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First trial held of ex-VNCB officials

Update: July, 20/2016 - 10:29
The Hồ Chí Minh City People’s Court on July 19 opened the first trial on a corruption case involving over VNĐ9 trillion (US$405 million) and the Việt Nam Construction Bank (VNCB). — Photo vietnamnet.vn

HCM CITY — The Hồ Chí Minh City People’s Court on July 19 opened the first trial on a corruption case involving over VNĐ9 trillion (US$405 million) and the Việt Nam Construction Bank (VNCB), the largest economic loss caused by corruption ever recorded in the country.

Among the 36 defendants is 51-year-old Phạm Công Danh, ex-Chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors, Chairman of the Member’s Board and General Director of the Thiên Thanh Group, who is accused of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences” and “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions.”

Charge were also laid against Phan Thành Mai, former VNCB general director; Mai Hữu Khương, former director of VNCB’s Sài Gòn branch; Hoàng Đình Quyết, former deputy director of VNCB’s Sài Gòn branch and former director of VNCB’s Lâm Giang branch; Nguyễn Quốc Viễn, former head of the VNCB Supervisory Board; Phan Minh Tùng, former head of Thiên Thanh Group’s Finance Department; and Bạch Quốc Hào, former deputy director of the VNCB debt management and asset exploitation company.

Phạm Việt Thép, former director of An Phát Company; Trần Văn Bình, former general director of Trung Dũng Company; Nguyễn Kim Vân, former general director of Hương Việt Company; and Lê Công Thảo, former director of the VNCB Information-Technology Centre, are being prosecuted for “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences.”

Twenty five other defendants face charges of “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions.”

According to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, after the State Bank of Việt Nam gave a nod to Trust Bank’s restructuring plan, Danh took over the failing bank and renamed it VNCB.

Danh abused his post as chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors and chairman of the Member’s Board of Thien Thanh Group to instruct his staff in the group and the bank to commit a range of violations.

From June-July 2013 and from February-April 2014, he asked his accomplices to sign false house rental contracts at 268 Tô Hiến Thành Street and 816 Sư Vạn Hạnh Street in Hồ Chí Minh City, with his two companies – Trung Dũng and Hương Việt.

He then guided the transfer of over VNĐ601 billion (roughly US$27 million) from VNCB to the two companies. The money was transferred via a private account and used to pay the interests of six companies under the Thiên Thanh Group, and the debts this group owed Hải Tiến Investment Development Company, and customer services.

From December 2012-March 2014, Danh and his accomplices set up false files and committed various violations of the lending regulations of credit institutions

VNCB was established by Trust Bank in May 2013. Trust Bank was operational for 23 years, with chartered capital of VNĐ3 trillion (US$142.85 million). In mid-2014, the SBV appointed new officials to VNCB after some former top executives at the bank were arrested for allegedly violating state regulations.

Apart from VNCB, other commercial banks owned by the SBV are Ocean Bank and GP Bank. The SBV acquired all three banks at zero dong due to their ailing performances and failure to meet required charter capital increases.

The court is scheduled to run until August 18. — VNS

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