Court upholds death sentence for senior banker in central Vietnam

By Trung Chuyen - Ngoc Anh, Thanh Nien News

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Vu Viet Hung (R) at trial on Friday. Photo: Ngoc Anh Vu Viet Hung (R) at trial on Friday. Photo: Ngoc Anh

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The Supreme People’s Court upheld the harsh sentences handed to a senior banker and several entrepreneurs in the central highlands for their roles in a $100 million scam that began in 2008.
Vu Viet Hung, former director of the Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) branch for Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces in the Central Highlands, had his death sentences upheld for taking bribes, swindling property and violating credit regulations, during the conclusion of an appeals hearing on Friday in Dak Nong.
The court rejected all appeals and requests for leniency from the other defendants in the case.
According to the verdict, the defendants falsified documents to capitalize on loan preferences extended to exporters and borrowed more than VND2 trillion (US$94.88 million) from the VBD branch, as well as Nam A bank in Hanoi, and an Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hung was found to have accepted a BMW car worth 3.2 billion in late 2009, from his borrowers.
Cao Bach Mai and Tran Thi Xuan, former directors of two local companies, both received life sentences for fraud and bribery.
Mai told the court that she had colluded with wholesalers in Nanning, China to establish a company there and generate 70 fake export contracts for agricultural produce.
She then used the counterfeit contract as the basis for a VND1 trillion loan from VDB between October 2008 and July 2010.
Xuan asked Mai to help fake 65 export contracts to use as the basis of loans worth some VND940 billion.
The two had appropriated over VND357 billion from the bank by the time they were arrested.
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, another company director, received 20 years in jail for fraud because she helped Mai open the fake company and also borrowed VND200 billion from OCB on Mai and Xuan’s behalf.
Nguyen Thi Van, former chairman of Song Cau Cooperative, received a life sentence, and Dang Thi Ngan, 20 years, for fraud after they borrowed money from OCB and Nam A Bank to pay interest on a loan from VDB.
A number of bankers also received jail punishments for violating lending regulations.
Truong Dinh Hai, former director of the Hanoi branch of Nam A bank, was sentenced to ten years.
Ta Thi Xuan Y, former head of the customer service department at OCB's Ho Chi Minh City office will serve eight years.
Five-year jail terms were handed down to Vo Tien Dat, former director of the HCMC office of OCB, Lam Huu Hanh, who was former general director of OCB, and Tran Xuan Loc, former head of the export loan department at the VDB branch.
At the trial on Friday, the Supreme court ordered the defendants to return VND529 billion to OCB and VND50 billion to Nam A Bank.

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