Former PetroVietnam chief to stand 2nd trial for role in banking graft case in March

Vietnam has set the trial dates for seven former energy officials over a VND800 billion ($35 million) loss at state-owned oil giant PetroVietnam (PVN). The 10-day trial for Dinh La Thang, former board chairman of PVN and a once-rising political star, and six of his subordinates at the oil giant would be held from March 19 at the Hanoi People’s Court. Thang, as well as PVN’s former deputy director Nguyen Xuan Son and four former board members are facing 10-20 years in jail for “deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.” The remaining suspect, PVN’s former chief accountant Ninh Van Quynh is meanwhile charged with “abusing positions and/or powers to apporpriate property,” for which he faces up to life imprisonment. According to investigators, despite OceanBank’s “small and inefficient” operations back in 2008, Thang plowed ahead with a 20 percent stake purchase without appraising it or reporting the venture to the then prime minister. This led to PetroVietnam holding a VND800 billion stake in the lender, but that was completely written off when the central bank took over it in 2015. Meanwhile the other six suspects are prosecuted for agreeing with Thang’s decision. Quynh has also been accused of abuse of power to appropriate property for receiving VND20 billion from Son in order to influence PVN’s decisions in favor of OceanBank. Son was already sentenced to death for his role in the OceanBank graft case in a different trial last September. At the time, the defense lawyer for… [Read full story]


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