Vietnam court gives life, 16 years in $26.8 mln bank fraud

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A court in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong Wednesday sentenced a man to life for defrauding a bank out of nearly US$26.8 million and his brother to 16 years in jail.

Phan Thanh Chinh, 49, general director of Cong Chinh Import Export Company, faked its profit through forged documents to get a loan from Techcombank.

Phan Thanh Lap, 35, his brother, was deputy general director.

Their sister Phan Thi Lan, 53, another deputy general director, received a three-year suspended sentence.

All three were charged with "fraud to appropriate assets."

Several officials of Techcombank's Ho Chi Minh City branch also got three-year suspended sentences for "irresponsibility causing serious consequences," including branch director Luong Huu Lam, his deputy Dinh Thi Hien, deputy head of the business desk Bui Minh Hai, and customer service staff Pham Phu Phong and Nguyen Thuy Hang.

Huynh Xuan Quang, the bank's auditor, got a similar sentence for his failure to uncover the fraud.

The indictment said the three siblings, who founded the company in 2000, created fraudulent accounts to cover up losses of nearly $15 million to trick the Hanoi-based bank into issuing a credit line of $26.76 million.

In a similar case police in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho Wednesday proposed charges against six bank officials for lending a local seafood processor $9.1 million based on forged documents.

They include four sacked officials from the local branch of the Vietnam Development Bank - director Luong Quang Minh, head of the export credit department Nguyen Thi Mai, her deputy Lam Chi Cong, and teller Nguyen Minh Phuc.

The other two were from the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) former director Tran Thi Phuong and former deputy director Tran Viet Hai.

Nguyen Thi Thu Suong, deputy director of An Khang company, said she bribed the officials so that they did not analyze her company's documents too deeply.

Mai allegedly got more than $159,000, Minh $67,400, Phuong $8,132, and Hai $2,392.

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