Sunday, October 23 2016


OceanBank leaders prosecuted

Update: October, 08/2016 - 10:47
OceanBank’s former chairman and 15 of its top leaders will be tried for their involvement in one of the biggest economic crime cases in Việt Nam this year, police said yesterday. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — OceanBank’s former chairman and 15 of its top leaders will be tried for their involvement in one of the biggest economic crime cases in Việt Nam this year, police said yesterday.

The Investigation Police Department announced they have concluded their three-year investigation and requested the Supreme People’s Procuracy to prosecute the local OceanBank former Managing Board Chairman Hà Văn Thắm for his leading role in causing an estimated loss of VNĐ1.55 trillion (US$69 million) for the bank and for the State.

The 44-year-old Thắm was arrested in late October, 2014. Yesterday’s police announcement means he will be tried on charges which include breaching loan regulations of credit institutions, intentionally acting against State laws causing serious consequences, fraudulent acts and abuse of power.  

Thắm was said to have abused his power as the bank’s top leader to withdraw bank money for personal use, leading to non-retrievable losses of trillions of đồng, which “badly affected the country’s economy and negatively influenced the implementation of the State’s fiscal and monetary policy”, police said.

According to the police, Thắm personally ordered the OceanBank Board of Directors to approve a loan of VNĐ500 billion to Phạm Công Danh, former Managing Board Chairman of the Construction Bank. The amount of the illegal loan was above the regulated limits, and the loan was pushed through without collateral assets to secure the loan.

Meanwhile, Danh was also convicted of another colossal banking crime. He was sentenced to 30 years behind bars last month for his violations which caused losses of VNĐ9 trillion for Construction Bank.

As for his other excesses, Thắm also requested to pay customers a rate of interest above the standard rates regulated by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV), which cost OceanBank more than VNĐ984 billion.

Nguyễn Xuân Sơn, former general director of OceanBank, will also be prosecuted for joining hands with his boss to charge customers additional fees via one of Thắm’s shell companies - the BSC Co, JSC, which initially registered to operate in real estate. At least VNĐ70 billion went into Sơn’s pocket since the bank started implementing its illegal fees.

Sơn and another former general director, Nguyễn Minh Thu, were both charged with abuse of power and intentionally acting against State laws on economic management, causing serious consequences.

Two ex-deputy general directors, four directors, a deputy director head of a bank section, and six directors of bank branches will also be tried for their involvement in a series of bank management violations from 2011 to 2014. Phạm Hoàng Giang, former general director of Thắm’s BSC company, will also be prosecuted.

The police said 49 more OceanBank branch and transaction office directors who followed orders and paid customers extra interest would be investigated later.

Police will also investigate eight customers who left OceanBank with bad debts of more than VNĐ2.6 trillion during the next stage of their investigation.

Under Thắm’s direction, OceanBank’s bad debts climbed to nearly VNĐ15 trillion, with pre-tax losses reaching more than VNĐ10 trillion as of March 2014.

The OceanBank case is one of the six biggest economic crimes which the Central Steering Anti-Corruption Committee asked to bring to trial by the first quarter of 2017, at the latest.

SBV nationalised OceanBank in May last year. — VNS












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