High-profile banker Nguyen Duc Kien, former Vice Chairman of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) Founding Council still faced a sentence of 30-year imprisonment as declared by the Hanoi Court of Appeals on December 15.

In June 2014, Kien, 50, was sentenced to 30-year imprisonment by the Hanoi People's Court on four counts of illegal trading, fraud for appropriation of assets, tax evasion, intentional violations of the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences.

In addition to being jailed, Kien was fined over 75 billion Vietnamese dong (3.55 million U.S. dollars) for tax evasion.

During the first hearing of the case, the judging council ruled that Kien used six of his own companies between May 2007 and August 2012 to conduct financial and gold trading valued at more than 21.4 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD) without the proper licences.

The businesses involved are Thien Nam Production and Import-Export JSC, B&B Trade and Investment JSC, Asia Financial Group JSC, Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) Hanoi Investment JSC, Asia Hanoi Investment Financial JSC, and Asia Investment JSC.

Regarding tax fraud, according to the council, between 2009 and 2010, the B&B company’s activities, including gold trading, saw profits, but Kien did not declare them. The Ministry of Finance concluded that the income tax B&B had to pay was over 25 billion VND. Up to now, Kien has yet to pay this sum.

In addition, Kien swindled to appropriate assets in a mortgage of 20 million shares of the Hoa Phat Steel JSC worth 264 billion VND (12.4 million USD) at the bank in May 2012.

The court found sufficient evidence that Kien and his accomplices, including former ACB General Director Ly Xuan Hai, former Vice Chairpersons Le Vu Ky and Trinh Kim Quang, former Vice Chairman of the ACB Board of Directors Pham Trung Cang, and former standing member of the ACB Board of Directors Huynh Quang Tuan – intentionally violated the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences when on March 22, 2010 they issued a decision mandating individuals to deposit ACB’s cash and foreign currencies at credit organisations.

Between June and September 9, 2011, Hai empowered the chief accountant to deposit 720 billion VND (33.8 million USD) at Vietinbank’s Nha Be and Ho Chi Minh City branches. However, the money was embezzled by Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former Deputy Chief of the Risk Management Department of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).

Moreover, Kien and the former ACB officials also issued policies to buy stocks and invest in ACB shares, causing losses worth nearly 690 billion VND (32.4 million USD).

Charged with intentional violations of the State economic management regulations causing serious consequences, Hai was sentenced to 8 years in prison while Quang and Ky received 4 years behind bar. Cang and Tuan was sentenced to a jail term of three and two years, respectively.

Kien will face adjusted fine on charge of tax evasion./.