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'Kidnapped' Vietnamese oil executive gets second life term

February 5, 2018

Trinh Xuan Thanh was convicted of embezzling assets from units of Vietnam's state-owned oil company. Germany says the high-profile former oil executive was kidnapped by Vietnamese agents from a Berlin park last year.

Trinh Xuan Thanh being taken to a court in Hanoi
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Tan/VNA

A court in Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, has handed a second life sentence to Trinh Xuan Thanh, a former executive of the state-owned oil company, for embezzlement, state media reported.

Thanh, who Germany says was kidnapped by Vietnamese agents in a Berlin park last year, was convicted of embezzling $622,000 (€500,000) from a property project developed by a unit of state-owned PetroVietnam, the state-run online newspaper VnExpress said.

Read more: Berlin bloggers fear the long arm of Hanoi

Thanh denied the allegations, but testimony by other defendants and witnesses gave sufficient basis to issue the conviction, the paper quoted judges as saying.

Lawyer: Thanh trial not fair

The 51-year-old was also sentenced to life in prison two weeks ago for embezzlement in another corruption case.

Also convicted in that case was Politburo member Dinh La Thang, Vietnam's highest-ranking politician charged in decades. Thang was jailed for 13 years for economic mismanagement.

The convictions are a result of Vietnam's widespread corruption crackdown initiated by the ruling Communist Party under the watch of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Read moreBerlin 'kidnapping': Nowhere to run from Vietnam's anti-corruption campaign

'Kidnapped' in Germany

Germany accused Vietnam of abducting Thanh from a Berlin park in July in what it called "an unprecedented and flagrant violation of German and international law."

Thanh, who was facing corruption charges, had fled Vietnam in 2016 and had sought political asylum in Germany.

Vietnam denied the abduction allegation and says Thanh returned voluntarily.

ap/msh (AP, Reuters)