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Vietnam court sentences senior political official to 13 years in prison

[JURIST] The Hanoi People's Court of Vietnam on Monday sentenced [press release, in Vietnamese] former politburo member Dinh La Thang to 13 years in prison for embezzlement and violation of state regulations.

Thang had served as an executive for PetroVietnam (PVN), a state run oil corporation. Thang, along with another executive tried [VOA report, in Vietnamese], Trinh Xuan Thanh, were involved in embezzlement of funds from a thermal power project undertaken by PVN violating state regulations on economic management. The indiscretions caused losses equating to 119 Billion đồng (USD $5 million).

Thang was convicted to 13 years in prison under Vietnam Penal Code of 1999 Article 165, Clause 3 [Penal Code, English] that states, "Deliberately acting against the State's regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences...committing the crime which entails a loss of one billion dong or more or other particularly serious consequences, the offender shall be sentenced to between ten years and twenty years of imprisonment."

Thanh was charged under Article 165, Clause 3 as well, in addition to Article 278, Clause 4 on embezzlement stating:
"Committing the crime in one of the following circumstances, the offenders shall be sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment: a) Appropriating property valued at five hundred million dong or more; b) Causing other particularly serious consequences." Thanh was sentenced to life in prison.

This trial, in addition to the Ocean Bank embezzlement case [JURIST report] in September, are part of the government's renewed efforts to combat corruption.

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