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Ex-deputy governor of central bank stands trial
The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Jun 25, 2018,12:26 (GMT+7)

Ex-deputy governor of central bank stands trial

The Saigon Times Daily

Dang Thanh Binh, former deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) - PHOTO: TTXVN

HCMC – The HCMC People’s Court opened today (June 25) the first-instance hearing of Dang Thanh Binh, former deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), and four other defendants for their negligence leading to serious consequences at Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), local media reported.

The other defendants were members of the central bank’s monitoring team at VNCB, namely Le Van Thanh, former general inspector of the SBV branch in Long An Province; Ha Tan Phuoc, former deputy director of the SBV branch in Long An; Pham The Tuan, ex-deputy director of the HCMC branch at the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), and Ngo Van Thanh, former deputy head of Inspection and Surveillance Department of Vietcombank Long An.

The court hearing will last until June 29. A total of 10 lawyers are representing the five defendants, with four acting for the 64-year-old former deputy governor of the central bank, local media reported.

According to the indictment, Binh was in charge of the Inspection and Supervision Agency and the Legal Department at SBV to help the governor direct the restructuring of six ailing banks, including VNCB.

In August 2012, Binh signed and submitted a restructuring plan for VNCB to the Government and received in-principle approval for the proposal.

Under the plan, VNCB was classified as a weak credit institution so that the transfer of its stake from a group of old shareholders led by Hua Thi Phan would have to be thoroughly investigated beforehand. Phan had led the Phu My group of shareholders at TrustBank, which was later converted into VNCB through another group – Thien Thanh – headed by Pham Cong Danh.

However, Binh failed to properly implement SBV’s solutions, which included looking into the financial capability of Thien Thanh Group before allowing the group to take over TrustBank.

Thien Thanh rebranded TrustBank as VNCB, and Pham Cong Danh acted as its chairman. Under his leadership, the group created heavy losses for the bank.

When legal proceedings were launched against Danh and his accomplices, as of July 2014, VNCB held negative equity of more than VND18 trillion (US$787.2 million), six-fold the amount before the restructuring, coupled with payable debts totaling over VND38 trillion (US$1.66 billion).

Binh was held accountable for failing to oversee the fraudulent transactions undertaken by Danh and his accomplices that caused a hefty loss of over VND15 trillion for VNCB.

The situation later prompted the central bank to take over the debt-ridden bank at zero Vietnam dong in early 2015 in a bid to protect the legitimate rights and interests of its depositors.

The four other members of the central bank’s monitoring team at VNCB received similar charges for their partial roles in the case. They failed to fulfill their tasks, helping Danh and his accomplices commit violations.

Phuoc’s negligence caused losses of some VND3.45 trillion; Le Van Thanh, VND6.59 trillion; Tuan, VND3.45 trillion; and Ngo Van Thanh, VND10.04 trillion.

In September 2016, the HCMC People’s Court handed down a 30-year sentence to Danh for his credit and financial violations that caused losses of over VND9 trillion for the lender.

Danh and his accomplices deliberately violated State rules on economic management, causing serious consequences. However, those defendants who worked closely with the relevant agencies and promised to return part of the lost money were handed lenient sentences.

According to the jury, Thien Thanh Group, its former chairman Danh and his wife Quach Kim Chi had civil liabilities, while the other defendants were their employees and did not manage to obtain personal gains.

Therefore, Danh was ordered to pay compensation of VND63 billion, which was spent on a banking software upgrade project called CoreBanking. He and Thien Thanh Group were required to pay back nearly VND4 trillion to VNCB as this amount was borrowed by the group’s subsidiaries.

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