Germany has expelled Vietnamese intelligence officials following what authorities believe to be the abduction of an ex-oil executive who had sought asylum in the country.

An eyewitness reported seeing a man and a woman forced into a car with Czech number plates by armed men in west Berlin in late July. Last year Trinh Xuan Thanh travelled for four days through Laos, Thailand and Turkey to reach Germany. He was reportedly abducted the day before his asylum hearing.

Before he fled, Thanh was a high profile figure in Vietnam and had been implicated in the mismanagement of PetroVietnam. The Voice of America article below give some background on his roles and the ensuing political tensions.

From the BBC

Vietnam denies Germany’s Trinh Xuan Thanh kidnap claim

Vietnam’s government has insisted that a former oil executive reported to be seeking asylum in Berlin has “turned himself in” – a day after Germany accused Hanoi of kidnapping him.

Germany said the abduction of Trinh Xuan Thanh was illegal.

Please click here to read more.

From the New York Times

Germany Blasts Vietnam Over ‘Kidnap’ of Former Oil Executive

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. Vietnamese police issued an arrest warrant in September.

This week, Vietnamese authorities said he turned himself in to police in his homeland on Monday.

Please click here to read more.

From Reuters

Vietnam TV shows oil executive who Germany says was abducted

His lawyer ruled out that version of events.

“He would never have done that. He was scared of going back and what the consequences might be,” his asylum lawyer in Germany, Victor Pfaff, told Reuters.

He said witnesses had described how armed men violently bundled a man and a woman into a car with Czech registration plates outside the Sheraton hotel in western Berlin.

Please click here to read more.

From the Voice of America

Germany Claims Vietnam Kidnapped Asylum-Seeker Wanted By Hanoi

The German government has condemned Vietnam’s “unprecedented and blatant violation” of German and international law by kidnapping a Vietnamese citizen seeking asylum in Berlin and returning him to Hanoi to face criminal charges.

The German foreign ministry expelled a Vietnamese intelligence officer and summoned Vietnam’s ambassador to hear a complaint that the incident “has the potential to have a massive negative impact on relations between Germany and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Please click here to read more.

From Deutsche Welle

Berlin ‘abduction’ of Vietnamese businessman sparks spat

But there are plenty of other reasons why authorities may be pursuing Thanh, whose whereabouts had been the subject of speculation for some time. In an interview he gave to a Berlin-based Vietnamese blog a few months ago, Thanh said he was part of wing of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) that had become dangerous to former president and current party leader Nguyen Phu Trong. Thanh also used the blog to threaten to shed light on the power structures in Vietnamese politics.

Please click here to read more.

Like what you read? Sign up here for our free Daily Updates.

We also send out a Weekly K+R Update, bundling together all the kidnap, ransom and extortion news of the week in one easy to read newsletter. (Same form – options at the end.)

 Other ways to stay up to date:

Follow and subscribe!

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can also subscribe to our free newsletters - the Daily Updates and the Weekly K+R Update.