Vietnam's largest private lender VietinBank faces criminal investigation

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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A branch of VietinBank in Hanoi. Government inspectors have found many wrongdoings in the bank's activities from 2009-2012. Photo: VNA A branch of VietinBank in Hanoi. Government inspectors have found many wrongdoings in the bank's activities from 2009-2012. Photo: VNA

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Government inspectors have proposed an investigation into violations found at VietinBank, the country's largest partly private bank in terms of assets, after checking its activities from 2009 to 2012.
The inspectors said Tuesday that they had found signs of swindling in six different lending cases at the bank’s four branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 
VietinBank has been ordered to "review responsibilities" of individuals and reclaim the loans in these cases.
There were also many other violations, including hiding bad debts, breaking lending regulations and setting higher deposit interest rates than allowed. 
According to the inspectors, some of the bank's branches broke the maximum deposit interest rate of 14 percent set by the State Bank of Vietnam from March-September 2011.
An examination of 26 loan files at the VietinBank Leasing Company, with a total value of more than VND406 billion (US$18.8 million), found that the bad debt ratio was wrongfully reduced from 11.06 percent to 4.08 percent. 
In financial investment, VietinBank did not follow the rules on using capital from government bonds, investing into risky businesses.  
For instance, the bank is facing risks of major losses after VietinBank Fund Management Company invested more than VND252 billion into Vietnam Steel Corporation and VND40 billion into My Dinh Real Estate Investment JSC.
VietinBank also bought real estate without proper planning and assessment, the inspectors said. 

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