Hanoi police seek fraud charge against honored businessman

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Hanoi police proposed fraud charge against a prominent businessman who was once exonerated from an 18-year jail term.


Nguyen Dinh Chien, 59, head of Bac Ha Investment and Trade Joint Stock Company and Bac Ha Hong Kong Group was arrested on Tuesday.


Chien stands accused of falsifying financial documents, including papers from foreign banks, in order to hide the value of his businesses and to cheat others.


Investigations showed that Chien had appropriated VND20 billion (US$1.04 million) from Nguyen Trai University, and VND6.5 billion ($340,670) from Dai Vien Duong Company.


The director general was also accused of using land titles from the Dai Vien Duong Company to secure an VND80 billion ($4.2 million) loan from Dai Duong Bank. Police say Chien did not use the money for his stated purposes.


In 1996, when he was the director of a Hai Phong real estate company, Chien was arrested by Can Tho police in the Mekong Delta following accusations that he had misappropriated public assets.


Chien allegedly owed more than VND152 billion ($7.9 million) worth of loans and goods to several state-run companies.


Chien spent 28 months in custody and was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1998.


He later appealed to the People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City, and had all charges cleared in 2006 after two appeals found a lack of proper evidence.


In 2008, Vietnam's highest court also ordered Can Tho prosecutors to publicly apologize Chien, and compensate him for 28 months in custody and some 10 years of legal limbo.


The man once demanded VND568 billion ($29.8 million) in compensation to make up for lost profits as his business closed following his arrest and imprisonment.


In May 2009, Chien appeared as a successful business figure on the well-known national VTV1 channel television talk show Nguoi duong thoi (Contemporary People).

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