Đặng Thanh Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Supreme Court yesterday handed down a three-year suspended sentence with five-year probation sentence, for Đặng Thanh Bình, former deputy governor of the State Bank of Việt Nam, on the charge of “lacking responsibility and causing serious consequences”.
The appeals trial, which began last week, was related to the case of Phạm Công Danh, former chairman of the Việt Nam Construction Bank (VNCB), who was found guilty last year for illegally withdrawing more than VNĐ9 trillion (US$402 million), the biggest-such loss ever uncovered in the country’s banking sector. Danh was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Bình was charged for involvement in the "grand scheme" of Danh and his accomplices, and for failing to oversee fraudulent transactions undertaken by Danh and his accomplices that caused $402 million in losses for VNCB.
The court accepted a part of Bình’s appeal and reduced the punishment from three years in jail to a three-year suspended sentence. The five years of probation sentence, called “under management” by the court, will entail monitoring, but not house arrest.
Two other defendants, Phạm Thế Tuân and Ngô Văn Thanh, who are former members of the monitoring team set up by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) at the VNCB, faced the same charges as Bình and received a one-year suspended sentence with a subsequent two years under management, and one year in jail (less than six months handed down in the first-instance trial).
The appeals of two others, Hà Tấn Phước and Lê Văn Thanh, were rejected. They were sentenced to two years and two and one-half years in prison, respectively.
According to the indictment, Bình took charge of SBV’s legislative department whose primary responsibility was helping the governor implement a restructuring plan for six weak lenders, including VNCB.
In August 2012, he signed and submitted a VNCB restructuring plan to the government and received in-principle approval from the SBV.
Bình proposed in the restructuring plan that VNCB should be classified as a weak credit institution so that the transfer of its stake from a group of former shareholders to an investment group led by Danh could be thoroughly investigated.
Bình set up a monitoring team at VNCB consisting of Hà Tấn Phước, Lê Văn Thanh, Phạm Thế Tuân and Ngô Văn Thanh.
Bình eventually acted against his own proposal by applying no scrutiny to Danh and his fellow shareholders.
This enabled Danh and the shareholders to take over VNCB with ease and use the bank as a means for economic crimes.
As of July 2014, when legal proceedings were launched against Danh and his accomplices, VNCB held negative equity of VNĐ18 trillion ($793 million), fourfold the amount before restructuring, with debts totalling more than VNĐ38 trillion ($1.67 billion).
Bình, who has 25 years of experience in the banking industry, served as deputy governor of the State Bank of Việt Nam from 2005 until he retired in August 2015.
According to the court, Hà Tấn Phước caused losses of nearly VNĐ3.5 trillion; Lê Văn Thanh, about VNĐ6.6 trillion; Phạm Thế Tuân, VNĐ3.5 trillion; and Ngô Văn Thanh, VNĐ10.5 trillion. — VNS