Defendants listen to the verdict of the appeal trial on March 12 (Photo: VNA)

Phu Tho (VNA) – The Hanoi-based High-Level People’s Court has decided to reduce the imprisonment penalties for 13 defendants that were involved in an online gambling ring, considered the biggest of its kind uncovered in Vietnam so far.

On the last day of the eight-day appeal trial in Phu Tho province on March 12, the court accepted part of the appeals of 13 defendants, while rejecting those of the 23 others.

It upheld the rulings on the two masterminds behind this ring, Phan Sao Nam (former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the VTC Online Telecommunications Co. – VTC Online) and Nguyen Van Duong (former Chairman of the Members Council of the Hi-tech Security Development and Investment Co. – CNC). 

Accordingly, Nam has to spend five years behind bars for “organising gambling” and “laundering money”. Meanwhile, Duong serves 10 years in jail for the same offences.

Although Nam and Duong did not appeal against the first-instance trial’s verdict, they were still brought to the appeal trial since they were included in the appeal lodged by the Phu Tho provincial People’s Procuracy.

The high-level court also upheld other rulings of the previous trial and rejected the Phu Tho procuracy’s appeal.

Earlier, the Phu Tho People’s Court held the first trial in November 2018, trying 92 defendants charged with being involved in the online gambling ring.

The defendants also included former police generals Phan Van Vinh and Nguyen Thanh Hoa. 

While Vinh got nine years in prison for “abusing position and power while performing duties”, Hoa received a 10-year imprisonment sentence for the same offence. They did not appeal against the rulings.