Five charged with defrauding Vietnam bank out of $4.7 mln

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Prosecutors in the central province of Ninh Thuan Friday charged five people, including three former bank officials, with swindling nearly VND100 billion (US$4.72 million) from the Vietnam Development Bank (VDB).

Vo Thanh Danh, former director of VDB's branch in Ninh Thuan, together with his subordinates, Vo Thanh Xuan and Le Quang Vu, were charged with "violating regulations on loaning."

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hai Trung, former chairman of the Southern Central Industrial Investment Joint-stock Company (SCIC), and Nguyen Thiet, former director of the company, were charged with "fraud."

According to the indictment, when the SCIC was established in 2008, Danh ordered Xuan and Vu to approve its applications for loans and issue a certificate of guarantee that allowed the company to make loans for its export contracts.

Between March and October of 2009, SCIC's leaders faked contracts in order to borrow a total of VND225 billion ($10.6 million) from several of the bank's branches.

In May of last year, the SCIC lost its creditworthiness as it owed nearly VND100 billion to VDB Ninh Thuan, prosecutors said.

They said after successful loans, Trung lent Danh nearly VND8 billion ($378,000).

In a different case, Danh is being investigated on charges of "abusing power" for signing a certificate of guarantee which allowed the Ninh Thuan Marine Transportation and Development (MTD) Joint-stock Company to borrow over VND200 billion ($9.5 million) from a bank branch in Nha Trang.

The certificate was aimed to guarantee the loans for an MTD project to build two 5,000 DWT oil tankers, but Ninh Thuan authorities had yet to approve the project when Doanh had issued the certificate.

The project was initiated by Trung together with Phan Tuan Linh, who was then MTD's chairman, and Tran Huu Trung, former director of MTD.

Later, when the authorities rejected the project, VDB's leaders asked VDB Ninh Thuan to annul the certificate. But, Danh refused to follow the order, which allowed the three people deprive Vinalines Real Estate Company of VND58 billion ($2.74 million).

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