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PVN deputy General Director Ninh Văn Quỳnh admits to receiving money from Ocean Bank

Update: September, 08/2017 - 09:53
Deputy General Director of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) Ninh Văn Quỳnh on Thursday admitted in court to receiving about VNĐ20 billion (US$880,000) from former Ocean Bank General Director Nguyễn Xuân Sơn from 2009-13 when he was PVN’s chief accountant.— Photo vnmedia.vn

HÀ NỘI — Deputy General Director of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) Ninh Văn Quỳnh on Thursday admitted in court to receiving about VNĐ20 billion (US$880,000) from former Ocean Bank General Director Nguyễn Xuân Sơn from 2009-13 when he was PVN’s chief accountant.

Quỳnh was detained last Friday for “deliberately violating State regulations and causing serious consequences” when at PVN. Police said that Quỳnh and four other former PVN executives committed wrongdoings that caused losses of VNĐ800 billion ($35.2 million) for the State-owned oil and gas conglomerate when it contributed charter capital to Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Ocean Bank) from 2008-11. 

Sơn and dozens of top bank officials have been in court since the Ocean Bank trial opened in August 28, with the bank’s former chairman Hà Văn Thắm and other top officials charged with abuse of power and violations related to lending regulations and State regulations on economic management.

According to the indictment from the People’s Supreme Prosecuracy, Thắm approved offering interest rates above the ceiling set by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV), causing losses of VNĐ1.576 trillion ($68.9 million) to Ocean Bank.

Sơn has been accused of receiving a total of VNĐ246 billion from Ocean Bank and last Wednesday, Sơn told the court that at the time he was CEO of Ocean Bank, he gave VNĐ30-40 billion a year to Quỳnh to thank the group’s leaders for their help in supporting the bank. The leaders asked the group’s member companies and oil and gas contractors to use the bank’s services.

Few days ago, Quỳnh admitted that the group’s leaders had supported the bank following a co-operation agreement between the two sides, but rejected Sơn’s charge of receiving the money.

However, in court on Thursday, Quỳnh admitted to receiving money from Sơn.

He said that after being detained on another charge last Friday, he knew he could not lie any more and he wanted to change his testimony.

Quỳnh said that around the middle of 2009, Sơn gave him a present consisting of a wine and VNĐ500 million.

Until late 2010, before Sơn became PVN deputy general girector, Sơn gave money to Quỳnh several times, with the total amounting to about VNĐ4-5 billion.

After Sơn became PVN deputy general director, he continued pay Quỳnh, from at least VNĐ500 million to VNĐ1 billion each time.

Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, a former board member of PVN also gave Quỳnh money.

Quỳnh said that in total he received about VNĐ20 billion, part of which was spent by himself and other PVN accountants. He said he wanted to return more than VNĐ9 billion to atone.

From 2008 to 2011, PVN contributed a total of VNĐ800 billion to Ocean Bank. In 2009-13, financial statements showed PVN received dividends worth VNĐ244 billion.

However, inspections by the SBV in 2014 showed the bank had performed poorly and incurred heavy losses. On May 6, 2015, the SBV took over the bank, citing its serious mismanagement. The takeover terminated all rights and interests as well as the status of existing shareholders at the bank, including PVN.

The Hà Nội People’s Court on August 28 opened the first hearing in the case of ex-banker Hà Văn Thắm and 50 others for serious violations of State monetary policies.

The trial saw a record 727 people summoned, including civil plaintiffs, those who were involved in interests and duties, witnesses, and assessors. The trial is expected to last 20 days. — VNS

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