Vietnam begins abuse of power trial against former national security officials

Vietnam begins abuse of power trial against former national security officials

Today, the People’s Court of Hanoi will open the trials of former national security advisors Bui Van Thanh and Tran

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Photo: Reuters

Today, the People’s Court of Hanoi will open the trials of former national security advisors Bui Van Thanh and Tran Viet Tan on abuse of power charges.

Mr Thanh has been accused of allowing illegal sales of government properties, while Mr Tan allegedly created the conditions for illicit activities to take place. In total, the two officials have been charged with costing the Vietnamese government some $16.3 million.

Two other high profile corruption trials are running in Vietnam: 22 executives from the state-owned oil firm Petrovietnam are facing corruption charges, while 46 officials of the Vietnam Construction Bank are being tried in Ho Chi Minh City. Losses of hundreds of millions of dollars are alleged in both cases.

Vietnam has cracked down on corruption since the security establishment increased its power in 2018. It is speculated that the moves are motivated by political posturing within the Communist Party, but today’s trial could help alleviate some of those fears—the defendants are former security officials.

Hanoi treads a fine line with these trials. If Hanoi can purge corruption, it could be a boon for foreign investment, which grew by some 9% last year, but if political motives are exposed as being behind the trials, that growth may be harmed.

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