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Runaway oil exec gets life

Released at: 19:32, 22/01/2018

Runaway oil exec gets life

Former PVC Chairman Trinh Xuan Thanh (front, centre) was sentenced to life imprisonment on Jan. 22 (Photo: VNA)

Former Politburo member sentenced to 13 years in prison as verdicts in PetroVietnam case handed down.

by Quang Huy

A notorious runaway oil executive and a former Politburo member, Ho Chi Minh City Party Chief, and PetroVietnam Chairman were both handed jail sentences on January 22 in Hanoi for their involvement in a massive corruption scandal at the oil giant.

Trinh Xuan Thanh, former Chairman and CEO of the PetroVietnam Construction Corp., was sentenced to life imprisonment for his pivotal role in million-dollar losses incurred at power plants the corporation was in charge of.

Thanh, 52, was convicted of embezzlement and deliberately acting against State regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences. He was detained last August, after which he fled to Europe and then turned himself in.

Dinh La Thang, a former political “star” and Chairman of PetroVietnam, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars for economic management violations.

Before the trial, prosecutors said Thang could face up to 20 years in jail, the heaviest punishment for his crime, and that Thanh could be sentenced to death. However, on the fourth day of the trial, prosecutors lowered their recommendations to a life sentence for Thanh and 14-15 years for his former boss.

The 20 other defendants received up to 22 years behind bars.

The court described the case as “especially serious”. It said on January 22 the defendants had abused their positions while holding key roles at the State-owned giant regarding projects of national importance.

Thang served as Chairman of PetroVietnam between 2006 and 2011, before his career took off as Minister of Transport in Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s cabinet and then Party Chief of Ho Chi Minh City.

The indictment said he directly appointed Thanh as CEO of PVC in December 2007, before making various promotion, funding and recruitment decisions to boost Thanh’s power and facilitate the company’s operations.

He was found guilty of being responsible for Thanh’s actions that led to losses of more than VND119 billion ($5.24 million) at one thermal power plant and the embezzlement of VND4 billion ($176,000) at another.

Thang’s trial came swiftly a month after he was arrested. He was fired from the Ho Chi Minh City post and dismissed from the Politburo, the Communist Party’s decision-making body, in May.

The PetroVietnam trial has taken place at the same time as a separate trial in Ho Chi Minh City where a $400 million fraud case involving the Vietnam Construction Bank is being heard, which will run for another two weeks.

After the PetroVietnam trial, Thang is set to stand trial again later this month for his role in the Ocean Bank case, for which he is facing up to 20 years in prison.

Thanh, meanwhile, now faces the death sentence for embezzlement at PVPLand, a subsidiary of PVC.

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