Bank official suspended in alleged graft

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The Saigon-Hanoi Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SHB) suspended its Khanh Hoa branch director after two employees were found forging a VND50 billion (US$2.56 million) passbook.


Although SHB's inspectors concluded that the bank didn't suffer losses from the violation, branch director Truong Ngoc Nguyen was still suspended, SHB Director General Nguyen Van Le said Thursday.


Earlier this week SHB placed the two employees, suspected of the indiscretion, on leave.


Early this month, a routine check conducted by the bank found Nguyen Thi Truc Kieu, deputy chief of the branch's accounting finance department, and Chu Thi Hang Nga, supervisor of the customer service department had forged the passbook for a man named Vu Xuan Lai.


Last month, Lai had come to the branch and expressed interest in depositing some VND10 trillion ($513.34 million) which, he said, came from a low interest development loan he'd obtained from a foreign organization.


Lai advised the two employees to pen a passbook worth VND50 billion as a test for using the funds. They agreed to do so, even though the money had yet to be deposited.


Upon receiving the book, Lai, a Hanoian, took it with him, but did not return.


He was arrested on December 9, and submitted the passbook to police.


According to Le, the bank has received offers from big time overseas depositers since 2008. 


The bank's central brass have warned all of their branch managers to be careful with such offers.


The case remains under investigation.


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