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Trial of Dinh La Thang and 21 others to start on January 8

On January 8, 2018, the Hanoi People’s Court will open the first instance hearing of the trial of Dinh La Thang and 21 other defendants in relation to serious economic crimes at PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC).

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Thang will be represented by four lawyers, while Trinh Xuan Thanh will be represented by seven lawyers.

According to the proposal of the court, Dinh La Thang - held in custody for investigation since December 8 - and 11 other defendants will be charged with “intentionally violating state regulations on economic management and causing serious consequences” (Article 165 of the Penal Code), while eight others may face charges of “asset embezzlement.”

Two defendants - PVC’s former chairman Trinh Xuan Thanh and former member of the PVC Board of Directors Vu Duc Thuan - are to be tried on both charges.

Notably, in October 2007, the Ministry of Industry and Trade assigned PetroVietnam to develop Thai Binh 2 thermal power project. In December, Thang (in the role of chairman of the Board of Directors) appointed Thanh, then general director of state-owned Song Hong Corporation, to the position of general director of PVC, despite Thanh being inexperienced at the time. Later, Thanh became chairman of the PVC Board of Directors cum general director.

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

Based on the contract, Thang asked PetroVietnam to pay PVC more than $6.6 million and VND1.3 trillion ($59 million) in advance to implement the contract. Then, Thanh used VND1.1 trillion ($48.4 million) of the advance payment for other purposes. According to the authorities, the advance payment was not compliant with government regulations.

Phung Dinh Thuc, former general director of PetroVietnam, is accused of complicity in the above incident. As of November 22, 2017, the state only managed to recover VND1.1 trillion ($48.4 million) of the advance payment.

Regarding allegations of asset embezzlement, Thanh asked his staff to overstate the construction expenditures of four stages of 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).

The list of defendants

1. Involvement in deliberate violations of state regulations on economic management, causing serious economic damages (Article 165 of the Penal Code):

Dinh La Thang, former chairman of the Board of Directors of PetroVietnam;
Trinh Xuan Thanh, former chairman of the Board of Directors of PVC;
Vu Duc Thuan, former general director of PVC;
Nguyen Manh Tien, former deputy general director of PVC;
Pham Tien Dat, former chief accountant of PVC;
Le Dinh Mau, former deputy head of the accounting and auditing office of PetroVietnam;
Nguyen Ngoc Quy, former deputy chairman of the Board of irectors of PVC;
Vu Hong Chuong, former head of the Project Management Unit of Thai Binh 2 thermal power plant under the management of PetroVietnam;
Ninh Van Quynh, former chief accountant cum head of the accounting and auditing office of PetroVietnam;
Tran Van Nguyen, former chief accountant of Thai Binh 2 thermal power plant;
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, former deputy general director of PetroVietnam;
Phung Dinh Thuc, former general director of PetroVietnam
Nguyen Xuan Son, former deputy general director of PetroVietnam
Truong Quoc Dung, former deputy general director of PetroVietnam

2. Involvement in asset embezzlement:

Trinh Xuan Thanh, former chairman of the Board of Directors of PVC;
Vu Duc Thuan, former general director of PVC;
Luong Van Hoa, former director of the Project Management Ụnit of Vung Ang-Quang - Trach thermal power plant project;
Nguyen Ly Hai, former head of Technical Office under the Project Management Unit of Vung Ang-Quang Trach thermal power plant project;
Le Xuan Khanh, former head of the Economic-Planning Office under the Project Management Unit of the Vung Ang-Quang Trach thermal power plant project;
Nguyen Thanh Quynh, former technical-technology director of Mien Trung Corporation under Danang JSC;
Bui Manh Hien, former chief office of PVC;
Nguyen Anh Minh, former deputy general director of PVC;
Nguyen Duc Hung, former head of the Finance and Accounting Office under the Project Management Unit of the Vung Ang-Quang Trach petroleum thermal power project;
Le Thi Anh Hoa, former director of Quynh Hoa One Member Company Limited.

@NPKlaw.com