Germany Says Vietnam Kidnapped Ex-Oil Official in Berlin

02 August, 2017

Germany says Vietnamese agents kidnapped a former oil official in Berlin and returned him to Vietnam to face corruption charges.

German officials accused Vietnamese intelligence services of carrying out the kidnapping of Trinh Xuan Thanh on July 23.

Thanh, 51, disappeared from Vietnam in July 2016 after being accused of mismanagement and corruption. Vietnamese officials blame him for causing losses of about $150 million at national oil and gas company PetroVietnam.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said the kidnapping of a Vietnamese citizen on German soil was a violation of German and international law. The spokesman added that the incident could harm relations between the two countries "in a massive way."

Germany responded by ordering a Vietnamese intelligence officer to leave the country. The foreign ministry said Germany was still considering other possible actions against Vietnam "at a political, economic and development policy level." German officials said Thanh had sought asylum in Germany, but his application had not been processed. The officials said Vietnam had also sought his extradition.

Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security announced that Trinh Xuan Thanh turned himself in on July 31
Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security announced that Trinh Xuan Thanh turned himself in on July 31

Vietnamese officials said Thanh had turned himself in to police in Vietnam on Monday.

Vietnam's ambassador was contacted by German officials in Berlin. They demanded that Thanh be returned to Germany so the asylum and extradition requests could be correctly handled.

After serving as head of PetroVietnam, Thanh was appointed to several senior government positions. He was elected to Vietnam's National Assembly in May 2016, but was dismissed a short time later after being accused of corruption.

Vietnamese officials issued an arrest warrant for him in September 2016.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for Learning English based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

massive – adj. very large

extradition n. the sending of a person back to a country where they are accused of a crime

warrant n. document issued by a court giving police the power to do something, such as carry out an arrest