|Defendant Trương Duy Nhất at the court hearing. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The former head of Đại Đoàn Kết (Great Unity) newspaper in the central region has been sentenced to ten years in prison for abusing his position.
Trương Duy Nhất's crime was allegedly related to Đà Nẵng real estate mogul Phan Văn Anh Vũ.
According to the indictment released at the first instance trial on Monday, Nhất was appointed to head the newspaper’s office in Đà Nẵng in 1997.
Between 2003 and 2004, Nhất signed three documents to ask Đà Nẵng’s People’s Committee's permission to buy public land and property to build a new office for the newspaper.
The People’s Committee agreed to sell a land lot at No 82 Trần Quốc Toản Street, Hải Châu District at a favourable price of VNĐ674 million (US$29,300) to Đại Đoàn Kết.
Nhất then sold the land on to Construction 79 Company owned by Phan Văn Anh Vũ for a similar price.
The land was used to build a villa owned by Vũ’s family.
The court said Nhất had helped Vũ buy public land, causing a loss of VNĐ13.8 billion ($600,000) to the State budget.
According to the judge, Nhất’s behaviour was extremely serious.
The 56-year-old former journalist admitted his crime at the hearing but claimed he had not broken the law.
The People’s Supreme Court accused Lê Quang Trang, the newspaper’s former editor-in-chief, and Bùi Thượng Toản, former deputy editor-in-chief, for negligent management for allowing Nhất to buy the land.
The police have asked the Party Central Inspection Committee to punish the two leaders.
In 2014, Nhất was sentenced to two years in jail for abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to infringe upon State interests and the legitimate interests of organisations and/or citizens, under the Penal Code. — VNS