Germany expels Vietnam attache over suspected kidnap

Vietnamese national Trinh Xuan Thanh sitting on a park bench in Berlin Image copyright AFP
Image caption Trinh Xuan Thanh was reportedly seeking asylum in Germany

Germany has expelled Vietnam's press attache over the suspected kidnapping of a man allegedly bundled into a car by armed men at Berlin Zoo.

Trinh Xuan Thanh, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant, disappeared in Berlin nine days ago.

As a result, the German government has ordered the attache to leave within 48 hours.

German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer called the incident a "scandalous violation".

"The kidnapping of Vietnamese national Trinh Xuan Thanh on German soil is an unprecedented and scandalous violation of German and international law," said Mr Schaefer, warning it could damage relations between the two countries.

He also said there was "no serious doubt" about the role the Vietnamese embassy and secret service had played in the alleged kidnap of the former oil executive.

Reuters and Agence France Presse news agencies reported that the expelled attache was an intelligence officer at the Vietnamese embassy.

Trinh Xuan Thanh was accused of causing about $150m (£113m) in losses at a Vietnamese state firm.

The Vietnamese government issued an international arrest warrant for him in September.

He is the former head of the state-owned Petro Vietnam Construction Corporation, and one-time Communist Party official - although he has since been kicked out the party.

Mr Thanh, who had reportedly been seeking asylum in Germany, handed himself in to Vietnamese authorities on Monday in his home country.

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