Ringleader faces fresh charge in Vietnam's $190 mln bank scam

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The Ministry of Public Security investigators are seeking another charge against a former banker who led 16 people to cheat local banks and companies out of nearly VND4 trillion (US$190.59 million).

Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, 35, a former deputy chief of the risk management office at Vietinbank's Ho Chi Minh City branch, is now facing a fresh charge of "forging seals and documents" from more than ten banks, businesses and individuals, the newspaper reported on Thursday.

Investigators said they believed that the faked seals and documents allowed Nhu and her accomplices to swindle half of the money.

Last year end, investigators proposed that the People's Supreme Procuracy, Vietnam's highest prosecutors' office, ratify the charge of fraud against Nhu.

Her accomplices, including other bank staff, also face charges of fraud, abuse of power, and credit loan violations.

However, prosecutors earlier this year ordered investigators to extend their investigation before ratifying the charges, saying that some parts of the case were not clear enough.

According to inspectors' findings, in 2007 Nhu borrowed more than VND200 billion from banks and individuals at high interest rates to do business in real estate.

Since then she had borrowed more, also with high interest rates, which brought her debts to many hundreds of billions of dong as of 2010, while her business suffered losses.

Between March 2010 and September 2011, Nhu led others in the forging of bank seals and documents in order to swindle money.

The money came from deposits at three banks, including Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), nine companies and three individuals, at two Vietinbank branches in and around HCMC

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Inspectors said ACB deposited nearly VND719 billion ($34.17 million) at the Vietinbank branches between June and September 2011, and the deposited money was later pocketed by Nhu.

Investigators say the deposit from ACB was illegally approved by six former leaders of the bank. Banks are prohibited by Vietnamese law to deposit funds at other banks in order to earn interest.

ACB's former senior managers who were involved in the deposit are Nguyen Duc Kien, a co-founder, Ly Xuan Hai, former CEO, Tran Xuan Gia, former chairman, and former deputy chairmen Trinh Kim Quang, Le Vu Ky, and Pham Trung Cang.

They are now being investigated for the deposit and other wrongdoings.

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