June 2, 2018 / 3:41 PM / 5 months ago

Vietnam's party accuses senior officials of violations at Mobifone, BIDV

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam’s current and former information ministers and several other senior officials have been accused of “very serious” violations linked to state telecoms firm Mobifone and BIDV bank, part of a widening crackdown on corruption.

An inspection committee from the country’s ruling Communist party said the officials were responsible for allowing a loss-making deal in which Mobifone tried to buy a 95-percent stake in a private pay-TV service called Audio Visual Global.

“The violations caused big losses to the state assets, badly affected Mobifone’s operation and privatisation process and the reputation of the party and the Information Ministry,” the committee said in a statement on its website.

The six officials named in the case included Information Minister Truong Minh Tuan, his predecessor Nguyen Bac Son and the former chairman of state telecommunications company Mobifone, Le Nam Tra.

Separately, the committee said the former chairman of state-controlled lender BIDV Tran Bac Ha and two other executives at the bank had committed violations in lending 4.7 trillion dong ($206.18 million) to 12 companies involved in a corruption case at Vietnam Construction Bank.

The committee said the officials’ punishment would now be considered. In Vietnam, the inspection committee investigates wrongdoing before making a decision on how to sanction those found responsible.

BIDV and Mobifone did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Deputy Information Minister Hoang Vinh Bao told a news conference the ministry would follow the conclusions of the inspection committee.

Vietnam’s ongoing corruption crackdown has reached the energy, banking, police, telecoms sectors as well as to provincial levels, with a former politburo member sentenced to 31 years in prison, the first official of such high-ranking to face trial in decades.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Helen Popper

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