Vietnamese official Trinh Xuan Thanh is told the verdict at the end of his trial at Hanoi's People's Court on January 22. Photo: AFP

Slovakia may freeze diplomatic relations with Vietnam if there is substance to the allegation that it covertly used the EU country to  transport a Vietnamese oil executive back to Hanoi, a Slovak Foreign Ministry spokesman told AFP on Sunday.

“Unless we get a plausible explanation from Vietnam of how their kidnapped citizen was transported to Vietnam, our bilateral relations will be frozen,” Boris Gandel said.

Gandel was referring to the kidnapping of Vietnamese citizen Trinh Xuan Thanh from Germany in July 2017.

Thanh, a senior Communist Party functionary facing corruption charges, had been seeking political asylum in Germany.

The abducted Thanh was spirited back to Hanoi, allegedly via Slovakia, and has since been sentenced to two life terms on charges of corruption during his time as the head of state-run PetroVietnam Construction, a subsidiary of the country’s largest oil company.

– with reporting from Agence France-Presse

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