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Former banking tycoon's 30-yr jail sentence upheld

Update: December, 16/2014 - 09:11
The 30-year jail term awarded six months ago to Nguyen Duc Kien, former Vice Chairman of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) Founding Council, was upheld by the Ha Noi Court of Appeals yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan

HA NOI (VNS) — The 30-year jail term awarded six months ago to Nguyen Duc Kien, former Vice Chairman of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) Founding Council, was upheld by the Ha Noi Court of Appeals yesterday.

The Appeals Court rejected Kien's contention that he was not guilty of the charges levied against him, that he had not acted in breach of the law.

In June 2014, Kien, 50, had been found guilty by the Ha Noi People's Court on four counts of illegal trading, fraudulent appropriation of assets, tax evasion and intentional violation of the State's economic management regulations causing serious consequences.

In addition to the 30-year imprisonment, Kien was fined over VND75 billion (US$3.55 million) for tax evasion.

In the original trial, the panel of judges had found Kien guilty of using six of his own companies between May 2007 and August 2012 to conduct financial and gold trading valued at more than VND21.4 trillion (over $1 billion) without proper licences.

The businesses involved were: Thien Nam Production and Import-Export JSC; B&B Trade and Investment JSC; Asia Financial Group JSC; Asia Commercial Bank (ACB); Hanoi Investment JSC; Asia Hanoi Investment Financial JSC; and Asia Investment JSC.

The indictment had also said that between 2009 and 2010, the B&B company earned profits from various activities including gold trading, but Kien did not declare them.

The Ministry of Finance estimated the tax B&B had to pay at over VND25 billion (nearly $1.2 million). This sum is yet to be paid.

Kien was also found guilty of committing fraud to appropriate assets in a case where 20 million shares of the Hoa Phat Steel JSC worth VND264 billion ($12.4 million) was mortgaged with his bank in May 2012.

The court found sufficient evidence that Kien and his accomplices, including former ACB General Director Ly Xuan Hai, former Vice Chairpersons Le Vu Ky and Trinh Kim Quang, former Vice Chairman of the ACB Board of Directors Pham Trung Cang, and former standing member of the ACB Board of Directors Huynh Quang Tuan – intentionally violated the State's economic management regulations causing serious consequences when they issued a decision on March 22, 2010 asking individuals to deposit ACB's cash and foreign currencies with other credit organisations.

Between June and September 9, 2011, Hai authorised the chief accountant to deposit VND720 billion ($33.8 million) at Vietin Bank's Nha Be and HCM City branches. However, the money was embezzled by Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former Deputy Chief of the Risk Management Department of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).

Moreover, Kien and the former ACB officials also issued policies to buy stocks and invest in ACB shares, causing losses of nearly VND690 billion ($32.4 million).

Hai was sentenced to eight years in prison while Quang and Ky were given four years each. Cang and Tuan were respectively sentenced to three and two years in jail.

Kien will face adjusted fines for tax evasion, the Appeals Court ruled. — VNS

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