Ex-bank officials' bribery trial postponed in Hanoi

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A court in Hanoi Thursday delayed the trial of two former officials of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) charged with receiving VND5 billion (US$257,069) in bribes from a company to approve a loan.


Hanoi's People's Court called for additional investigations, saying there were many conflicts between the testimonies of Doan Tien Dung, former Deputy General Director of BIDV, and Tran Thi Thanh Binh, Vice Director of a BIDV branch in the northern province of Hai Phong.


Some of the accusations and evidence against the pair were not sufficiently clear, the judge found.


At their arraignment on Wednesday, Dung and Binh were both charged with "abuse of power and authority for financial gains" - a crime punishable by between 20 years and life in prison.


According to the indictment, while he was at helm of BIDV Hai Phong before being promoted to Deputy General Director in September 2008, Dung approved a loan of nearly VND45 billion (US$2.4 million) to Hai Phong Weaving and Sewing Company and V.K. Company, both headed by Hoang Van Khanh.


The loans were based on the mortgage of the companies' properties, including a container truck depot, prosecutors said.


Early last year BIDV Hai Phong allowed Khanh to sell the mortgaged depot to Anpha Hai Phong Oil and Gas Joint-stock Company for VND57 billion ($2.9 million).


Dung then asked Khanh for several payments in exchange for approving the withdrawl of the sales proceeds, according to prosecutors.


Dung, with Binh acting as his accomplice, received VND4 billion ($209,478) from the V.K. Company, prosecutors alleged.


Dung was caught red-handed accepting VND1 billion ($52,369) from Khanh at a pho restaurant in February.

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