Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, a former Vietinbank executive, is escorted after her trial in Ho Chi Minh City for swindling nearly VND4 trillion in deposits. Photo by Le Quang
A Ho Chi Minh City court Monday sentenced a former bank executive to life in jail plus 20 years for a nearly VND4 trillion (US$189.78 million) fraud.
The Supreme People’s Procuracy, the prosecutors’ office, had asked for a life sentence for 36-year-old Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, a former banker at the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank), Vietnam's biggest partly private bank by assets.
Nhu had pleaded guilty to faking the stamps of seven companies and that of the Vietinbank branch in HCMC's Nha Be District, signatures of the bank’s managers and deposit-holders, and loan documents to steal from nine companies, three banks, and three individuals.
Vo Anh Tuan, Nhu’s main accomplice and a deputy director of Vietinbank's Nha Be branch, was sentenced to 20 years for fraud.
The court, after a three-week trial, also sentenced 21 other accomplices, including former Vietinbank employees and directors and deputy directors of some companies, to between 17 years and a year's suspended sentence.
But Vietinbank was not held responsible, with the court saying that Nhu committed the crimes without her employer knowing about it.
Vietinbank is not obliged to compensate the victims, it said.
The indictment said Nhu’s financial problems started in 2007 when she started to borrow from banks, companies, and individuals at high interest rates to make real-estate deals.
Her debts escalated to hundreds of billions of dong by 2010 while her business suffered losses.
She persuaded many banks, companies, and individuals between March 2010 and September 2011 to deposit money in Vietinbank, claiming it paid interest of 18-36 percent, and faked Vietinbank seals and documents to swindle VND3.98 trillion of their money.
Six Asia Commercial Bank executives, including co-founder Nguyen Duc Kien, former CEO Ly Xuan Hai, and former chairman Tran Xuan Gia, will be tried in a different case for approving deposits of nearly VND719 billion ($34.17 million) at Vietinbank.
Banks are prohibited from depositing funds in other banks in Vietnam.
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