misconduct at state-owned petrol group

​Vietnam tries former Politburo member for misconduct at state-owned petrol group

Monday, January 08, 2018, 11:40 GMT+7

The trial of Dinh La Thang, former Politburo member and ex-chairman of state-run oil and gas group PetroVietnam (PVN), began in Hanoi on Monday and is scheduled to conclude this month.

The municipal People’s Court has opened the trial of Thang, along with Trinh Xuan Thanh, the former chairman of PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC), a subsidiary of PVN, and that of 20 other defendants.

The suspects are alleged to have been involved in financial misconduct that led to losses of VND119 billion ($5.24 million).

As the former chairman of PVN’s management board, Thang is charged with deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, with serious consequences.

Thang, 57, was a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam from January 27, 2016 to May 7, 2017, and secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee from February 5, 2016 to May 10, 2017.    

Three attorneys will defend him during the trial.

Eleven other suspects have been charged with similar offenses, while eight defendants will be prosecuted for embezzlement of property.

Thanh and Vu Duc Thuan, the ex-general director of PVC, are charged with both.

Dinh La Thang speaks before the court in Hanoi on January 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Dinh La Thang speaks before the court in Hanoi on January 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to court documents, PVN opened the Thai Binh 2 thermal power project, located in the namesake province, in 2010.

Under Thang’s directions, PVC was chosen in June 2010 as the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) contractor for the project.

PVN then made an advance transfer of $6.6 million and over VND1.3 trillion ($57.2 million) to PVC to aid its construction.

However, Thanh, and other suspects at PVC, are alleged to have spent the money fraudulently, resulting in losses of VND119 billion for PVN.

The defendants are also alleged to have used the advance payment to legalize several documents relating to the building of several facilities in order to withdraw VND13 billion ($572,584), which was divided between the individuals.

Among them, Thanh pocketed VND4 billion ($176,220), while Thuan took VND800 million ($35,244).

Their trial will close on January 21.

Trinh Xuan Thanh is escorted to court in Hanoi on January 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Trinh Xuan Thanh is escorted to the court in Hanoi on January 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Upcoming trials

Thang is facing a separate trial in the near future regarding his role in losses of approximately VND800 billion ($35.2 million) worth of PVN’s investment in OceanBank.

Thang and six other accomplices are accused of deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, with serious consequences.

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

Additionally, Thanh is expected to stand trial for his involvement in the embezzlement of VND14 billion ($616,770) from the PetroVietnam Power Land Joint-Stock Company (PVP Land).

Seven of his accessories, including Dinh Manh Thang, Dinh La Thang’s younger brother, will also be present at the trial.

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