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Defendants in AVG-MobiFone case seek sentence commutations

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HCMC – Defendants in the AVG-MobiFone case attended a court hearing in Hanoi this morning, April 23, seeking lesser sentences, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

Former Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son and 13 others were involved in the now-aborted deal that saw MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation, a State-run business under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), overpay for a 95% stake in the loss-making private pay TV provider Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG), which led to over VND6.59 trillion (US$283 million) in losses.

Nine of them, including Son, sought clemency from the People’s Procuracy of Hanoi to reduce their sentences.

The defendants who did not appeal the court’s decision are Son’s successor Truong Minh Tuan, former head of the MIC’s Department of Corporate Management Pham Dinh Trong and former AVG chairman Pham Nhat Vu.

In his appeal letter, Son listed his achievements and contributions in the past and his poor health as reasons supporting his request for a reduced sentence.

The People’s Procuracy of Hanoi earlier sentenced Son to life imprisonment. Tuan, Trong and Vu were sentenced to 14 years, five years and three years in prison, respectively. Other defendants were sentenced to 2-23 years behind bars.

People attending the court hearing this morning were required to wear face masks and maintain a safe physical distance of at least 2 meters to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19.

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