Former high-ranking Vietnamese officials jailed for graft

Former high-ranking Vietnamese officials jailed for graft

A bad week is about to get worse for Trinh Xuan Thanh. The ex-chief of PetroVietnam’s construction arm was sentenced

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Photo: Doan Tan/Vietnam News Agency

A bad week is about to get worse for Trinh Xuan Thanh. The ex-chief of PetroVietnam’s construction arm was sentenced to life for embezzlement on Monday and will face another trial on similar charges today.

Mr Thanh is one of 21 former officials sentenced for graft, including ex-Transport Minister Dinh La Thang—an ally of Vietnam’s former PM and the most senior ex-official to be jailed in decades.

Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong insists the moves are “widely supported by the people”; critics say they’re politically motivated. Indeed, almost all the accused have links to ex-PM Nguyen Tan Dung—who led liberalisation efforts from 2006 to 2016.

The arrests are a symptom of a power struggle within the Communist Party. Led by Mr Trong, a conservative faction is determined to curb the influence of the former PM and his allies.

While the Party says it’s committed to reform efforts, including the privatisation of state-owned firms and a 10% reduction in public employees, the political turbulence will harm investor confidence in Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy.

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