Hanoi 'feels sorry' over Berlin's kidnapping claim

HANOI • The Vietnamese foreign ministry yesterday expressed regret over a statement from Germany accusing Vietnam of kidnapping a former oil executive, and said Hanoi wants to develop a "strategic relationship" with Berlin.

Germany's foreign ministry on Wednesday accused Vietnam of kidnapping Trinh Xuan Thanh, 51, a former executive at state oil company PetroVietnam, who faces charges of financial mismanagement in Vietnam.

Berlin ordered a Vietnamese intelligence officer to leave Germany within 48 hours in response, and demanded that the former oil executive be allowed to return.

"I feel sorry about the statement on Aug 2 of the German foreign ministry spokesman," Vietnamese foreign ministry's spokeman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters in Hanoi.

"Vietnam very much respects and wants to develop the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Germany," she added.

Germany's foreign ministry said it was considering further action to an "unprecedented... breach of German and international law" over the abduction of Thanh, who is accused of causing around US$150 million (S$204 million) in losses at PetroVietnam.

Berlin is demanding that Thanh be sent back to Germany. It was unclear if the Vietnamese intelligence officer had left Germany yet.

After a 10-month international manhunt, Thanh turned himself in on Monday, police in Vietnam said, without elaborating. The ministry of public security said he is under investigation, the foreign ministry spokesman said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'Hanoi 'feels sorry' over Berlin's kidnapping claim'. Print Edition | Subscribe