Pham Cong Danh, ex-Chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors, Chairman of the Members Board and General Director of Thien Thanh Group (2nd R) (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on July 19 opened the first instance trial on a corruption case involving over 9 trillion VND (405 million USD) in the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), the largest ever economic loss caused by corruption recorded in the country.

Among the 36 defendants is 51-year-old Pham Cong Danh, ex-Chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors, Chairman of the Members Board and General Director of Thien Thanh Group, who is accused of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences” and “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions.”

The charge was also put on Phan Thanh Mai, former VNCB General Director; Mai Huu Khuong, former Director of the VNCB’s Sai Gon branch; Hoang Dinh Quyet, former Deputy Director of the VNCB’s Sai Gon branch and former Director of the VNCB’s Lam Giang branch; Nguyen Quoc Vien, former head of the VNCB Supervisory Board; Phan Minh Tung ; former head of Thien Thanh Group’s Finance Department; and Bach Quoc Hao, former deputy director of the VNCB debt management and asset exploitation company.

Pham Viet Thep, former Director of An Phat Company; Tran Van Binh, former General Director of Trung Dung Company; Nguyen Thi Kim Van, former General Director of Huong Viet Company; and Le Cong Thao, former Director of the VNCB Information-Technology Centre, are being prosecuted for “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences.”

Twenty five other defendants face charges of “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions.”

According to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, after the State Bank of Vietnam gave a nod to TrustBank’s restructuring plan, Danh took over the failing bank and renamed it the VNCB.

Danh abused his post as Chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors and Chairman of the Member Board of Thien Thanh Group to instruct his staff in the group and the bank to commit a range of violations.

From June-July 2013 and from February-April 2014, he asked his accomplices to sign false house rental contracts at 268 To Hien Thanh Street and 816 Su Van Hanh Street in Ho Chi Minh City, with his two companies – Trung Dung and Huong Viet.

He then guided the transfer of over 601 billion VND (roughly 27 million USD) from the VNCB to the two companies. The money was transferred via a private account and used to pay interests for six companies under Thien Thanh Group, the debts this group owed Hai Tien Investment Development Company, and customer services.

From December 2012-March 2014, Danh and his accomplices set up false files and committed various violations of the lending regulations of credit institutions

The VNCB was established by Trust Bank in May 2013. Trust Bank was operational for 23 years, with chartered capital of 3 trillion VND (142.85 million USD). In mid-2014, the SBV appointed new officials to the VNCB after some former top executives at the bank were arrested for allegedly violating state regulations.

Apart from the VNCB, other commercial banks that the SBV owns are OceanBank and GP Bank. The SBV acquired all the three banks at zero dong due to their ailing performances and failure to meet required charter capital increases.

The court is scheduled to run until August 18.-VNA