Life sentence sought for frauds at Vietnam bank

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Vietnamese prosecutors are seeking life sentences for two bank officials allegedly involved in a nearly VND4 trillion (US$189.78 million) scam at Vietinbank.


Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, 36, a former deputy chief of the bank's risk management office in HCMC, stood trial along with 22 people, including bank employees, in Ho Chi Minh City Monday.


Prosecutors from the Supreme People's Procuracy, the country's highest prosecutors' office, recommended that Nhu get the life sentence for fraud and five to seven years for forgery.


They also recommended a life sentence for Vo Anh Tuan, Nhu's alleged main accomplice, who was the deputy director of Vietinbank's Nha Be branch, for fraud.


According to the indictment, in 2007 Nhu borrowed more than VND200 billion ($9.48 million) from banks, companies and individuals to make real-estate deals.


Afterward, she continued to borrow at high interest rates, which took her debts to hundreds of billions of dong as of 2010, even as her business suffered losses.


Between March 2010 and September 2011, she met with many banks, companies and individuals, convincing them to deposit money at two Vietinbank branches in and around HCMC with interest rates of 18-36 percent a year.


She forged seals and documents from Vietinbank and related companies and banks.


She then led her accomplices to steal money deposited by three banks, nine companies, and three individuals by using forged Vietinbank deposit certificates and other faked documents.


Prosecutors said Nhu and her accomplices managed to swindle VND3.98 trillion from three banks, nine companies and three individuals.


They recommended that 13 Vietinbank employees receive jail terms between four to 20 years on charges of "violating regulations on loans" and "irresponsibility causing serious consequences."


The Supreme People's Procuracy rejected requests by two local banks, ACB and Navibank, to make Vietinbank pay for the money Nhu swindled.


It said Nhu swindled the money for her personal purposes; therefore, Vietinbank would not have to pay.


It is Nhu who must pay, prosecutors said.


Prosecutors recommended that extended investigations be carried out to clarify the roles of more than 10 other people who used their names to help Nhu sign fake contracts to borrow money from local bank VIB.


They also recommended pressing charges of "irresponsibility causing serious consequences" against Nguyen Thi Minh Huong and Truong Minh Hoang, two deputy directors at Vietinbank's HCMC branch.


They asked the State Bank of Vietnam's governor to review the responsibility of the leaders of Vietinbank for the notorious scam.


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