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OceanBank trial begins in Hà Nội

Update: August, 29/2017 - 10:26
The Hà Nội People’s Court yesterday opened the first hearing in the case of ex-banker Hà Văn Thắm and other 50 defendants for serious violations of State monetary policies. — Photo vnexpress.net

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People’s Court yesterday opened the first hearing in the case of ex-banker Hà Văn Thắm and other 50 defendants for serious violations of State monetary policies.

The trial saw a recorded 727 people summoned, including civil plaintiffs, those who were involved in interests and duties, witnesses, and assessors. 

In one of the biggest economic crime cases in Việt Nam, Thắm – former Chairman of the Board of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OceanBank) – and 50 other former executives and employees of the bank face charges of appropriating assets, breaching loan regulations of credit institutions, abusing power while on duty, and intentionally acting against State regulations on economic management causing serious consequences. 

Among the 51 defendants, seven were detained and 44 others were released on bail. 

According to the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Thắm and his accomplices made many credit-related violations causing losses for the bank and seriously affecting the State’s monetary policies. Their violations resulted in losses of nearly VNĐ2 trillion (US$88 million) for the bank. 

Specifically, while holding the highest position at the bank, Thắm directed his subordinates to approve a loan for former Chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank’s Board Phạm Công Danh without guaranteeing the lending conditions, collateral and proper purposes, causing losses of nearly VNĐ350 billion ($15.3 million) for the bank. 

He directed the bank’s staff to pay interest rates outside of deposit contracts for customers.

Thắm was arrested in October 2014. Under Thắm’s direction, OceanBank’s bad debts climbed to nearly VNĐ15 trillion ($666 million), with pre-tax losses reaching more than VNĐ10 trillion as of March 2014. 

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

The trial is expected to last 20 days. — VNS

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