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|Former minister of information and communication Nguyen Bac Son at the first instance trial (Photo: VNA)|
At the end of the trial from December 16-28, 2019, Son was given life in prison for “receiving bribes” and 16 years in prison for “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”, the combination of which result in the final sentence of life imprisonment.
In his appeal, Son asked for clemency and a reduced sentence, presenting many extenuating circumstances such as his contributions when working and current ill health. He also said he had made confession to receiving bribes during investigation and paid back all the money he had received.
Another defendant in the case, MobiFone Deputy General Director Nguyen Manh Hung also lodged an appeal, saying that his sentence of 2 years and six months in prison is too strict.
Hung said the verdict has not made full assessment of the circumstances and his situation in the case. According to him, it was not true when saying that he conducted procedures of the deal despite being aware of the financial situation of AVG.
The case involved 14 defendants, including two former ministers of information and communication, Son and Truong Minh Tuan, who was jailed for 16 years on the same two charges as Son.
Former Chairman of the Mobifone Member Council Le Nam Tra and former Mobifone General Director Cao Duy Hai were given 23-year and 14-year imprisonment sentences, respectively, for both charges.
For nine defendants on charge of “violating regulations on the management and use of public investment capital, causing serious consequences”, the court pronounced that former head of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)’s Department of Enterprise Management Pham Dinh Trong will stay behind bars for five years; Director of the AMAX investment consultancy and valuation company Vo Van Manh three years and six months; and appraiser Hoang Duy Quang three years.
Member of the Mobifone Member Council Phan Thi Hoa Mai and Hung and three other Mobifone Deputy General Directors Pham Thi Phuong Anh, Ho Tuan and Nguyen Bao Long were sentenced to two years and six months in jail.
Mobifone Deputy General Director Nguyen Dang Nguyen got a two-year jail sentence.
Former Chairman of the AVG Board of Directors Pham Nhat Vu was given a three-year imprisonment sentence for giving bribes.
In 2015, the MIC-run MobiFone bought 95 percent of AVG for 8.9 trillion VND (382.7 million USD), many times higher than the actual value of the struggling firm. The deal caused a loss of over 6.59 trillion VND (283.3 million USD) to the State.