HÀ NỘI — Former minister of information and communications Nguyễn Bắc Son has filed an appeal against his life sentence in the first instance trial of Mobifone’s wrongful purchase of 95 per cent of shares in the Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG).
In 2015, the MIC-run Mobifone bought 95 per cent of AVG for VNĐ8.9 trillion (US$382.7 million), many times higher than the actual value of the struggling firm. The deal caused a loss of over VNĐ6.59 trillion ($283.3 million) to the State.
At the end of the trial from December 16-28, 2019, Son was given life in prison for “receiving bribes” and 16 years in prison for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”, the combination of which resulted in the final sentence of life imprisonment.
In his appeal, Son asked for clemency and a reduced sentence, presenting many extenuating circumstances such as his contributions when working and current ill health. He also said he had confessed to receiving bribes during the investigation and paid back all the money he had received.
Another defendant in the case, Mobifone Deputy General Director Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng also lodged an appeal, saying that his sentence of two years and six months in prison is too strict.
Hùng said the verdict has not taken into full consideration the circumstances and his situation in the case. According to him, the allegation that he conducted procedures of the deal despite being aware of the financial situation of AVG was not true.
The case involved 14 defendants, including two former ministers of information and communication – Son and his successor, Trương Minh Tuấn, who was jailed for 16 years on the same two charges as Son.
Former Chairman of the Mobifone Member Council Lê Nam Trà and former Mobifone General Director Cao Duy Hải were given 23-year and 14-year imprisonment sentences, respectively, for both charges.
For nine defendants on charges of “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”, the court pronounced that former head of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)’s Department of Enterprise Management Phạm Đình Trọng will stay behind bars for five years; director of the AMAX investment consultancy and valuation company Võ Văn Mạnh three years and six months; and appraiser Hoàng Duy Quang three years.
Member of the Mobifone Member Council Phan Thị Hoa Mai and Hùng and three other Mobifone Deputy General Directors Phạm Thị Phương Anh, Hồ Tuấn and Nguyễn Bảo Long were sentenced to two years and six months in jail.
Mobifone Deputy General Director Nguyễn Đặng Nguyên got a two-year jail sentence.
Former Chairman of the AVG Board of Directors Phạm Nhật Vũ was given a three-year sentence for giving bribes.— VNS