Trial of Dinh La Thang and 21 other defendants commences

By Bao Binh - Jan 08, 2018 | 05:51 PM GMT+7

TheLEADERThe Hanoi People’s Court today opened the first instance hearing of the trial of Dinh La Thang and 21 other defendants accused of serious economic crimes at PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC).

The 22 defendants in the case were defended by 42 lawyers, including three for Thang, former Politburo member and former Chairman of the Member Council of the State-owned Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

Five lawyers represented Nguyen Xuan Thanh, former Chairman and General Director of PetroVietnam’s Construction Joint Stock Corporation PVC.

According to the proposal of the court, Dinh La Thang and 11 other defendants were accused of “deliberately violating the State’s regulations on economic management and causing severe consequences” (Article 165 of the prevailing Penal Code) while eight others were charged with misappropriating property.

Thanh and Vu Duc Thuan, former member of the PVC Board of Directors were to be tried on both charges.

According to the indictment by the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Viet Nam, this is an extremely serious case involving high-profile officials holding key positions in important economic units and major national projects like the Thai Bình 2 thermal power plant.

Defendant Dinh La Thang at the trial. Photo: VNA

Notably, in June 2010, without appraising PVC’s capacity and experience and without conducting the necessary procedures for contractor selection, Thang signed a PetroVietnam's resolution nominating PVC to implement an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the US$1.7-billion Thai Binh 2 thermal power plant, under the form of a bidding appointment.

Based on the contract, Thang asked PetroVietnam to advance PVC more than US$6.6 million and VND1.3 trillion (US$59 million) of which VND1.1 trillion (US$48.4 million) was then misused by Thanh.

Thang’s actions are estimated to have caused losses of nearly VND120 billion (US$5.3 million) to the State.

Defendant Trinh Xuan Thanh at the trial. Photo: Doan Tuan VNA

Regarding allegations of asset embezzlement, Thanh asked his staff to overstate the construction expenditures of the Vung Ang-Quang Trach thermal power project by VND13 billion ($572,456). Thanh and Thuan took VND4 billion ($176,140) and VND800 million ($35,228), respectively.