Founder's companies owe Vietnam bank $341 mln

TN News

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Six companies connected with a co-founder of Asia Commercial Bank who was arrested last year on fraud and other charges owe over VND7.1 trillion (US$341.21 million) to the bank.

In its 2012 financial report, ACB, Vietnam's largest private lender by assets, said around half of the amount was loans it had given to companies in which Nguyen Duc Kien was chairman or director.

One of the companies has been investigated since last August when Kien was arrested on charges of fraud, illegal business activities, and "deliberately violating state regulations resulting in serious consequences."

Authorities are still investigating the transactions between the bank and the companies.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Vietnam, the bank's auditor, said the State Bank of Vietnam has yet to wrap up its inspection of ACB aimed at clarifying the nature of the debts owed by Kien's companies.

It said ACB deposited nearly VND719 billion ($34.14 million) at Vietinbank and another VND1.1 trillion ($52.24 million) at another bank.

Kien and six other former executives of ACB have been accused of approving the Vietinbank deposits between June and September 2011.

Banks are prohibited by law from depositing money at other banks to earn interest.

The deposits were later misappropriated by Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, deputy chief of Vietinbank's HCMC risk management office, and some others.

She and 16 others are facing charges of cheating local banks and companies out of nearly VND4 trillion ($190.59 million) in 2010-11.

The deposits earned an interest rate of 14 percent plus an additional 3.7-13 percent, which also raises legal questions.

Following Kien's arrest, police also took in Ly Xuan Hai, former CEO of ACB, Tran Xuan Gia, former chairman, and  Trinh Kim Quang, Le Vu Ky, and Pham Trung Cang, all former deputy chairmen.

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