Former OceanBank boss gets capital punishment

September 30, 2017 - 09:19

A cohort of former OceanBank leaders on Friday morning received a death penalty, a life sentence and some 150 years behind bars for several violations leading to nearly US$90 million of losses at the bank.

VNS Infographic Trọng Kiên
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Former OceanBank leaders on Friday morning received a death penalty, a life sentence and some combined 150 years behind bars for violations leading to nearly US$90 million of losses at the bank.

A month after the trial of 51 defendants, most of whom were ex-bankers of the Đại Dương JSC Bank (OceanBank) opened on August 28, the Hà Nội People’s Court on Friday sentenced the bank’s former Director General Nguyễn Xuân Sơn, 54, to death for deliberate breaches of law, power abuse and graft.

Former Chairman of the Board Hà Văn Thắm, 44, was sentenced to life imprisonment for similar charges plus breaches of loan regulations.

Forty-one leaders of OceanBank and its branches faced between six years and 18 months in jail, of whom a few received suspended sentences.

Missing loan

A part of OceanBank’s VNĐ2 trillion ($88.8 million)-loss was linked to another notorious ex-banker Phạm Công Danh, who is serving a life sentence for causing VNĐ9 trillion of losses to his own Việt Nam Construction Bank – the biggest economic probe in Việt Nam’s history.

Thắm in 2013 promised Danh and another ex-banker Hứa Thị Phấn a loan of VNĐ500 billion from OceanBank. The loan to one of Danh’s companies – the Trung Dung Commerce and Services - was signed off by then-Vice Director General Nguyễn Văn Hoàn under Thắm’s orders without proper collateral assets.

The Trung Dung Company failed to repay the loan.

The court found the foursome guilty of breaching loan regulations, sentencing Danh and Phấn, respectively, to 14 and 17 years in prison. Hoàn, in particular, faced 22 years of incarceration due to additional charges for the overpayment of interest to the bank’s customers.

Former Trung Dung Director General Trần Văn Bình was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Interest overpayment

According to the verdict, Thắm in early 2011 began paying interest rates exceeding those regulated by the State Bank of Việt Nam to all customers depositing at Oceanbank.

Thắm ordered then-CEO Nguyễn Minh Thu, who took over from Nguyễn Xuân Sơn after he was appointed Chairman of the Member’s Council of the oil behemoth PetroVietnam (PVN), to carry out the policy.

OceanBank spent more than VNĐ1.5 trillion on the excessive interest payments from 2010 to November 2014, of which VNĐ246 billion was transferred to Sơn, who was accused of stealing the money.

Thu was sentenced to 22 years behind bars for deliberate breaches of law and abuse of power.

Graft accusation   

PVN’s VNĐ800-billion investment into OceanBank by May 2011 was equivalent to 20 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.

The court ruled that 20 per cent of the VNĐ246 billion Sơn appropriated, VNĐ49.2 billion, was from State-owned PVN, meaning Sơn had committed the crime of graft, resulting in his death sentence.

Sơn was also involved in other interest overpayments when he was OceanBank’s Director General.

In 2008 Thắm established the BSC Việt Nam company to collect fees from those making loans at the OceanBank, which later would be used as extra interest/customer services to some of the bank’s customers.

Thắm transferred VNĐ69 billion from such fee collection to Sơn, who then stole the money, according to the verdict.

BSC former Director General Phạm Hoàng Giang will spend four years in prison while the company’s former chairwoman Hoàng Thị Hồng Tư’s three-year sentence was suspended. — VNS


Court asks to expand OceanBank investigation

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People’s Court on Friday asked police to expand the probe into the OceanBank case to clarify reaming questions.

The police must look into the responsibilities of those who ordered the investment of PVN and several of its subsidiary companies into OceanBank, which resulted in the loss of PVN’s VNĐ800 billion.

Regarding Ninh Văn Quỳnh, the former Director General of the PVN, the court asked the police to continue its investigation on his testimony of receiving VNĐ20 billion from Nguyễn Xuân Sơn via OceanBank.

Further investigation was called for into the testimonies of Sơn and Nguyễn Minh Thu, who claimed they gave extra interest to leaders of some State-owned oil companies like the Vietsovpetro, the Bình Sơn Refinery and the PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation.

The court also called for a probe into the inspectors of the State Bank of Việt Nam who failed to report on the wrongdoings of OceanBank despite several inspections out at the time. — VNS