Bankers charged in $5 mil Vietnam loan scam

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Prosecutors in Ho Chi Minh City have laid charges against officials from a city-based Agribank branch and some of their clients who colluded to allegedly embezzle more than US$5 million from the bank.

Doi Sy Thuy, director of branch No 3 in District 3, his deputy Nguyen Huu Long, business planning head Dao Phuong The, and teller Huynh Trung Hieu have been charged with "abusing power" and "violating lending regulations."

The "directors" of four non-existent companies, "formed" just for the fraudulent scheme, face charges of committing fraud to appropriate others' properties.

Tran Quoc Dan, chairman of a real estate company and the man who forged documents to prove the existence of the companies to the bank, remains at large.

Between 2009 and 2010 he colluded with the bankers to get loans for these companies worth more than VND111 billion ($5.33 million).

Dan and Tran Huu Thien, a "director" of one of the fake companies, also face trial for embezzling more than $8.23 million from four people through property transactions using fake titles.

Several Agribank employees have been convicted in major embezzlement cases recently, mostly to finance gambling habits.

One was arrested in the city in October for allegedly stealing $1 million.

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On July 17 a court in Binh Dinh Province handed a life sentence to a teller for stealing nearly $1 million.

That came just 15 days after a Hanoi court sentenced one employee to death and two others to life for embezzling more than $2.18 million.

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