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Trial of ex-leaders of Vietsovpetro charged with asset misappropriation begins

Update: March, 21/2019 - 21:10
Two ex-leaders of the Việt Nam-Russia joint venture oil firm Vietsovpetro, former General Director of Vietsovpetro Từ Thanh Nghĩa (right) and former chief accountant Võ Quang Huy, stood on trial on Wednesday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tuấn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People’s Court opened a trial on Thursday for two ex-leaders of the Việt Nam-Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro on charges of abusing position and power to misappropriate assets.

The trial is part of the second-phase investigation in connection with the massive fraud case at the private bank OceanBank that involved the bank’s former Chairman Hà Văn Thắm.

The two defendants are former General Director of Vietsovpetro Từ Thanh Nghĩa, born in 1962, and former chief accountant of the firm Võ Quang Huy, born in 1961.

According to the indictment, Vietsovpetro began using payment account services of OceanBank and had some fixed-term deposit contracts with the bank at the end of 2008.

By 2009, it had many fixed-term deposit contracts and maintained a large payment account balance at the OceanBank branch in the southern coastal city Vũng Tàu.

This was in line with the direction of the Việt National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) – which represents the Vietnamese Government in contributing 51 per cent (or US$765 million) of Vietsovpetro’s $1.5 billion charter capital – regarding prioritising financial services of OceanBank, to which PetroVietnam contributed 20 per cent of the charter capital.

Between late 2008 and 2014, Vietsovpetro signed 54 deposit contracts in Vietnamese đồng worth VNĐ13.2 trillion, and 70 others in US dollar worth a total $1.26 billion.

It opened four payment accounts, comprising three in Vietnamese and one in US dollar, at OceanBank with monthly balance from VNĐ200 billion to VNĐ900 billion, and from $10 million to $400 million.

The bank gave the firm more than VNĐ49.7 billion and $595,283 as interest each month.

Meanwhile, then Chairman of the Board of Directors of OceanBank Hà Văn Thắm ordered extra interest which was not stated in contracts be paid to all clients who had deposited money at the bank.

From 2013 to 2014, then Director General of OceanBank Nguyễn Minh Thu received money sent from the OceanBank headquarters through other people’s accounts at the Vũng Tàu and HCM City branches to pay the illegal extra interest to Nghĩa and Huy with no receipts.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy said the then leaders of Vietsovpetro, Nghĩa and Huy decided to deposit the business’ money at OceanBank and received the money from Thu. While Huy received and appropriated VNĐ5.2 billion and $130,000, Nghĩa took VNĐ1.5 billion and $30,000.

Huy’s family has turned in VNĐ4.1 billion to the police and Nghĩa submitted VNĐ2.1 billion.

As per the Penal Code, the two defendants face from 20 years imprisonment to life sentences if found guilty.

The trial is scheduled to last two days. — VNS

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