Kidnapped Vietnamese oil exec given life sentence for corruption

A court in Hanoi today sentenced a former executive at the state-run oil company PetroVietnam to life in prison for embezzlement, and the company’s former chairman to 13 years in prison, for their roles in suspect construction projects.

The first man, Trinh Xuan Thanh, drew international attention after he was allegedly kidnapped in a park in Berlin by Vietnamese agents and returned to stand trial. He had fled to Germany when the investigation began, and was seeking asylum there.

Trinh Xuan Thanh (from website Badamxoe)

The court criticised Thanh, and former chairman Dinh La Thang, for abusing their roles on projects of national importance.

Thanh and Thang were among 22 people tried for fraud and corruption following the construction of a power station, a project that went $5m over budget. All were found guilty and received sentences of between nine years and life.

The Nikkei Asian Review reports that the courtroom was packed for the trial, but only a few state-run media were allowed to attend.

More trials are expected this year as part of the Communist party’s crackdown on fraud and mismanagement. Both Thang and Thanh were prosecuted for other corruption cases besides the power station.

According to Transparency International’s 2016 league table, Vietnam ranks 113 out of 176, putting it among the group of countries with serious corruption issues.

Top image: Vietnam is expanding its generating sector to power its rapid economic growth (AmCham)

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