Vietnam arrests 2 central bank execs over $829mln embezzlement

Thanh Nien News

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 Photo credit: VnEconomy
Police on Friday arrested two senior managers of the State Bank of Vietnam's office in the southern province of Long An for their involvement in the misappropriation of nearly VND18.41 trillion (US$829.23 million) at a local bank.
The arrest of Ha Tan Phuoc, 53, vice director of the Long An office, and Le Van Thanh, 52, chief inspector of the office, was confirmed by Nguyen Hoang Minh, vice director of the central bank's branch in Ho Chi Minh City, news website VnExpress reported.
Initial information is that both Phuoc and Thanh were in charge of supervising the activities of the Vietnam Construction Bank, between February 2012 and May 2014.
However, they allegedly failed to stop the bank's board chairman Pham Cong Danh and CEO Phan Thanh Mai from ordering their subordinates to appropriate over VND18.41 trillion for personal expenses, the website reported.
Police busted the case last July, arresting Danh and Mai, who were both dismissed right before the arrest, along with another 17 people with the bank.
All the suspects, including the state bank's executives, are being investigated on charges of "deliberately violating state regulations on economic management," "dereliction of duty", and "violating lending rules".
Danh and Mai were board chairman and CEO of Thien Thanh Group, which along with a few investors joined an effort to reform the Vietnam Construction Bank from the distressed Trust Bank in 2013.
Established in 1989, Trust Bank started getting into problems in 2011 with increased bad debts, mainly in the real estate sector. The state bank then listed it among nine weak lenders in need of restructuring.
After the 2013 restructuring effort, the Vietnam Construction Bank still suffered losses, and needed more fund, estimated VND3 trillion ($135.12 million).
But its shareholders failed the mission, prompting the state bank to step in, taking over the bank and assigning Vietcombank to join its management.
GP Bank's case
In another news, the police on the same day arrested Ta Ba Long, 60, board chairman of Global Petro Bank and his vice chairman Doan Van An, 58, VnExpress reported.
Long and An, both suspended from their positions in May, are now being investigated on charges of "deliberately state regulations on economic management, resulting in serious consequences."
Their arrests came about ten days after the central bank took over GP Bank. The troubled lender, which was the smallest of Vietnam's nearly 40 partly private lenders by assets, failed to restructure its operations, prompting the central bank to step in.
Vietinbank has been appointed to join the management of GP Bank.

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