|Former general director of Agribank, Pham Thanh Tan. — Photo nld.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Eighteen people including a former general director of Agribank, one of the largest banks in Viet Nam, were prosecuted for causing the bank a loss of more than VND2.75 trillion (US$122.4 million).
From 2008 to 2012, foreign-owned company Lifepro Viet Nam, set up in 2007, applied for a loan of VND2.52 trillion ($121.1 million) from Agribank's South Ha Noi branch in order to build a "Luxfashion factory" in Gian Khau Industrial Park in Ninh Binh Province.
A group of foreigners on the company's management board – including Chinese-citizen board chairman Yang Hong; Canadian citizens Ahmed El Fehdi, Boubker El Fehdi and Driss Bou Chama; and Italian citizen Manuela Polga - listed six nonexistent high-end fashion brands as mortgages for the loans.
The group of foreigners fled from Viet Nam after receiving the money. International arrest warrants were issued for those individuals.
In addition, the bank lost more than VND231 billion ($10.2 million) when the company provided false declarations on the imported garments and machineries for the factory.
Police found that over those four years, the bank branch's former director, Pham Thi Bich Luong, repeatedly asked the bank's management board to allow her to sign the loans for three separate, but related, companies: Lifepro Viet Nam Joint-venture Company, Vietmade Co., JSC., and Lifepro Viet Nam Joint-stock Company.
However, the loans signed by Luong were not given out, based on the bank's independent checks on those companies.
A number of banking officers at the branch were also allegedly involved in the wrongful loan-decision making.
At Agribank's headquarters, a handful of high-level managers from general director to head of the enterprise credit division are facing a charge of "lack of responsibility that resulted in serious consequences" when they allegedly allowed Luong to sign off on the loans.
Former general director of Agribank, Pham Thanh Tan, was allegedly found to have received a total of $310,000 from Luong to sign an extra $75 million for its South Ha Noi branch.
Four other customs officials, including Ha Tay Customs Sub-Department former deputy head Luong Thi Yen, were also prosecuted for allegedly breaching regulations in clearance procedures for the Lifepro Viet Nam Company, causing a loss of tariff collection for the country. — VNS