A Vietnamese former politburo member convicted for corruption lost his appeal bid yesterday after the court rejected his claim that he was not guilty of breaking the law in a multi-million dollar banking scandal.
Dinh La Thang is among dozens of former officials, bankers and businessmen behind bars in the communist country where leaders have launched a war on graft.
Thang, who was convicted this year in two separate corruption trials, is one of the most senior and recognisable faces to fall in years and his public toppling stunned the Vietnam public. As a politburo member he was among the most senior party leaders.
He will now serve three decades in jail for his two separate graft cases, the latest one involving a bombshell banking scandal.
A court found him guilty in March of improperly authorising a $35mn investment into the troubled OceanBank in 2008 that caused millions of dollars in losses to state funds.
Thang maintained his innocence in court this week.
“I have always honoured the law, having no deliberate wrongdoings. I want to affirm once again, I am innocent,” Thang was quoted by state media as saying.
Thang last month lost his first appeal bid for his separate
In that case, he was found guilty of causing a loss of $5.2mn of state money by investing in a thermal power plant.
The former political heavyweight has also been stripped of his communist party membership - a major punishment for card carriers.
Corruption is endemic in Vietnam and the current leadership has vowed to tackle runaway graft.
The anti-corruption campaign is unprecedented in its scope and scale, but critics say it is politically driven and aimed at stamping out foes of the current party leadership.
Thang, 58, served as board chairman of PetroVietnam between 2006 and 2011, before his career took off as minister of transport.
Thang was arrested last December after being fired from his position and voted out of the all-powerful politburo, in a move that international analysts have called “unprecedented.”
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