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Trial for former Minister of Industry and Trade postponed again

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HCMC – The Hanoi People’s Court today, January 18, once again decided to postpont the first-instance trial for former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and nine accomplices, 11 days after the trial was put off for the first time.

Former HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin and many others with related interests and obligations, such as former Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Company (Sabeco) chairmen Phan Van Tuat and Vo Thanh Ha and Sabeco chairman Le Hong Xanh, were absent from the hearing, which was earlier set to last a week, the local media reported.

As some lawyers and the procuracy proposed putting off the hearing, the judge agreed with their proposal and will announce the time to reopen the trial later, a representative of the judge said.

Hoang was determined to take the main responsibility for the illegal transfer of more than 6,000 square meters of land at 2-4-6 Hai Ba Trung Street in HCMC’s District 1 to a private company, causing extremely huge losses for the State.

Hoang and Phan Chi Dung, former head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Light Industry Department, were accused of allegedly violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness. They may face prison terms of 10-20 years each.

Hoang’s other accomplices include Tin, former deputy director of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment Lam Nguyen Khoi, former director of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment Dao Anh Kiet and former deputy chief of the secretariat of the HCMC People’s Committee Le Van Thanh.

The trial was initially planned to open on January 7 but was postponed until January 18 due to the absence of three defendants and many other people with related interests and obligations.

According to the Supreme People’s Procuracy indictment, violations of Hoang and accomplices helped a private firm to take the right to use the land lot at 2-4-6 Hai Ba Trung Street, a State asset.

In 2011, the Government asked ministries, agencies and State-owned enterprises not to make investments in sectors that were not their main business lines, especially real estate and finance.

However, when Sabeco conducted the Saigon Me Linh Tower project at the location and failed to pay VND1.2 trillion to change the land use purpose, Hoang still allowed it to invest in the project, thus failing to comply with the Government’s resolutions.

From 2012 to 2016, Hoang directed former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Phan Chi Dung to ask Sabeco to use the land use rights to join hands with three corporate shareholders to set up the Sabeco Pearl Investment JSC and conduct the project.

He later asked Sabeco to divest from the project, illegally transferring the rights to use the land lot to Sabeco Pearl, causing a loss of over VND2.7 trillion for the State.

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