|The People's Court of HCM City yesterday upheld the life sentence given early last year to Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu for swindling customers out of nearly VND4 trillion (US$188.7 million). — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
HCM CITY (VNS) — The People's Court of HCM City yesterday upheld the life sentence given early last year to Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former deputy chief of the Risk Management Department of the HCM City branch of VietinBank , for swindling customers out of nearly VND4 trillion (US$188.7 million).
The court heard an appeal filed by several banks involved in the case, including Viet Nam International Bank (VIB), Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), and Nam Viet Bank (Navibank).
While confirming her life sentence for "swindling to appropriate assets" and six-year term for "counterfeiting seals and materials of agencies and organisations," the court decided to overturn part of her earlier sentence, and ordered a fresh investigation into Nhu's alleged embezzlement of VND1.085 trillion from five companies.
The appeal court also kept the order for Nhu to pay compensation to victims, including VND45.4 ($2.1 million) to Zen Plaza Company, VND200 billion ($9.4 million) to Navibank, VND135 billion ($6.3 million) to VIB and over VND668 billion ($31 million) to ACB, among others.
Anyone else found involved in possible embezzlement during the investigation would also be tried.
ORS Securities, SaigonBank - Berjara, Global Insurance Corporation, An Loc, and Hung Yen had deposited the VND1.085 trillion in Vietinbank .
Vo Anh Tuan, deputy director of Vietinbank's Nha Be branch when the crimes occurred, saw his 20-year sentence confirmed, as did the 21 other defendants who had got 17 years to one year's suspended sentence.
The court also overturned the earlier verdict absolving VietinBank of responsibility to the victims for their losses, and ordered the police to investigate the responsibility of several other Vietinbank officials.
It ordered the prosecution of Nguyen Van Se, former HCM City director of VietinBank, and Nguyen Thi Minh Huong and Truong Minh Hoang, two former deputy branch directors of VietinBank in HCM City, for creating conditions for Nhu to appropriate the money.
It also called for prosecuting Vu Hong Hanh, general director of ORS Securities, for signing fake documents to enable Nhu to withdraw her company's money deposited in VietinBank, and eight other people who had allegedly helped Nhu make fake bank cards to misappropriate more money.
In early 2007 Nhu used her position to borrow more than VND200 billion ($9.43 million) from many banks, organisations, and individuals at high interest rates to invest in property.
Then, to repay the loans, since 2008 she borrowed from a loan shark at interest rates of 0.5-0.6 percent per day. Two years later a beleaguered Nhu turned to swindling to repay her debts.
She stole VND718 billion from Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, VND200 billion from the Nam Viet Commercial Joint Stock Bank, and VND180 billion from Vietnam International Bank.
Law enforcement authorities discovered and seized many properties owned by Nhu, but their total value only added up to around VND230 billion ($10.85 million). — VNS