Appeal on Japanese graft case opens in southern Vietnam

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The People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City is to open an appeal Tuesday on a case where a former vice director of the city's transportation department took US$262,000 bribes from a Japanese firm, Tuoi Tre reported.

The second trial, which was opened as requested by Huynh Ngoc Si, will last two days, VnExpress said in a report that day.

In his appeal, Si asked agencies to reconsider the life sentence handed down to him last October, saying that he didn't receive bribes from the Tokyo-based Consultants International (PCI) to help the company win contracts of the Japanese ODA-funded East-West Highway Project.

At the first hearing, Si, who was in charge of the project between 2000 and 2008, was convicted of taking bribes from PCI's former leaders on May 28, 2003.

Although Si didn't admit his wrongdoing at the first hearing, the court convicted him based on testimonies of PCI's former leaders who accused him when standing trial in Tokyo on November 11, 2009, as well as other materials.

During the proceedings, the Japanese officials claimed to have offered Si a total of over US$2.6 million in bribes, Tuoi Tre reported.

However, so far he only stood trial for his acceptance of $262,000 in bribes, because the initial investigation deadline had passed.

Si, who is currently serving a six-year jail term for "abuse of power" in another case, is now under investigation for allegedly taking bribes from PCI on six additional occasions.

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