|The HCM City People’s Court on Tuesday began its trial of 28 former officials of Đại Tín Bank (Trust Bank) (now Việt Nam Construction Bank) for allegedly "abusing trust to appropriate property" and "intentionally violating state regulations on economic management and causing serious consequences".— Photo vov.vn|
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Court on Tuesday began its trial of 28 former officials of Đại Tín Bank (Trust Bank) (now Việt Nam Construction Bank) for allegedly "abusing trust to appropriate property" and "intentionally violating state regulations on economic management and causing serious consequences".
The key defendant, Hứa Thị Phấn, former senior advisor of the management board of Trust Bank and former chairwoman of the management board of Phú Mỹ Investment and Development JSC, did not appear in court because of reportedly poor health.
A representative for the court said it had sent a dispatch to see Phấn at the hospital as she could not attend because of her health. However, the court said that her absence would not affect the trial.
During an earlier investigation by police, Phấn did not submit any statement or declaration, stating that she was in poor health. But the court decided to open the trial based on the evidence that has been gathered.
More than 100 individuals and representatives of organisations appeared in court along with 50 lawyers.
$280 million loss
According to the results of the investigation, in June 2010 Hứa Thị Phấn and Phú Mỹ Investment and Development JSC and 14 other people bought over 254 million shares of Trust Bank for over VNĐ2.5 trillion ($110 million).
Phấn abused her holding of nearly 85 per cent of the bank’s charter capital to take over the management of all Trust Bank activities.
She took over the entire board of management, executive board and staff, and also took over all investment and credit activities. She abused trust to appropriate and misuse more than VNĐ12 trillion (nearly $530 million).
Phấn increased the value of her house at 5 Phạm Ngọc Thạch Street in District 3 in HCM City to sell her house to Trust Bank, causing financial damages of over VNĐ1.1 trillion ($48.5 million).
Bùi Thị Kim Loan, accountant for Phú Mỹ Co., Ltd., helped Phấn to embezzle a total amount of nearly VNĐ5.3 trillion ($231.6 million). Through 29 loans from Phú Mỹ, Phấn embezzled over VNĐ3.6 trillion ($158 million), according to the charges.
She also asked Trust Bank to illegally invest in four other real estate projects, embezzling over VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million), and to raise the value of another 25 properties sold to Trust Bank, embezzling over VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million), according to the court.
The investigation police concluded that violations committed by Phấn and others caused serious financial damage to Trust Bank, totaling VNĐ6.362 trillion ($280 million), excluding VNĐ5.64 trillion in damages from three other violations, which will be investigated in the second phase of the case.
Previously, at a trial about the loss of more than VNĐ9 trillion ($395 million) at Việt Nam Construction Bank (VNCB), HCM City People’s Court decided to launch criminal proceedings against Phấn for “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions” and “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences”.
She later appealed the charges, but the court rejected the appeal.
In 2012, Đại Tín Bank was restructured and rebranded as VNCB, and Phạm Công Danh became chairman of the bank’s management board.
Danh was later accused of devising scams to steal from the bank, including setting up fraudulent companies and fake documents to take out huge loans, which caused losses of over VNĐ9 trillion. — VNS