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Appeal trial begins for MobiFone-AVG case

Update: April, 23/2020 - 22:32

 

Defendants at the court in Hà Nội on Thursday.  — VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — The High-Level People’s Court in Hà Nội on Thursday began a four-day appeal trial for the case involving MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation’s purchase of 95 per cent of shares in Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG).

Nine defendants face the jury, comprising Nguyễn Bắc Son (former Minister of Information and Communications), Lê Nam Trà (former Chairman of Mobifone's Member Council), Hoàng Duy Quang (staff member of the AMAX investment consultancy and valuation company), Phạm Thị Hoa Mai (former member of Mobifone's Member Council), and five former Deputy General Directors of MobiFone – Hồ Tuấn, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Nguyễn Bảo Long, Nguyễn Đăng Nguyên and Phạm Thị Phương Anh. 

Earlier, Son asked for a delay of the trial due to health reasons, but his request was denied by the court.

The trial had been initially scheduled for April 13-16. However, it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the first trial that took place from December 16-28, 2019, 11 of the 14 defendants filed appeals, asking for clemency and reduced sentences.

Later, former General Director of MobiFone Cao Duy Hải and former Director of the AMAX valuation and investment consultancy company Võ Văn Mạnh withdrew their appeal requests.

Three defendants did not appeal, namely Trương Minh Tuấn, former Minister of Information and Communications; Phạm Đình Trọng, head of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Department of Enterprise Management; and Phạm Nhật Vũ, former Chairman of the AVG Board of Directors.

During the first-instance trial, Trương Minh Tuấn was sentenced to eight years in prison for “accepting bribes” and another six years for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”. The total sentence for him is 14 years behind bars.

Trọng received a five-year term for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”. Meanwhile, Vũ has to spend three years in jail for bribing.

Son was given life imprisonment for “taking bribes” and 16 years in prison for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”. The total sentence is life imprisonment.

Hồ Tuấn and Hùng received a prison sentence of two and a half years each for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”, according to the first trial’s verdict.

It was found that in 2015, MobiFone, run by the Ministry of Information and Communications, bought 95 per cent of AVG’s shares for VNĐ8.9 trillion (US$375 million), significantly higher than their actual value. The deal caused a loss of over VNĐ6.59 trillion ($277 million) to the State. —  VNS

 

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