Slovakia reopens Trinh Xuan Thanh’s case after new trial in Germany

Trinh Xuan Thanh and other defendants hear the verdict during the trial at the Hanoi People’s Court on January 22, 2018

The Slovak National Criminal Service reopened a corruption investigation into the alleged kidnapping of a Vietnamese in 2017. This work was conducted after the trial of the second suspect in the kidnapping case of former Vietnamese petroleum official Trinh Xuan Thanh in Germany. newspaper network reported on December 1.

In a related case, the Slovak side, including then-Minister of the Interior Robert Kalinak, was suspected of agreeing to lend the aircraft to the Vietnamese side, despite knowing the inside details; then even asked Poland to fly over the country’s airspace for official reasons, even though Minister Robert Kalinak was not there.

On August 23, 2018, the Dennik N newspaper network reported a response from German High Court Spokesperson Lisa Jani confirming that the Slovak Ministry of Interior had provided the Vietnamese delegation with a plane to Moscow and that plane was carrying Mr. Trinh Xuan Thanh. But also according to the German court, it is possible that the Slovak government did not know the true purpose of the flight was to serve a kidnapping.

The Slovak Interior Ministry denied the information which states that it provided Vietnam with a plane to Hanoi, while former Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was said to be involved in the incident, declined to answer about this information.

Slovakia has opened an investigation into the kidnapping of Trinh Xuan Thanh since August 3, 2018.

Trinh Xuan Thanh used to be a Vietnamese oil and gas official, accused of corruption and fled to Germany to apply for asylum, but was said to have been kidnapped by the Vietnamese secret service in Berlin. Mr. Thanh was then taken to the Czech city of Brno, and then taken to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, in a car rented by the Vietnamese secret service. Later, sources said that Vietnam continued to borrow a plane from Slovakia to transport Mr. Thanh to Moscow, before taking him back to Hanoi.

The Trinh Xuan Thanh case caused a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Hanoi. Germany suspends strategic partnership with Vietnam as well as suspends visa exemption for officials holding diplomatic passports of Vietnam.

The latest development in this case is that on November 2, 2022 the Berlin High Court began the trial of the second suspect. This person is alleged to have assisted and abetted the deprivation of liberty and acted as an agent.

The defendant is Mr. Le Anh Tu, 32 years old, living in Prague, Czech Republic at the time of the crime in 2017.

Tu was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison after the case happened because he went back to Vietnam to hide right after the case happened. When he returned to Prague in June this year, Mr. Tu was immediately arrested and extradited to Germany. (Translated)