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​Former Vietnamese bank executive gets 30 years, $700mn fine

Saturday, June 02, 2018, 11:02 GMT+7
​Former Vietnamese bank executive gets 30 years, $700mn fine
Hua Thi Phan. File photo by Tuoi Tre

A former Vietnamese banking executive has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and required to pay over VND16,000 billion (US$704 million) worth of damages to a bank where she worked, in a high-profile case where she was accused of violating economic regulations and embezzlement.

Hua Thi Phan, former chief adviser of Vietnam Construction Bank, formerly known as TrustBank, will serve the jail term on charges of “abuse of confidence to expropriate assets” and “deliberate infringement of the government’s regulations on economic management which leads to severe consequences.”

This punishment carries the longest time span for multiple crimes with fixed jail terms a person commit at the same time in Vietnam.

Phan, 71, received the ruling in absentia from the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Thursday evening since she was in hospital, after being prosecuted for fraud in September last year and first brought to trial in early May.

She must pay Vietnam Construction Bank over VND1,105 billion ($48.62 million) in recompense, which is the amount she gained when the bank bought the house at 5 Pham Ngoc Thach Street in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City.

As the mastermind behind the racketeering, Phan asked lower-level employees of the bank to inflate the value of the building by multiple times from its true price and subjected it to a number of purchases for further price increases before having it sold to the bank.

She benefited by taking the difference between the real price and the end one, which was VND1,256 billion ($55 million).

In another case of misconduct, Phan coerced Phuong Trang Company, which was in urgent demand for capital for real estate investment, to sign loan and disbursement documents and loan receiving certificates well before the firm was expected to take out its 82 loans and a number of bonds.

All these items were collectively worth over VND16,500 ($690 million), and the enterprise only received about one fourth of it, more than VND3,900 billion ($171.6 million).

Phuong Trang unwittingly became indebted as Phan directed several Vietnam Construction Bank staff members under her lead to completed fake documents which said the firm borrowed the huge amount from the bank.

Phan has to give this sum of $690 million back to the VCB, according to the verdict.  

Phuong Trang company is only obliged to pay the amount it obtained and the attendant interest.

Phan is also liable for the court cost of around VND17 billion ($748,000).

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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