Graft: life term sought for oil baron

Pretoria News - - WORLD -

HANOI: Viet­namese prose­cu­tors in a high-pro­file cor­rup­tion case rec­om­mended a life sen­tence for an oil ex­ec­u­tive al­legedly kid­napped by Viet­namese agents in Ber­lin last year, a lawyer for the de­fen­dant said yes­ter­day.

Trinh Xuan Thanh, the for­mer chair­man of PetroViet­nam Con­struc­tion (PVC), a sub­sidiary of the state oil com­pany PetroViet­nam (PVN), fled Viet­nam to Ger­many in 2016 to evade crim­i­nal charges.

He resur­faced last Au­gust in Viet­namese po­lice cus­tody.

Ger­many ac­cuses Viet­namese in­tel­li­gence agents of kid­nap­ping him in broad day­light as he walked through a park in the heart of Ber­lin. Viet­nam de­nies spir­it­ing him away.

Prose­cu­tors at the trial in Hanoi claim that Thanh, as well as the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, were in­volved in a forgery scheme to em­bez­zle 13 bil­lion dong (R7.2 mil­lion), of which Thanh al­legedly pock­eted $180 000 dol­lars.

While Thanh de­nies em­bez­zle­ment, he has ad­mit­ted to a sep­a­rate charge of eco­nomic mis­man­age­ment linked to a con­tract he asked a subor­di­nate to sign with PVN to build a ther­mal power plant in north­ern Viet­nam in 2011.

The gov­ern­ment says the deal re­sulted in a $5.4m loss to the state.

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