Ex-chairman of Hanoi Nguyen Duc Chung was sentenced to five years in jail for masterminding the theft of state secrets in a trial in the capital on Friday.
His three accomplices were also found guilty of “appropriating state secrets."
Pham Quang Dung, 37, a former official at the anti-corruption police department under the Ministry of Public Security, was given a jail term of four years and a half.
The Hanoi People's Court also handed down a two-year term on Nguyen Hoang Trung, 37, Chung's driver and a former police officer.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Anh Ngoc, 46, former deputy head of the editorial department at the capital city's People’s Committee, was condemned to 18 months in jail.
|From left to right: Nguyen Anh Ngoc, Nguyen Hoang Trung, and Pham Quang Dung are seen in photos supplied by police.|
During the trial behind closed doors, Chung, 53, admitted his wrongdoings as stated in the charges.
Chung’s case was considered with many mitigating circumstances, namely sincere confessions, his outstanding achievements in public service, his 'Hero of the People's Armed Forces' title, and his pre-existing cancer, which helped his sentence be significantly reduced.
Chung was director of the Hanoi police department before being elected as chairman of the capital in 2015.
Meanwhile, the three other accomplices also made sincere confessions, which helped their final charges be mitigated compared with those proposed by prosecutors.
Speaking to the press after the trial, lawyers Ngo Kim Loan and Giang Hong Thanh, who represented Dung and Trung, respectively, said the verdict did not mention civil or additional penalties.
Chung and his three accessories all admitted their wrongdoings and sent apologies to the Party, the country, and the people, Thanh added.
Due to his health issue, Chung was allowed to sit when answering questions at the court.
The four defendants were escorted to the Hanoi People’s Court around 6:50 am on Friday.
Earlier, Chung was prosecuted for the same crime punishable by 10 to 15 years in prison, the maximum penalties that can be given to offenders in this situation.
According to indictments, Chung and the three accomplices stole confidential documents of an investigation into a scandal related to Nhat Cuong, a technology firm and mobile phone vendor, which is still under investigation for smuggling, accounting violations, money laundering, and bidding violations, all causing serious consequences.
Such documents are considered by police as state secrets.
The former Hanoi chairman and his wife Nguyen Truc Chi Hoa had been found linked to the Nhat Cuong case.
Chung was also discovered paying US$10,000 to Dung in 2019. His family has submitted the amount to investigators. A separate probe has been launched into this case.
|A baggage screening checkpoint is set up in front of Courtroom No. 9 at the Hanoi People’s Court. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre|
|Attendees of Nguyen Duc Chung’s trial line up for security checks before entering the courtroom. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre|
|Mobile police are mobilized to guard the courtroom at the Hanoi People’s Court. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre|