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Suspect in kidnapping of Vietnamese executive extradited to Germany

A suspect in the 2017 Berlin kidnapping of former Vietnamese oil and gas official Trinh Xuan Thanh has been extradited to Germany from the Czech Republic.

The Vietnamese national, identified as Anh T.L., was handed over to German authorities on Wednesday after his arrest in Prague earlier this year, news agencies reported citing a statement from the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

Anh faces charges including espionage and is accused of stalking the victim and driving the getaway van.

On July 23, 2017, former Trinh Xuan Thanh was abducted in a Berlin park and thrown into a van with a woman, identified as Thi Minh P.D. He was allegedly smuggled back to Vietnam for trial.

A Hanoi court charged Thanh with causing loss of state assets and mismanagement at PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation. He was sentenced to two life terms on corruption charges.

At the time of his abduction Thanh was seeking refugee status in Germany. The kidnapping strained German-Vietnamese relations and prompted Berlin to expel two Vietnamese diplomats.

A year after the kidnapping, a Vietnamese citizen, identified as Long N.H., was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison by a Berlin court on charges of espionage and assisting Vietnamese secret service agents in entering German territory to kidnap people.

“The kidnapping was carried about by members of the Vietnamese secret service and employees of the Vietnamese embassy in Berlin as well as several Vietnamese nationals living in Europe, among them Ahn T.L.,” the German public prosecutor general at the Federal Court of Justice said in a statement seen by news agencies.

Vietnam claims Thanh returned voluntarily to face charges.