Viet­nam con­victs 36 bankers for graft

The Myanmar Times - - Business | International -

A VIET­NAM court con­victed 36 for­mer bank em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing the chair, for steal­ing more than US$400 mil­lion, the largest sum ever pil­fered from Viet­nam’s scandal-hit bank­ing sec­tor.

The bankers from the joint-stock Viet­nam Con­struc­tion Bank se­cretly with­drew money from clients’ sav­ing ac­counts, us­ing the cash for loans or de­posit­ing it into their own ac­counts, re­ports said.

“The de­fen­dants were con­victed of de­lib­er­ately break­ing laws on eco­nomic man­age­ment and vi­o­lat­ing bank lend­ing ac­tiv­i­ties,” the Ho Chi Minh City court clerk told AFP.

“For­mer bank chair­man Pham Cong Danh was given 30 years in jail. Others were sen­tenced to be­tween 22 years in jail and three years pro­ba­tion,” he added.

Com­mu­nist Viet­nam’s eco­nomic growth hit 6.7 per­cent last year, its fastest rate in five years, boosted by strong ex­ports, for­eign in­vest­ment and do­mes­tic con­sump­tion.

But soar­ing pub­lic debts, bloated state-owned en­ter­prises and ram­pant cor­rup­tion have made eco­nomic progress vul­ner­a­ble.

The coun­try’s bank­ing sec­tor has been rocked by a se­ries of scan­dals in re­cent years, with the high-pro­file ar­rests of wealthy busi­ness­men and ex­ec­u­tives over al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, em­bez­zle­ment or in­com­pe­tence.

Ear­lier this year, three se­nior for­mer bankers and six se­cu­ri­ties of­fi­cials were ar­rested over a fraud worth mil­lions of dol­lars at the partly state-run MHB Bank.

Last July po­lice ar­rested the for­mer chair of state oil gi­ant Petro-Viet­nam over mis­takes that al­legedly led to the loss of a $38 mil­lion in­vest­ment in Ocean Bank.

Ocean Bank’s for­mer chair, Ha Van Tham, once one of Viet­nam’s rich­est busi­ness­men, is now in de­ten­tion, pend­ing trial for vi­o­la­tions of lend­ing reg­u­la­tions.

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