Vietnam’s No. 4 Leader Resigns Amid Corruption Probes

(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue resigned days after his assistant was detained in relation to a corruption probe.

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The Communist Party Central Committee accepted the resignation of Hue during a special meeting in Hanoi Friday afternoon, according to a statement on the government’s website. Hue also resigned from the Politburo. Bloomberg News reported his resignation earlier Friday.

Hue violated regulations governing the behavior of party members and “took responsibility as a leader in accordance with the party’s rules and the state’s laws,” according to the statement. Hue’s violations caused negative comments among the public, hurting the reputation of the party and state, it said.

Hue is the fourth most important leader in the party hierarchy in Vietnam’s “four pillar” leadership structure, with the Communist Party general secretary, president and prime minister completing the structure. The leaders govern in consultation with the Politburo.

His departure comes amid an anti-graft crackdown that saw the police detain his assistant earlier this week over a probe into a builder accused of bribing his way into winning deals.

The dong was little changed at 25,348 per dollar, hovering near a record low. The benchmark VN Index rose as much as 1% in Ho Chi Minh City trading Friday.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong launched a sweeping purge on corruption that’s snared at least 459 Communist Party members last year, and business executives. Earlier this month, a property tycoon was sentenced to death over corruption — turning the spotlight on the Southeast Asian nation better known for being home to an economy growing at one of the region’s quickest pace.

Read: Vietnam Tycoon Lan Sentenced to Death Over $12 Billion Fraud

The anti-corruption campaign has claimed two deputy prime ministers and at least one president so far.

Last month, Vo Van Thuong resigned as president — the second to do so in 14 months, over unspecified violations. Now with Hue’s decision to leave, only two of four pillars remain — the general secretary and the prime minister. Still, the development isn’t expected to dent the country’s economic prospects or alter government policies.

--With assistance from Nguyen Xuan Quynh, Nguyen Kieu Giang, Cecilia Yap and Philip J. Heijmans.

(Updates with new details in the first three paragraphs. Earlier version corrected dong price in fifth paragraph.)

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