January 30, 2019 / 11:12 AM / 6 months ago

Vietnam jails former deputy police ministers in graft crackdown

Former Vietnamese police senior officers stand while they listen during the verdict session of their trial at a court in Hanoi, Vietnam January 30, 2019. From L-R: Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security (Police) former Vice Minister Tran Viet Tan, former Intelligence Deputy General Director Phan Huu Tuan, former Vice Minister Bui Van Thanh, former Intellegence Vice director Nguyen Huu Bach and former Intellegence and businessman Phan Van Anh Vu. Van Diep/VNA via REUTERS.

HANOI (Reuters) - A Vietnamese court jailed two former deputy police ministers on Wednesday amid a widening crackdown on corruption in the communist-ruled country, state media reported.

The People’s Court of Hanoi also handed down a 15-year term for business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu, also known as “Aluminium Vu”, convicted of “abusing power” at the same trial, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

Bui Van Thanh and Tran Viet Tan, former deputy ministers of the Ministry of Public Security, were found guilty of “lack of responsibility” and jailed for 30 months and 36 months respectively, the report said.

Thanh and Tan, the highest-ranking police officials to have been tried in the corruption crackdown, were accused of failing to prevent Vu from illegally taking over state assets, causing combined losses of over 1.1 trillion dong ($47.41 million) to the state budget, the report said.

Reuters was unable to reach their lawyers for comment.

Vu had been sentenced to a combined 25 years in prison at two other separate trials last year for deliberate disclosure of state secrets and abusing power to appropriate property.

Vu, who fled to Singapore seeking passage to Germany but was arrested in Vietnam earlier last year, had previously told his foreign lawyers that he was also a senior officer in Vietnam’s secret police.

The government has launched investigations into hundreds of public officials accused of mismanagement, with several executives at state-owned enterprises, including one former politburo member, being jailed for mismanagement or embezzlement.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Nick Macfie

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