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Former CEO, chairman of Vietnam commercial bank arrested in lending scandal

Former CEO, chairman of Vietnam commercial bank arrested in lending scandal

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 22:30 GMT+7

Police from the Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday arrested Nguyen Minh Thu, former general director of the Dai Duong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Ocean Bank), for her alleged involvement in an unlawful lending instance uncovered at the bank late last year.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

The arrest of Thu, 42, is the next step in an investigation into the "violation of regulations on the lending activities of credit institutions" occurring at Hanoi-based Ocean Bank, according to police.

Thu had been the chief executive officer of Ocean Bank and a member of the bank’s board of directors since 2011.

She was elected the bank’s chairperson to replace Ha Van Tham, former chairman and founder of Ocean Bank, in late October 2014. Thu resigned after two months in power.

On December 28, 2014, the board of directors of Ocean Bank held an extraordinary meeting to elect Dao Thi Thuy, an independent board member, to replace Thu.

Nguyen Van Hoan, 38, who is also the founder of the bank’s lending council, and Tham, 43, were arrested on December 22, 2014 and October 24, 2014, respectively, on charges of breaching lending regulations pursuant to Article 179 of the Penal Code, the police said.

The State Bank of Vietnam has said it had found Tham committing many serious illegal acts during the implementation of a project to re-organize credit organizations.

One of Tham’s purported offenses was that he decided to unlawfully give loans worth hundreds of billions of dong (VND1 billion is equal to US$46,800) to Ho Chi Minh City-based Trung Dung Trading and Service One-Member Co. Ltd.

Hoan has been found actively assisting Tham in the illicit lending, investigators said, adding that Ocean Bank has been unable to recover these loans.

As stated on its website, Ocean Bank was founded in 1993 and converted its operation model to a commercial bank in 1997.

The bank offers customers multi-purpose financial/banking products and services that are suitable for the economic needs and features of each region of Vietnam, the website says.

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