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Harsh penalties handed down on former Ocean Bank executives
The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Oct 2, 2017,18:30 (GMT+7)

Harsh penalties handed down on former Ocean Bank executives

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC - The People’s Court of Hanoi on September 29 handed down capital punishment and life imprisonment on two former leaders of Ocean Bank for their roles in a massive fraud case resulting in huge losses for the State, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.

Nguyen Xuan Son, former general director of Ocean Bank, was given a death sentence, while Ha Van Tham, former chairman of the bank’s board of directors, was sentenced to life behind the bars, after a month-long trial involving 51 bankers and businessmen.

Particularly, Son, who later became head of State-owned PetroVietnam (PVN), was sentenced to death for embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement, while Tham was jailed for life on the same charges, as well as violating lending rules.

Dozens of other banking officials were sentenced to between 18 months and 22 years in prison. Notably, former general director of Ocean Bank Nguyen Minh Thu was sentenced to 22 years in prison, former chairman of the board of directors of Construction Bank Pham Cong Danh 14 years, and vice head of Phu My Co Ltd Hua Thi Phan 17 years, for embezzlement, abuse of power, appropriation of property and violating lending rules.

According to the court’s verdict, Tham approved a VND500-billion (US$22 million) loan to Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of Construction Bank, via a property firm without properly securing collateral.

Between 2011 and 2014, Tham and other bank officials also offered deposit rates higher than those set by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to many customers, including PVN, causing a financial loss of VND1.576 trillion.

Meanwhile, Son appropriated over VND60 billion by coordinating with Tham to charge customers additional fees, VND49 billion from PVN and VND200 billion from Ocean Bank.

Their wrongdoings led to a loss of more than VND10 trillion and bad debt of more than VND14 trillion for Ocean Bank in total, forcing SBV to put the bank under special control. SBV then acquired Ocean Bank at zero dong and took responsibility for all of its liabilities.

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