Vietnamese firm charged for nearly $20 million bank fraud

By Thai Son – Hoang Trang, Thanh Nien News

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The director of the Thai Son Industrial Trading Company in Hai Phong was charged with forging loan documents to steal nearly $20 billion from banks. PHOTO COURTESY OF TIEN PHONG
The director of a steel firm once lauded for its "outstanding performance" has been charged with orchestrating VND422 billion (US$19.83 million) worth of fraud.
The Supreme People’s Procuracy (the country’s top prosecution unit) announced charges on Monday against 11 company and bank employees for engaging in fraud, lending violations and criminal negligence.
Pham Van Thu served as the general director and board chairman of the Thai Son Industrial Trading Company which specializes in trading steel, iron and salvaged old ships in the northern city of Hai Phong.
Investigators say he forged loan documents to secure funds to invest in ancillary projects loans as his company sank deeper into losses.
When a series of loans came due in late 2010 most of Thu's properties had already been mortgaged, investigators say.
So Thu submitted forged steel and iron transaction receipts to 14 banks to secure VND509 billion in loans.
The banks included Vietcombank, DongA, Vietinbank, HDBank, and Maritime Bank.
Investigators also say Thu abused the legal status of 12 companies he'd opened and other closely connected firms, to put their property up as loan collateral.
He and his accomplices managed to blow nearly VND422 billion in loans secured from nine banks.
Le Quy Hien, former director of a HDBank branch, and the deputy head of the bank's credit assistance department, were accused of issuing Thu a VND100 billion loan despite the fact that his company was highly unqualified for the funds.
Director of the Business Customer Department at DongA Bank Phan Truong Quang Dong was charged with professional negligence resulting in losses of VND46 billion.
Thu’s company, opened in 1995, earned significant profits during its first year of operation and once received the title “Prominent Business” for its early success.

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