|The People’s Court of HCM City on February 8 began its trial of Huỳnh Thị Huyền Như, former deputy chief of the Risk Management Department of the HCM City branch of VietinBank. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải|
HCM CITY — The People’s Court of HCM City on February 8 began its trial of Huỳnh Thị Huyền Như, former deputy chief of the Risk Management Department of the HCM City branch of VietinBank, and Võ Anh Tuấn, deputy director of VietinBank’s Nhà Bè branch, on charges of "swindling to appropriate assets" worth VNĐ1.085 trillion (US$51 million) from five companies.
On January 7, 2015, at the appellate trial of Như and her defendants, the judicial council rejected some of the accusations related to swindling of five companies, which included ORS Securities, SaigonBank - Berjara, Global Insurance Corporation, An Lộc, and Hưng Yên, as well as some of the charges related to Võ Anh Tuấn’s "swindling to appropriate assets" of Hưng Yên company.
The judicial council at that time said further investigation was needed to clarify if the charge should be “assets embezzlement” rather than "swindling to appropriate assets".
The role of Võ Anh Tuấn in taking VNĐ1.085 trillion from these five companies should also be made clear, the judicial council said.
After two years of investigation, the Supreme People’s Procuracy ruled that Như should be tried for "swindling to appropriate assets".
The Procuracy also prosecuted 10 former senior officials of Nam Việt Bank (Navibank) for “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences” for allowing their staff to send VNĐ1.5 trillion ($68 million) to Vietinbank through Huyền Như, and for permitting Như to illegally take VNĐ200 billion ($9.43 million). The 10 people will appear later at a different trial.
The judicial council summoned Nguyễn Văn Sẽ, former director of VietinBank’s HCM City branch, and Nguyễn Thị Minh Hương and Trương Minh Hoàng, two former deputy branch directors of VietinBank in HCM City, as people “who had rights and responsibilities” related to Như’s offence. However, only Hoàng showed up at the trial, while Sẽ is in the US and Hương is ill.
According to the earlier verdict, in 2007 Như used her position at the bank to raise over VNĐ200 billion ($9.43 million) from banks, organisations, and individuals at high interest rates to invest in the property market. In 2010, when the market collapsed, she went bankrupt.
Then, to repay loans, in 2008 she began borrowing from a loan shark at interest rates of 0.5-0.6 per cent per day. Two years later, Như turned to swindling to repay her debts.
Between March 2010 and September 2011, on the pretext of mobilising deposits, Như took VNĐ3.9 trillion ($176 million) from three individuals, nine companies and three banks by paying interest rates which were higher than those offered by other banks.
She counterfeited seals and documents of agencies and organisations related to the VNĐ1.085 trillion ($51 million) deposited in VietinBank by five companies.
She stole VNĐ718 billion ($32.5 million) from Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, VNĐ200 billion from the Nam Việt Commercial Joint Stock Bank ($9.43 million), and VNĐ180 billion ($8.5 million) from Việt Nam International Bank, according to the court.
Law enforcement authorities discovered and seized many properties owned by Như, but their total value only added up to VNĐ230 billion ($10.85 million).
Võ Anh Tuấn brought Như to Hà Nội and helped Như to mobilise money from Hưng Yên company. Tuấn knew about Như’s swindling, but agreed that Như could counterfeit deposit contracts between VietinBank’s Nhà Bè branch and Hưng Yên company.
Tuấn benefited by receiving VNĐ10 billion ($450,000) from the activity.
The court trial is scheduled to end on February 12. — VNS