Bank employees get heavy sentences for causing $5.3 mln loss

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court yesterday sentenced a former credit officer of an Agribank branch to 22 years in prison and gave other heavy sentences to others involved in a swindling case that caused a loss of US$5.3 million to the branch.

Huynh Trung Hieu, who was a credit official at the Ho Chi Minh City Branch No. 3 of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), got the sentence at the trial opened on Tuesday for him and seven other defendants.

Hieu and three other former officials of the branch were charged with “irresponsibility causing serious consequences”.

Of the three, Dao Phuong The, former head of the Planning Department of the branch, got 12 years in jail, Nguyen Huu Long, deputy director of the branch, received 10 years, and Doi Sy Thuy, former director of the branch, was given a suspended 3-year sentence.

Meanwhile, the other four defendants Tran Huu Thien, Dang Ngoc Minh, Nguyen Minh Thuan and Pham Thi Duoc, were tried on charges of “swindling to appropriate assets.”

Thien was sentenced to 8 years in jail while Minh and Thuan received 7 years each and Duoc got five years.
The court ordered these four defendants to pay VND111 billion ($5.3 million) to the branch.

Police are hunting for one more defendant in the case, Tran Quoc Dan, who was chairman of the Dai Phuong Uyen Real Estate Joint Stock Company. The man is considered the mastermind of the scam to appropriate a huge amount of money from the branch.

According to the indictment, Dan and the four had set up bogus companies and forged a number of land use right certificates and house ownership certificates in the 2009-2010 period.

They then used the legal status of the bogus companies and these fake papers to apply for loans at the branch.

These former banking officials had not examined loan dossiers and skipped many lending procedures to enable Dan’s group to sign six credit contracts with the branch and later received loans totaling VND191 billion.

After the scam was uncovered, Dan fled and the branch could only recover about VND80 billion.