Former Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said on December 20 that he had met with his family to discuss how to return the US$3 million that he had received as bribes from then-AVG chairman Pham Nhat Vu.
Former Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son defends himself in court - PHOTO: VNA
Defending himself in court, Son proposed the procuracy and the court review his role in MobiFone’s notorious acquisition of AVG, the local media reported.
He also said he accepted the death penalty recommended by the Hanoi People’s Procuracy for violating regulations on State capital management and usage, causing serious consequences, and receiving bribes.
However, he wanted to provide more evidence to ease his mind, rather than increase sentences for other defendants.
Son later provided details to demonstrate that Pham Dinh Trong, former head of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Department of Corporate Management, and Son’s successor, Truong Minh Tuan, were deeply involved in speeding up the acquisition.
Trong held a meeting on October 2, 2015 to set the price of a 95% stake in AVG at over VND8.9 trillion, and signed the meeting’s minutes without Son’s approval.
Meanwhile, Tuan sent a letter to Son, saying that State-owned enterprises could buy AVG’s stake.
Son also denied that he was the mastermind of the purchase, directing and speeding the acquisition of AVG’s stake, as well as the relationship with then AVG-chairman Vu.
In addition, his direction of studying the investment in AVG was a normal part of his job, as the Ministry of Public Security had written to the Ministry of Information and Communications, saying that AVG must not be sold to foreign firms.
Son also thought that if AVG was sold to foreign firms, the State would find it difficult to manage the firm. He said he had not asked the Department of Corporate Management to direct MobiFone to complete the acquisition of AVG in 2015.
The Ministry of Information and Communications made the acquisition after receiving the prime minister’s approval, Son added.
On December 21, Son’s family returned VND12.5 billion (US$539,500), part of the bribe money, and used their house as collateral to commit to repaying US$3 million, as required.
On December 20, the People’s Procuracy of Hanoi recommended a 16 to 18 year prison sentence for Son for infringing on regulations on the management and use of public investment leading to serious consequences, and the death sentence for accepting a bribe. SGT
The procuracy has demanded the death sentence for former Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Bac Son for accepting a 3 million USD bribe in the MobiFone-AVG transaction case.