A branch of the Vietnam Construction Bank in HCM City (Source: nld)

The Investigation Police Agency of the Ministry of Public Security said on November 1 that it launched criminal proceedings against 16 former officials of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) for economic management wrongdoings.

The move was a follow-up to a case on Pham Cong Danh, ex-chairman of the VNCB Board of Directors and chairman of the Member Board, who has been detained since July 26, 2014 for further investigation into acts against the State economic management that caused heavy consequences. He was also accused of committing credit lending violations while he was at the bank.

On July 17, 2015, the police affirmed they had sufficient evidence to prove that from December 2012 to March 2014, Pham Cong Danh directed his staff to withdraw over 18.41 trillion VND (roughly 876 million USD) from VNCB for his private use.

Among the 16 defendants, Pham The Tuan, former deputy head of the VNCB’s supervisory group and a member of the VNCB’s Member Board, was prosecuted for irresponsibility in economic management.

The prosecution decision said Tuan did not report nor take any prompt action to prevent Pham Cong Danh and his accomplices from withdrawing money from the VNCB, costing the bank 2.5 trillion VND.

Meanwhile, Le Cong Thao, ex-director of the VNCB’s IT Centre, was charged with deliberately acting against State regulations, triggering serious consequences.
The remaining 14 defendants faced prosecution for violating the State’s laws on lending in the operation of credit organisations.

They were banned from leaving their residences from October 23.

In connection with the case, the police earlier commenced legal proceedings against 21 defendants, including two former officials at the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV): Ha Tan Phuoc, former deputy director of the SBV branch in Long An province; and Le Van Thanh, former chief inspector of the SBV branch in Long An.

Both Phuoc and Thanh were charged with “negligence of responsibility causing serious consequences” in accordance with Article 285 of the Penal Code.

Under a decision dated March 5, 2015 by SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh, the SBV has acquired all the equity of the VNCB, with stakes transferred at the price of zero dong per share. The acquisition is compulsory to restore the VNCB's payment abilities in line with the general efforts to create a healthier banking system.

VNCB was established by Trust Bank in May 2013. Trust Bank was operational for 23 years, with charter 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 VNCB, other commercial banks that the SBV owned this year were OceanBank and GP Bank. The SBV acquired all three banks this year at zero dong per share due to the banks' ailing performance and failure to meet the required charter capital increase.-VNA