Vietnam nabs another oil executive one day after nicking his better known brother

By Staff reporters   December 9, 2017 | 01:13 am PT
Vietnam nabs another oil executive one day after nicking his better known brother
Dinh Mang Thang, an oil executive, was arrested Saturday morning, shortly after his better known brother Dinh La Thang. File photo by VnExpress
As the country continues to point both barrels at graft, oil executive have fallen like dominoes.

Vietnam’s sweeping corruption crackdown has net another oil executive over misconduct after the arrest of his better known brother, an ousted Communist Party official, rocked the country Friday, the latest scandal to hit the national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam.

Dinh Manh Thang was arrested on Saturday morning, just hours after the arrest of Dinh La Thang made national headlines.

Dinh Mang Thang, 55, was the board chairman of Petro Song Da Trading and Investment JSC, a joint venture between PetroVietnam and Song Da Corporation, a power and construction group. He held the post from May 2006 until last April, when he was dismissed for “personal reasons.”

He was arrested pending further investigations into his wrongdoings related to financial mismanagement and embezzlement at PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation (PVC), a member unit of the state energy giant.

His brother Dinh La Thang was arrested in Hanoi late on Friday for “serious” violations that also involve the PVC scandal.

Dinh La Thang, 57, is facing charges of “deliberate violation of state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.” He served as the board chairman of PetroVietnam between 2006 and 2011 before his political career took off as Minister of Transport in Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s cabinet.

The police say they are investigating Dinh La Thang for two separate cases.

The PVC case involves the notorious runaway Trinh Xuan Thanh, its former board chairman and general director. Thanh is set to stand trial in January for embezzlement and violating state regulations on economic management, causing losses of around VND3.2 trillion ($147 million) at PVC.

In another case, Dinh La Thang was held responsible for illegal business decisions, including an investment in the scandal-hit OceanBank. PetroVietnam held a VND800 billion ($35 million) stake in the bank, but that was completely written off when the central bank took it over in 2015.

At the high-profile OceanBank trial last September, Nguyen Xuan Son, a former board chairman of PetroVietnam, was sentenced to death and his counterpart at OceanBank, Ha Van Tham, received the life sentence. 

Dinh La Thang was arrested after the legislative National Assembly stripped him of his lawmaker status on Friday. His Communist Party membership has also been suspended.

His political career was almost doomed in May, when he was voted out of the then 19-member Politburo, the Party’s decision-making body, and later fired as the top leader of Ho Chi Minh City. He was later appointed as deputy head of the Central Economic Commission, which advises the Party on economic policies.

Le Hong Hiep, a Vietnamese research fellow at the Iseas Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said his arrest "was just a matter of time” given his removal from the Poliburo and the developments in other trials in which he was implicated.

Also on Friday evening, police in Hanoi arrested Nguyen Quoc Khanh, another former board chairman of PetroVietnam, for violations in multiple scandalous projects at the giant.

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