Vietnam jails bankers for gambling away deposits

By Lam Vien, Thanh Nien News

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Dang Ngoc Bich (2nd, L), a former Agribank executive, and his subordinate Nguyen Huu Thuy (in red) being sentenced by a judge in Lam Dong Province on December 15, 2014. The other three received minor sentences for helping gamble the money away. Photo: Lam Dang Ngoc Bich (2nd, L), a former Agribank executive, and his subordinate Nguyen Huu Thuy (in red) being sentenced by a judge in Lam Dong Province on December 15, 2014. The other three received minor sentences for helping gamble the money away. Photo: Lam

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A court in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong  on Monday sent two Agribank employees to prison for gambling away over US$560,000 of other people's money.
Dang Ngoc Bich, 34, received 23 years for masterminding the scam at the Cat Tien District branch. Prior to his arrest, Bich served as the head of the brach's business planning department
Nguyen Huu Thuy, his subordinate, received nine years.
The duo were charged with embezzlement, abusing the public trust, and gambling.
According to the indictment, Bich ordered Thuy to keep certain loan payments off the books.
They then used those customers' savings books as collateral to borrow money from the branch without recording the transactions.
Bich also borrowed VND12.7 billion from eight individuals, including VND8.7 billion from a single person, and never managed to pay them back.
By the time their crimes were discovered in August of 2013, Bich and Thuy had lost VND12 billion by betting on soccer matches online.
Thuy’s brother, Nguyen Huu Huy Vu, 32, received a 12-month suspended sentence for helping to facilitate the bets, so did Le Khanh Ninh, 40, a Lam Dong local, and Pham Van Quang, 50, of Ho Chi Minh City.
A court found that Vu introduced Bich to the online gambling site.
Quang was Bich’s regular gambling partner, while Ninh helped transfer the money used in the scam.
The court also ordered Bich and Thuy to return the money they owed.
Vietnam Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Agribank) is currently Vietnam’s largest state-owned bank, and has been notorious for huge lapses in management.
A number of Agribank managers have been arrested or placed under criminal investigation since last year.
Pham Thanh Tan, the bank’s former general director, and his deputy Kieu Trong Tuyen are being probed for missing lending violations worth around VND3.9 trillion ($184 million) at the bank branch in southern Hanoi.
In September, Vu Quoc Hao, 59, the former director of Agribank's Finance Leasing Company No. 2 (ALC2), was sentenced to death by the HCMC People’s Court for embezzling over US$6 million.
Executives at many of the bank’s branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have also been arrested for unrelated instances of mismanagement that have cost the state millions of dollars.

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