Vietnam sentences banker to death, debtors get life in grand scam

By Tran Ngoc Quyen - Ngoc Anh, Thanh Nien News

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Vu Viet Hung, former director of the Central Highlands branch of Vietnam Development Bank, receives a death sentence for lending nearly a hundred million dollars to fake business contacts. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

A court in the Central Highlands on Thursday gave the death sentence to a Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) executive and several life sentences to others involved in a hundred-million-dollar scam.
The defendants had taken advantage of credit privileges given to exporters to fake documents and borrow more than VND2 trillion (US$94.88 million) from VBD’s Central Highlands branch for Dak Nong and the neighboring Dak Lak Province, as well as Nam A bank at its Hanoi branch, and the Ho Chi Minh City-based Orient Commercial Bank.
Vu Viet Hung, 57-year-old former director of the VDB branch, was punished on three charges - a death sentence for taking bribes in the form of a BMW car worth 3.2 billion in late 2009, a life sentence for fraud, and 20 years in jail for violating lending regulations.
His borrowers, Cao Bach Mai and Tran Thi Xuan, former directors of two local companies, both received life sentences on fraud and bribery charges.
Mai told the court that she had colluded with wholesalers in Nanning, China to establish a company there and faked 70 contracts for agricultural produce export with them to borrow VND1 trillion from VDB between October 2008 and July 2010.
Xuan had asked Mai to help fake 65 export contracts to borrow some VND940 billion from the bank.
The two had appropriated more than VND357 billion from the bank by the time they were arrested.
Mai said they had to bribe Hung when they needed to borrow due to business  roubles. She also mentioned bribes worth around VND130 billion, including 3-5 percent commissions for approving each loan contract, a diamond ring worth $25,000 and $100,000 in cash, but the judges said there was not enough evidence to hold Hung responsible for those.
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, another company director, received 20 years in jail for fraud because she helped Mai open the fake company and also borrowed VND200 billion from OCB on Mai and Xuan’s behalf.
Nguyen Thi Van, former chairman of Song Cau Cooperative, received a life sentence, and Dang Thi Ngan, 20 years, for fraud as they borrowed money from OCB and Nam A Bank to pay the interest at VDB.
A number of bankers also received jail punishments for violating lending regulations.
Truong Dinh Hai, former director of the Hanoi branch of Nam A bank, ended up with ten years, Ta Thi Xuan Y, former head of the customers service department at Ho Chi Minh City office of Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) eight years.
Five-year jail terms were handed down to Vo Tien Dat, former director of the HCMC office of OCB, Lam Huu Hanh, who was former general director of OCB, and Tran Xuan Loc, former head of the credit department for export at VDB branch.

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