​Vietnam banking mogul Tram Be still owes enormous debts to Sacombank

It may take up to three years to retrieve the collateral-backed debts

Tram Be listens to his arrest warrant in this photo provided by the police.

Vietnamese banking tycoon Tram Be, arrested this week on criminal charges, still holds two massive outstanding debts to Sacombank, his former company where he served as deputy chairman, a bank representative confirmed.

On Tuesday, Be was arrested and taken into four-month custody on charges of “deliberately acting against the state's regulations on economic management, with serious consequences” for his role in a massive bank fraud scandal that caused losses of over US$288 million.

Sacombank is one of Vietnam’s biggest banks by assets.

The 55-year-old banker was deputy chairman of Sacombank’s board of directors until November 2015. His membership on the board was terminated in February.

A Sacombank representative confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday that Be’s current debts to the credit institution are massive, but all of them are backed by collateral assets.

The representative also said it may take up to three years for Sacombank to retrieve those debts.

Police also launched criminal proceedings against 24 other individuals on Tuesday, issuing arrest warrants for 15 of these people, including ex-Sacombank CEO Phan Huy Khang.

Following the arrests, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, asserted that “all activities at Sacombank are running normally.”

Minh added that the State Bank of Vietnam is “still keeping a close watch on the lender.”

Be, Khang and their accomplices broke laws at four different banks, resulting in total financial losses of VND6.6 trillion ($288.4 million), according to the police.

The banks in question include Vietnam Construction Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VNCB), Tien Phong Bank (TPBank), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), and Sacombank.

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