Vietnam bankers face charges for swindling $1.5 mil

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The Ministry of Public Security on Friday filed charges of abuse of power to appropriate state assets and violation of regulations against a former Agribank branch head and 11 of his  subordinates for allegedly stealing US$1.5 million from the bank.

Nguyen Ngoc Khai, former director of the bank's branch in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, allowed the other suspects to steal the money by faking deposit documents and getting interest worth of VND18 billion ($863,800) in advance, Tien Phong newspaper reported.

They also forged bank officials' signatures on other deposit documents to pocket more than VND4.8 billion ($230,350) in commission. There were no deposits made.

Last year Agribank allowed employees to get commissions for getting deposits.

They used all the fake deposits to take out loans worth of VND9 billion.

But Khai is likely to get a commuted sentence for reporting to the police.

The 53-year-old was dismissed from the state-owned bank in September last year for faking his high school diploma, college degree, and English certificate to get his job.

He had been appointed acting director of his branch in June 2010.

Several Agribank employees have been convicted in major embezzlement cases recently, mostly to finance gambling habits.

Earlier this month one was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City for stealing $1 million.

On July 17 a court in Binh Dinh Province in south-central Vietnam handed a life sentence to a teller for stealing nearly $1 million.

That came just 15 days after a Hanoi court sentenced one Agribank employee to death and two others to life for embezzling more than $2.18 million. It was the first ever death sentence awarded in Hanoi for embezzlement.

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