A Vietnamese court has sentenced an Indian man to 15 years in prison for embezzling nearly US$78,000 from a Vietnam-based subsidiary whose parent company is an Indian firm where the man was deputy general director.
Defendant Soumyodiptha Saha, 35, an Indian citizen, received the jail term at his first-instance trial held at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.
The man was found to have appropriated the aforementioned amount from Ho Chi Minh City-based B9 Beverages Co., Ltd., whose parent company is B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in India, according to the indictment.
In 2019, B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. recruited Saha and appointed him deputy general director in charge of finance affairs, whose duties were to control financial transactions related to the company’s subsidiaries in other countries, including B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese subsidiary opened an account at Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited in Ho Chi Minh City, for its payment transactions, in 2009.
As a senior executive in charge of accounting affairs of this subsidiary, Saha was authorized to approve payments of under $10,000 at his discretion using this account.
Taking advantage of this privilege, from August 30 to October 28, 2019, Saha transferred a total amount of more than VND1.9 billion ($77,930) worth of 27 transactions from the account to an account held by a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen Song An, at Techcombank in Vietnam.
An left Vietnam in March 2020 via Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City after withdrawing the entire amount in her account.
When Saha’s act of embezzlement was discovered, the man told investigators that An is his wife and they married in India in 2019.
At the trial, Saha declared that he and his wife were quarreling in January 2020 when he went to Vietnam and revealed to An the origin of the money he had transferred to her.
The man added that they have since lived in separation, without his knowing about her whereabouts.
Saha told the court that he did not intend to appropriate his company’s money but he only “borrowed” it to help his wife to repay her debts, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper cited the foreigner as saying.
After Saha was prosecuted, Saha’s mother in India repaid all the appropriated money to the aggrieved party, B9 Vietnam Company, which confirmed the repayment and later filed a petition with the court to waive its claim against the Indian man.
Judging that the foreigner’s act has seriously violated the rights and interests of B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. that is under the protection of the laws of Vietnam, the trial panel finally decided to impose the 15-year jail term.