Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Trịnh Xuân Thanh was sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzlement of VNĐ14 billion (US$614,600) as well as for his ‘ringleader’ role in a corruption case at a subsidiary of the country’s oil and gas giant PetroVietnam (PVN).
Thanh, former chairman of PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC), a subsidiary of PVN, was also fined an additional VNĐ50 million (US$2,200) in a verdict handed down by Hà Nội People’s Court on Monday morning. The verdict concluded a two-week trial looking into wrongdoings at PetroVietnam Power Land JSC (PVP Land), PVC’s real estate subsidiary.
Seven defendants who were put to trial were also punished on charges of property misappropriation.
The judges’ panel concluded that in the two-month period (from February to April 2010), Thanh, in collusion with several middlemen, had undersold more than 12 million shares of PVP Land in Xuyên Thái Bình Dương (TransPacific) company to a privately owned construction company, Minh Ngân. The loss to the State coffers, or the difference between actual price paid (VNĐ34 million for every sq.m. for the Nam Đàn Plaza project) and the contract price (VNĐ52 million for every sq.m.) in the transaction reached up to VNĐ87 billion ($3.82 million).
The court said the defendants involved had split the illicitly gained VNĐ49 billion among themselves, with Thanh taking the lion’s share of VNĐ14 billion. Đinh Mạnh Thắng, brother of the disgraced Politburo member, Đinh La Thăng, together with two other middlemen “influencing Thanh” to agree to the underselling, pocketed VNĐ5 billion. The late Đặng Sỹ Hùng, head of economic planning of PVP Land, took VNĐ20 billion, while two other representatives of PVP’s capitals at PVP Land --- Đào Duy Phong and Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh --- took home VNĐ8 billion and VNĐ2 billion, respectively.
Phong, chairman of PVP Land, was found to be the second most guilty, followed by Sinh. He was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment while Sinh received 13 years.
The jury said the defendants had been reasonably charged in line with existing law and that their representing lawyers’ arguments claiming their innocence were baseless. Việt Nam’s 2015 Penal Code prescribes imprisonment of 20 years, life sentence or even death for embezzlement of VNĐ1 billion and above or for causing losses worth more than VNĐ5 billion.
Thanh could have faced the death sentence, but the court observed that since he had paid back all the money he misappropriated, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
In the previous trial that ended on January 22, Thanh was already sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzlement and serious economic mismanagement involving PVN and PVC during the construction of key power projects. — VNS