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Jakarta Post

Vietnam arrests oil execs as anti-graft sweep broadens


    Agence France-Presse

Hanoi   /   Fri, May 11, 2018   /   04:04 am
Vietnam arrests oil execs as anti-graft sweep broadens Containers of Dinh Vu port are seen from a seaplane of Hai Au Aviation during its first flight from Hanoi to Ha Long, September 8, 2014. (Reuters/Kham/File)

Vietnam arrested the chairman and chief accountant of a leading state-run oil refining firm Thursday for alleged abuse of power and property appropriation, as the government forges ahead with its massive anti-graft sweep.

Dozens of high-flying executives and former officials have been punished in the corruption crackdown waged by a hardline administration in charge since 2016. 

Some of the biggest names swept up in the crackdown are linked to the country's largest oil firm, state-run PetroVietnam (PVN). 

That now includes Nguyen Hoai Giang, the chairman of PVN subsidiary Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company, and head accountant Pham Xuan Quang. 

They were arrested Thursday for "abusing power to appropriate property," the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Thursday, without providing details. 

The ministry said it would further investigate the allegations that it was also linked to Ocean Bank, another major target of the recent anti-corruption campaign. 

Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical reported authorised capital worth $1.5 billion in 2015, according to the latest figures on the company's website. 

The firm raised $245 million in January from the sale of a 7.79 percent stake in an initial public offering.  

Vietnam has long vowed to quash rampant corruption, but observers say the current crackdown is unprecedented in its scope and scale -- and could be fuelled by political infighting.

PVN's ex-chairman and former Politburo member Dinh La Thang was sentenced to 13 years and 18 years in separate trials for economic mismanagement earlier this year.

He is currently appealing the 13-year sentence for overseeing an investment into a thermal plant that caused $5.2 million in losses for the state. 

He told the court this week that he did not break the law during his time as PVN head, his lawyer Nguyen Huy Thiep told AFP.