Former Ocean Bank chairman Hà Văn Thắm admitted his violations on Thursday, saying his actions were aimed at saving his job and preventing the bank from going bankrupt.– Photo laodong.com.vn
HÀ NỘI – Former Ocean Bank chairman Hà Văn Thắm admitted his violations on Thursday, saying his actions were aimed at saving his job and preventing the bank from going bankrupt.
In one of the biggest economic crime cases in Việt Nam, Thắm and 47 other former leaders and employees of the bank are being tried for charges including breaching loan regulations of credit institutions, abusing positions and power while on duty and intentionally acting against State laws on economic management, causing serious consequences.
The fourth day of the hearing at the Hà Nội People’s Court focused on questioning defendants to make clear their violations in illegally paying interest rates outside of deposit contracts to customers, causing losses of VNĐ1.576 trillion (US$70 million) for the bank, affecting the central bank’s monetary market management policy and hindering the implementation of State’s monetary policy.
Thắm admitted his violations and said his actions were caused by a need to complete his quota and avoid being dismissed. He said the payment to “care for customers” was illegal, but the bank could have gone bankrupt if they had not done it.
He asked the court to reduce legal responsibilities of his accomplices, because they were also forced to do so to adapt to the difficult context at that time.
The trial, which opened on Monday, is expected to last 20 days.
According to the People’s Procuracy’s indictment, Ocean Bank committed extremely serious violations in lending, mobilising deposits, and paying customers higher interest rates than the ceiling regulated by the central bank, causing heavy losses for the bank and its shareholders and hindering the implementation of State monetary policy.
The indictment also stated that while holding the highest position at Ocean Bank, Thắm personally directed the Ocean Bank Board of Directors to approve a loan to Phạm Công Danh, former Managing Board Chairman of the Construction Bank.
The loan was approved without meeting loan conditions and without collateral assets, causing losses of nearly VNĐ350 billion ($15.5 million).
Other defendants present at the hearing included former director general Nguyễn Xuân Sơn and Nguyễn Thị Minh Thu, former deputy director general Nguyễn Văn Hoàn and Lê Thị Thu Thủy, and former directors of Ocean Bank branches and transaction offices.
Thắm, 43, was arrested in October 2014.
Under Thắm’s direction, Ocean Bank’s bad debts climbed to nearly VNĐ15 trillion ($666 million), with pre-tax losses reaching more than VNĐ10 trillion as of March 2014.
The Ocean Bank case is one of the six biggest economic crimes that the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee was asked to bring to trial by the first quarter of 2017.
The State Bank nationalised the Ocean Bank in May, 2016. - VNS