The police in Vietnam say they have arrested a business leader wanted for revealing state secrets after he was deported by Singapore.
Phan Van Anh Vu (pictured), 42, would face investigation, they said.
The real-estate developer also served as a Vietnamese intelligence service commander. The police raided his Danang home on December 21 and issued a warrant for his arrest, claiming he divulged apparent state secrets.
Police say they are investigating around 35 properties linked to Vu. The assets were previously state-owned and allegedly acquired by Vu at reduced prices.
Vu was detained in the Lion City while trying to cross the border into Malaysia. He entered the city-state using a false passport, the Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs said.
“He had entered Singapore using a Vietnamese passport bearing a false identity” and had two other passports, the ministry added. It said Vu was deported for immigration offences, adding that he was wanted under an Interpol Red Notice issued by Hanoi.
Singapore does not have an extradition treaty with Vietnam but the Asean partners share close diplomatic and trade ties.
Vu’s Singaporean lawyer, Choo Zheng Xi, said the tycoon could face a severe sentence in Vietnam.
“He was extremely stressed and frightened for his safety should he be returned to Vietnam,” Choo told the media.
Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch warned that the speed of the deportation did not bode well for transparency in Vu’s case.
“Singapore deserves utter condemnation for forcing him back to face what will certainly be a kangaroo court trial, and quite possibly a death sentence,” said the Asean spokesman for the rights body.
Germany accused Vietnam of kidnapping a former oil executive, Trinh Xuan Thanh, from a Berlin park last summer. Vietnam claimed Trinh returned voluntarily to address his charges.
Vu’s lawyers said he wanted reach Germany to expose the truth surrounding the July disappearance of Trinh. Germany says Trinh was seized in the centre of the capital, bundled into a car and taken away by Vietnamese spies.
Germany expelled two Vietnamese envoys in retaliation. Vietnam, which had earlier requested that Germany extradite Thanh, denied it was behind any spy plot.
Thanh and Dinh La Thang, a former member of Vietnam’s powerful Politburo and an ex-chairman of state-run oil giant PetroVietnam, and 20 other executives are scheduled in court next week for alleged corruption involving the construction of a power station.
Thang is the first former Politburo member to face trial in decades.
Vietnam’s current government, in power since 2016, has detained numerous suspects as part of an anti-corruption drive while observers claim the arrests are cracking down on political allies of the former regime rather than about addressing corruption.
Phan Van Anh Vu. Picture credit: YouTube