Former banker gets death in $93 mln swindle case

The former director of a branch of the Vietnam Development Bank has been sentenced to death in a large swindling case that was uncovered six years ago

Vo Viet Hung at the trial for him and 12 other defendants in Dak Nong Province on March 13, 2104

The People’s Court of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has sentenced Vo Viet Hung, 57, the ex-director of Vietnam Development Bank (VDB)’s branch in Dak Lak-Dak Nong Provinces, to death. He was charged with three offenses in a swindling case that occurred in 2008.

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Hung received the sentence on Thursday at the trial opened for him and 12 other defendants in a large swindling case that amounted to over VND1.9 trillion (US$93 million).

He was charged with taking bribes, swindling to appropriate assets, and violating regulations on lending at credit institutions. He was sentenced to death on the first charge, life imprisonment on the second, and 20 years in jail on the last. Thus, the combined punishment for Hung was the death sentence.

Many former bankers at Nam A Commercial Bank’s Hanoi Branch and the Ho Chi Minh City transaction center of Oriental Commercial Joint Stock Bank also received their sentences on  charges of violating regulations on lending at credit institutions.

According to the indictment, Hung approved numerous loans worth VND1,939 billion in total to Cao Bach Mai, 65, the former director of Minh Nhat Trading and Services Co Ltd in Dak Nong, and Tran Thi Xuan, 50, the former director of Nhat Tan Trading and Services Co Ltd, in July 2008.

Hung clearly knew that all the contracts and other documents included in the loan files of both Mai and Xuan were counterfeit, but he still approved their applications.

Mai and Xuan told the court that both had to pay Hung many bribes totaling VND117 billion in return for Hung's approval of loans. They also said they jointly bought a BMW-X6 car at VND3.2 billion for Hung. In addition, Mai said he had given Hung a diamond ring worth $25,000 and $100,000 in cash.

However, according to the court, there is only enough evidence to affirm that Hung received the car as a bribe.

Hung rejected all the charges imposed on him in the indictment. He also turned down all allegations against him by the other defendants.

Therefore, the jury had to release Hung’s previous testimonies related to his offenses as well as evidence that prove that he had committed wrongdoings.

The jury also sentenced both Mai and Xuan to life imprisonment on charges of giving bribes and swindling assets to appropriate assets.

Tthe other defendants were given sentences ranging from 3 years suspended to 20 years in jail.

Of these defendants, Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, former chairwoman of Song Cau Cooperative, was sentenced  to 20 years in prison, and Truong Dinh Hai, the former director of Nam A Commercial Bank’s Hanoi Branch, received 10 years in jail.

Meanwhile, Vo Tien Dat, the former director of HCMC transaction center of Oriental Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB), Lam Huu Hanh, the former deputy general director of OCB, and Tran Xuan Loc, the former head of  VDB’s Dak Lak-Dak Nong branch, each received a sentence of 5 years in prison.


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