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Trial starts on Ocean Bank case

Update: March, 19/2018 - 15:07
Đinh La Thăng is to stand for series of allegations at second trial.—VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tuấn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People’s Court on March 19 opened a trial for Đinh La Thăng, former Chairman of the Member Council of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and six accomplices for their wrongdoings in investing PetroVietnam’s capital in Ocean Bank. 

The six other defendants are former officials of PetroVietnam, comprising former Deputy General Director Nguyễn Xuân Sơn; former chief accountant and former head of the department of finance, accounting and auditing Ninh Văn Quỳnh; along with four former members of the Member Council, namely Vũ Khánh Trường, Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Nguyễn Thanh Liêm and Phan Đình Đức. 

All the seven were charged with “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing serious consequences.” Ninh Văn Quỳnh alone faced the additional charge of “abusing power to misappropriate State assets.” Their acts caused losses of VNĐ800 billion (US$35.2 million) to PetroVietnam and its shareholders. 

The judging panel of the court comprises five members. A total of 23 lawyers have registered to defend legitimate rights and interests of the defendants and others involving in the case, including five lawyers of Đinh La Thăng.

The Hà Nội People’s Court has summoned many individuals and organisations concerned, including representatives of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Ocean Bank) and PetroVietnam. 

Hà Văn Thắm, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ocean Bank, is subpoenaed as a witness. Meanwhile, Nguyễn Ngọc Sự, former Deputy General Director of PetroVietnam, and Phùng Đình Thực, former General Director of PetroVietnam, are present at the court as people having interests and obligations related to the case. 

According to the indictment, after PetroVietnam failed to establish the Hong Viet Commercial Joint Stock Bank, Đinh La Thăng, who was Chairman of the Member Council of PetroVietnam, instructed Nguyễn Xuân Sơn and Nguyễn Ngọc Sự to have working sessions with a number of credit organisations on investment contribution, including Ocean Bank. 

In September 2008, Nguyễn Xuân Sơn and Hà Văn Thắm agreed to turn PetroVietnam into OceanBank’s strategic shareholder. 

Accordingly, from October 1, 2008, to May 16, 2011, PetroVietnam contributed a total of VNĐ800 billion to OceanBank for three times to maintain its 20 per cent of capital in the bank. 

The Law on Credit Institutions, which came into force on January 1, 2011, stipulates that an institutional shareholder may not own more than 15 per cent of the charter capital of a credit institution. 

Meanwhile, Đinh La Thăng took no actions to withdraw PetroVietnam’s money in Ocean Bank to ensure the rate but continued to sign a decision appointing another person as a representative of the 20 per cent stake. 

His violations enabled Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Nguyễn Thanh Liêm, Vũ Khánh Trường, Nguyễn Xuân Sơn and Ninh Văn Quỳnh to continue with illegal capital contributions of VNĐ100 billion ($4.4 million) to Ocean Bank. 

 As a result, PetroVietnam lost VNĐ800 billion after Ocean Bank fell into the red and was acquired by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) at zero đồng.—VNS

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