11 stand trial in Vietnam high profile loan scam

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 A trial on a loan scam at Agribank Finance Leasing Company II started in HCMC on November 6 / PHOTO: LE NGA

Eleven people including seven officials stood in the dock Wednesday as a Ho Chi Minh City court began hearings in a major loan scam said to have caused a state-owned leasing company VND531 billion (US$25.1 million) in losses.

The case at the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) Financial Leasing Company No.2 (ALCII) was named one of the 10 most high profile corruption cases involving government and other officials by the central Party Committee's Interior Commission.

Vu Quoc Hao, suspended director general of ALCII, and his accomplices are accused of "embezzlement", "abuse of power", "fraud", and "deliberately violating state economic regulations causing serious consequences."

They are charged with faking 10 lending contracts between April 2008 and March 2009, although ALCII was not licensed to provide loans, but lend equipment and make other technical investments.

Among the accused are four leaders of companies that acted as ALCII's partners in the fraudulent contracts through which the company disbursed more than VND795 billion ($37.6 million).

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From the disbursed money, Hao ordered his subordinates to pay a total of VND229.3 billion ($10.8 million) to nearly 30 businesses which the company owed to in order to cover its bad business performance and bad debts, according to the indictment.

As the kingpin of the scheme, Hao also pocketed nearly VND84 billion ($3.9 million) to pay off his own debts and for other personal purposes.

Dang Van Hai, chairman of the Quang Vinh Construction Ltd., Co. who closely worked with Hao to perpetrate the fraud, pocketed over VND150 billion ($7.1 million), prosecutors said.

Vu Thanh Lam, chairman of the judges' panel trying the case, told the Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online (Saigon Times) newspaper that he expects the trial to end on November 20.

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