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​Former Vietnamese Politburo member stands trial for second offense at state-owned petrol group

Monday, March 19, 2018, 10:27 GMT+7

A former Politburo member and ex-chairman of state-run oil and gas group PetroVietnam (PVN) stands his second trial on Monday regarding his role in the loss of over US$35 million worth of PVN’s investment in a local lender.

The Hanoi People’s Court has begun the trial of Dinh La Thang, 58, and his accomplices who are accused of causing the heavy loss to PVN’s investment in OceanBank.

Thang was chairman of PVN’s management board for the 2008-11 tenure and previously 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 also secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee from February 5, 2016 to May 10, 2017.

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

All defendants were charged with deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.

Quynh is additionally accused of abusing powers to appropriate property.

Local reporters witness the trial via a TV screen at the court. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Local reporters witness the trial via a TV screen at the court. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to the indictment, Thang and his accessories set up a plan to establish a bank named Hong Viet, of which PVN would own 50 percent, in 2006.

In 2008, the prime minister did not approve the scheme, thus the defendants changed their plan to channeling PVN’s investment into OceanBank, which was considered to have poor performance at the time.

Thang did not discuss with the board when he signed a contract with Ha Van Tham, former chairman of the lender, after which the oil and gas group invested a total of VND800 billion ($35.2 million) in the bank.   

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

In 2015, the bank was acquired for zero dong by the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, because of its poor financial results, which caused losses to the entire investment.

The trial is expected to last until March 29.

Thang has already been sentenced to 13 years in prison for deliberately violating state regulations following the court ruling on January 22.

He was involved in financial misconduct at PVN that resulted in losses of VND119 billion ($5.24 million).

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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