18 defendants jailed over Agribank financial loss hinh anh 1At the trial (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Thirty-year imprisonment sentences were pronounced during a trial in Hanoi on a corruption case involving over 2.425 trillion VND (107.57 million USD) at a branch of the State-owned Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).

The sentences will be served by former Director of the South Hanoi branch Pham Thi Bich Luong and former Deputy Director Chu Thi Kim Hien who were prosecuted for violating lending regulations in the credit organisations’ operation, and for abusing their positions and authority while performing duties.

Thirteen of the 18 defendants are former Agribank officials while four others are former customs officers, and one is a former company director.

The 13 bank officials were sentenced to 2 – 16 years in prison for various irresponsible banking practices, some of which caused serious consequences. They were banned from working in the credit sector from 3-5 years after finishing their sentences and are required to pay back 2.5 trillion VND to Agribank.

The indictment at the trial read that the ‘Enzo Viet Joint Stock Company’, founded in June 2007, registered an investment into a weaving & dyeing garment factory, worth nearly 530 billion VND (23.5 million USD) in northern Ninh Binh province. After changing investment certificates and shareholders three times, Enzo Viet was renamed ‘Lifepro Viet Nam Joint Venture Company’ and the weaving & dyeing garment project renamed the ‘Luxfashion’ project in early 2011.

Five foreigners, including a Chinese national, three Canadians, and one Italian at ‘Lifepro Viet Nam’, are charged with misappropriating assets of Agribank’s South Hanoi branch.

Through changing the legal entity, and renaming the weaving & dyeing garment project, they then compiled dossiers to seek loans at the branch to buy machinery, equipment and materials and to buy six fashion brands. The total misappropriated money exceeded 2.425 trillion VND.

The Ministry of Public Security issued a decision prosecuting the five foreigners for embezzlment of assets. However, they fled Vietnam and police had to suspend the investigation.

From August 2008 to August 2012, former Director Luong asked Agribank’s Board of Directors to raise her authority to approve loans, sign mortgage contracts and disburse loans that the branch had provided for the ‘Lifepro Viet Nam Joint Venture Company’, the ‘Vietmade Joint Stock Company’ and the ‘Lifepro Viet Nam Joint Stock Company’.

Luong directed the compilation of a dossier seeking more authority to approve loans for the Lifepro Viet Nam Company, based only on the information given by the firm and without conducting proper verification, or due diligence.

She also directed, and directly engaged in the verification and disbursement of loans to the Lifepro Viet Nam Joint Venture Company. Luong intentionally ignored loan disbursement conditions set up by Agribank’s Board of Directors to ask for the supply of foreign currency loans.

Furthermore, Luong did not ensure strict examination of the use of the loaned money, thus not recognising that her branch had been cheated by Lifepro Viet Nam Joint Venture Company - according to the indictment.-VNA