Defendant Phan Văn Anh Vũ (also known as Vũ Nhôm), 42, former chairman of the Đà Nẵng-based Bắc Nam 79 Construction Joint Stock Company, at the appeals trial on Monday. — VNA/ VNS Photo Thành Chung
HCM CITY — The HCM City High-Level People’s Court on Monday (May 27) resumed the appeals trial of defendants involved in wrongdoings at Đông Á Bank (DAB), which incurred losses of more than VNĐ3.6 trillion (US$154 million).
The defendants in the case include Trần Phương Bình, former general director and vice chairman of the DAB management board, Phan Văn Anh Vũ (also known as Vũ Nhôm), former chairman of the Đà Nẵng-based Bắc Nam 79 Construction Joint Stock Company, Nguyễn Thị Kim Xuyến, former deputy general director of DAB, and others related to the case.
According to defendant Phan Văn Anh Vũ, he has officially been a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda since 2017. Antigua and Barbuda are located in the West Indies, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
In the appeal, Vũ said that he did not commit crimes and that the first-instance court did not assess the evidence fully and objectively.
“The conclusions of the investigating body and the evidence verified at the court have conflicts, so there are not enough grounds to accuse me of abusing my position and power to appropriate property,” he said.
As the case’s mastermind, Trần Phương Bình said he accepted his life imprisonment sentence, but said the court should reconsider the amount of interest that he must pay to DAB as compensation for his misdeeds.
Bình also said he would assume all civilian responsibilities on behalf of his subordinates and others involved.
Nguyễn Thị Kim Xuyến and 15 other defendants appealed to reduce the penalty on the charges of “abusing power to appropriate assets” and “intentionally violating regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences”.
Last month, the city’s People’s Court postponed the appeals trial because of the absence of many defendants. The People’s Procuracy said the legitimate rights and interests of the defendants and others connected to the case should be protected.
Bình, Vũ, Xuyến and other defendants were prosecuted last year by the Supreme People’s Procuracy on charges of “abusing power to appropriate assets”, “intentionally violating regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences” and showing “lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences” at the bank.
On December 20 last year, the HCM City People’s Court sentenced Bình to life in jail on the charges of “abusing power to appropriate assets”, and to 20 years in prison for “intentionally violating regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences”.
Vũ was sentenced to 17 years in jail for “abusing power to appropriate assets”.
Xuyến was sentenced to 20 years in jail for “abusing power to appropriate assets” and to 18 years in jail for “intentionally violating regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences”. On the two charges, Xuyến’s total prison sentence will be 30 years.
Another 23 defendants received sentences ranging from two to 17 years, including probation for some.
Investigators discovered that Bình, who was also chairman of DAB’s credit council, owned 10.25 per cent of the bank’s charter capital, and his family members held a further 7.7 per cent.
He was also in charge of the bank’s budget and investment division at the time, they said.
According to the indictment, Bình directed all activities of funding and investment at DAB and abused his power to appropriate property, causing a loss of VNĐ3.6 trillion.
The indictment said that DAB’s accumulated losses totalled VNĐ31 trillion, while equity capital was a negative VNĐ25.5 trillion.
Total assets at the time of the violations were only VNĐ47 trillion. Bình must be responsible for the losses, the indictment said.
The investigators concluded that Bình caused a loss of VNĐ200 billion to DAB while raising the bank’s charter capital from VNĐ5 trillion to VNĐ6 trillion.
The appeals trial is scheduled to run until June 7. — VNS