Defendant Vũ Đức Thuận, PVC’s former director general at the Supreme People’s Court yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp
HÀ NỘI — The Supreme People’s Court yesterday began the appeal trial of the case on “asset embezzlement” and “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences” at PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC), a subsidiary of the national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam (PVN).
Before the start of the appeal trial, Trịnh Xuân Thanh, former chairman of PVC, withdrew his lodged appeal against the first-instance sentence handed down by the Hà Nội People’s Court.
Under the first instance sentence, Thanh was given life imprisonment on the charge of asset embezzlement and 14 years for “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences”.
The combined penalty for both counts is life imprisonment.Thanh also asked for permission to be absent at the appeal trial due to health reasons. Therefore, the court will not consider Thanh’s case at the appeal trial.
As a result, the appeal trial will look at the appeals of 14 out of 22 defendants in the PVC case. Among them were Đinh La Thăng, former chairman of the PVN, and Phùng Đình Thực, former Director General of PVN, both of whom claimed they are innocent. Thăng was given 13 years in jail and Thực nine years on the charge of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences”.
The appeal interrogation yesterday afternoon focused on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package number 33 of the Thái Bình 2 Thermal Power Plant project.
Defendant Vũ Đức Thuận, PVC’s former director general, asked for reduced criminal and civil sentences, saying that his sentence of 22 years in prison is too heavy.
According to the indictment of the first instance trial, although Thuận knew that the EPC package number 33 was not qualified to be signed, he still followed Trịnh Xuân Thanh’s order to sign it so that PVC could get an advance deposit of US$6.6 million, and a further loan of more than VNĐ1.312 trillion ($57.7 million), and used the money illegally. He also followed Thanh’s order to fake documents to withdraw money from the Vũng Áng-Quảng Trạch project.
Thuận claimed that before signing, he asked for permission from PVC’s board of directors.
Nguyễn Ngọc Quý, former PVC deputy chairman, said that he did not notice his violations until he worked with an investigative agency.
During the interrogation, he asked for the sentence of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences” to be changed. He claimed that his decision to sign a resolution approving the content of EPC package number 33 was conducted indeliberately and on behalf of the PVC board of directors, which was ordered by Trịnh Xuân Thanh.
Ninh Văn Quỳnh, former PVN former chief accountant and head of the finance and accounting department, asked for the reduction of his sentence of seven years in prison and compensation.
The interrogation is scheduled to continue today. — VNS