Vietnam tries former top public security officials

By Bao Ha   January 28, 2019 | 02:15 pm GMT+7

Two former deputy ministers appeared in court Monday, charged with involvement in violations committed by a disgraced and jailed property tycoon.

Former deputy public security ministers Bui Van Thanh, 60, and Tran Viet Tan, 64, were charged with "negligence of responsibility, causing serious consequences" and "abusing power or position in the performance of official duties."

Standing trial in Hanoi with them for the same charge were Phan Huu Tuan, 64, former deputy head of the ministry’s General Department of Intelligence and Nguyen Huu Bach, 56, a division head under the department.

According to the Politburo, the Communist Party's highest decision-making body, between 2014 and 2018, Thanh committed violations that resulted in "very serious" consequences, negatively affected the reputation of the Party and the public security forces.

Bui Van Thanh at the court in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Bui Van Thanh at the court in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Thanh, as the deputy public security minister responsible for the ministry's General Department of Logistics-Engineering and as the department's former general director, was responsible for violations committed by the Standing Committee of the department's Party unit, the Politburo held.

He was found to have violated the principle of democratic centralism and shown irresponsibility in leading, managing, inspecting and supervising the department, enabling violations.

Thanh also violated regulations on protecting state secrets and the ministry's working regulations, and broke laws in signing documents proposing the sale of several properties and land lots that belonged to the ministry.

He was also found to have signed a decision allowing Phan Van Anh Vu, a property tycoon hired as an intelligence agent, to travel abroad and requested a diplomatic passport for him, although the latter was not qualified to get one.

The investigations happened four months after the Prime Minister dismissed Thanh from his position as Deputy Minister of Public Security and retroactively stripped Tan of his title as Deputy Minister of Public Security for the 2011-2016 term.

Thanh was also dismissed from all Party positions and demoted from lieutenant general to colonel, while Tan lost his former Party position and was demoted from colonel general to lieutenant general.

Tran Viet Tan faces the court in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Tran Viet Tan faces the court in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Meanwhile, Tan, during his time as member of the Executive Committee of the Public Security Force's Party unit, had shown irresponsibility in leading, managing, inspecting and supervising the force. He had also signed a number of documents that violated regulations on protecting state secrets, the indictment says.

It also says that Vu, 44, who used to be one of the biggest property developers in Da Nang and was the chairman of three large property companies as also a shareholder in a number of projects in the city, was recruited to work as intelligence agent for the ministry.

His activities were managed by Tan, Bach and Tuan.

Before working for the ministry, Vu already owned two companies based in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. With his new position, Vu asked his superiors to approve paperwork for him to lease and transfer land, as also land use rights of seven projects at prime locations in the two cities, causing losses worth more than VND1.15 trillion (nearly $50 million) to the state budget.

Disgraced property tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu brought to the trial in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Disgraced property tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu brought to the trial in Hanoi on Monday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

Last December, authorities issued an international arrest warrant for him for revealing state secrets after he left the country. He was detained in Singapore the same month for violating that country's immigration laws and deported to Vietnam, where he was arrested upon arrival.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison for "deliberately disclosing state secrets" in July. An appeal court in late October commuted his sentence to eight years. In the same case, Tuan and Bach got seven and six years in jail, respectively.

In late December last year, Vu received 17 more years in prison for "abuse of power to appropriate property" in a case where he was found to have misappropriated more than VND200 billion ($8.6 million) from Dong A Bank.

Vu is also under investigation for violations of land regulations in Da Nang and HCMC.

The current trial in Hanoi is expected to last until Wednesday.

 
 
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