25 Vietnam bankers face charge in massive loan scam

By Mai Tram, Thanh Nien News

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The Ministry of Public Security police have asked prosecutors in Soc Trang Province to ratify charges against 27 suspects, including 25 bank officials, for allegedly orchestrating a loan scam involving a major seafood exporter that went bankrupt owing more than VND1.6 trillion (US$75 million).
Lam Minh Man, 34, chief accountant, and Trinh Thi Hong Phuong, 34, vice director of the privately-owned Phuong Nam Seafood Joint Stock Company have been arrested and face "fraud charges."
The 25 bankers face charges of “violating loan regulations at credit organizations.” 
The list of suspects includes executives and officers of the Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Hau Giang provincial branches of LienVietPostBank, Vietnam Development Bank (VDB), Sacombank, Vietcombank and An Binh Bank.
According to investigators, between 2008 and 2010, Lam Ngoc Khuan, the chairman and director of Phuong Nam, instructed his subordinates to forge financial documents attesting to the company's solubility to secure loans worth trillions of dong at the aforementioned banks in the Mekong Delta.

Lam Ngoc Khuan’s residence located next to Phuong Nam‘s seafood processing factory in Soc Trang Town was mortgaged to a local bank. The Ministry of Public Security has issued an international wanted warrant for Khuan's arrest as he moved to the US  with his family in 2012. Photo credit: VnExpress

In reality, the company operated at a loss every single year through 2012 -- the same year
Khuan moved to the US with his family, leaving behind VND1.6 trillion in debt or more than five times the company's capital. 
The company, which was once listed among Vietnam's top 10 seafood exporters, had become insolvent due to bad investments.
Khuan and his accomplices pocketed around VND472 billion ($22.1 million) from the scam, investigators said, adding that Khuan alone stole VND52 billion.
The rest of the debt was accrued through bad investments.
The Ministry of Public Security has issued an international wanted warrant for Khuan's arrest.

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