Former exec at PetroVietnam subsidiary surrenders to police

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A former Vietnamese oil executive has surrendered to police after a year on the run amid a crackdown on corruption by the country's communist authorities.

Trinh Xuan Thanh, 51, disappeared in July last year after he was accused of mismanagement at a subsidiary of national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam, resulting in losses of some $150 million.

Police issued an arrest warrant against Thanh in September. Officials have said he fled to Europe.

Thanh turned himself to police on Monday, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website without giving more details.

Thanh was chairman of PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation until 2013 when he was appointed to several senior government positions including vice chairman of Hau Giang province in the southern Mekong Delta.

He was elected to the National Assembly in May 2016, but was dismissed from the communist-dominated legislature before its first session the following month.

In another development, police on Tuesday arrested 16 people, including two former senior bankers accused of mismanagement causing serious consequences at four local banks, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on its website.

Among the arrested were Tram Be, former deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange-listed Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, and Phan Huy Khang, the bank's former general director, it said, adding police also launched a probe against nine others involved in the case. It gave no other details.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Tuesday that their deliberate wrongdoings at the four banks caused losses of $330 million.

Meanwhile, a vice trade minister was facing dismissal for alleged wrongdoing as a company executive.

The Communist Party's Inspection Committee said in a statement on its website Monday that Ho Thi Kim Thoa, vice minister of industry and trade, committed wrongdoing in buying and transferring shares of the Dien Quang Lamp joint stock company while she was chairwoman of its directors.

The committee proposed that Thoa be stripped off all her positions.

The ruling Communist Party and government have stepped up their anti-corruption drive over the past few years with courts handing down the death penalty against several senior executives.

Transparency International ranks Vietnam 113 out of 176 countries in its 2016 corruption index.

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