Pham Cong Danh (centre), former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Construction Bank, listens to the verdict of the appeal trial on December 25 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The High-Level People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City on December 25 upheld the prison sentences given by the municipal People’s Court to 12 defendants involved in the losses of over 6 trillion VND (258 million USD) at the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB).

The high court also rejected the appeal by the High-Level People’s Procuracy in the city to not recover 4.5 trillion VND from the bank’s successor.

On August 6, the HCM City People’s Court handed a 20-year prison term to Pham Cong Danh, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the VNCB, who was found guilty of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences” at the bank – now the Construction Bank.

The 45 other defendants in the case received from two years of suspended sentence to 30 years of imprisonment for the same charge.

The jury also concluded that certain sums of money must be recovered to address the case’s consequences and ensure the fulfilment of civil obligations.

After the verdict of the first-instance trial was announced, 14 defendants, six persons with relevant interests and obligations, and the High-Level People’s Procuracy in the city lodged appeals.

At the two-week appeal trial, the court rejected Danh’s appeal for revoking more money that he believed to be evidence of the case. It upheld the 30-year imprisonment penalty for Danh, who is also Chairman of the Board of Members and General Director of Thien Thanh Group, given to him in the first phase of the case last year.

It also dismissed 11 other defendants’ appeals against the prison terms given to them, but accepted those of two defendants and decided to give each of them a three-year suspended prison sentence after considering some new factors in their favour.

Regarding the High-Level Procuracy’s appeal for not revoking the 4.5 trillion VND from the Construction Bank to return to Danh and handle the case’s consequences, the court ruled that Danh had sent this sum of money to the VNCB to raise this bank’s charter capital, but this move had been rejected by the central bank. Meanwhile, no documents or evidence proving that Danh had used this money for personal purposes have been found.

Therefore, the jury dismissed the procuracy’s appeal and upheld the first-instance trial’s conclusion that the Construction Bank must return the 4.5 trillion VND to Danh.

This is the second phase of a case involving economic losses at the VNCB. In this phase, the 45 defendants were accused of causing more than 6.1 trillion VND in losses to the VNCB. The first phase dealt with the losses totalling 9 trillion VND.

The jury found that although Danh and his accomplices lacked financial capacity, he still received the Trust Bank, which he later renamed the VNCB, from Hua Thi Phan – former senior advisor of the management board of Trust Bank, and her accessories.

To maintain the bank’s liquidity, look after clients and raise charter capital, Danh and his accessories committed a series of wrongdoings, causing losses of over 15 trillion VND to VNCB.

In the second phase of the case, Danh used 29 companies established in his or other people’s names to borrow money from Sacombank, TPBank and the BIDV. After that, he deposited the money from the VNCB in these banks as guarantees for loans to the 29 companies, causing over 6.1 trillion VND in losses to the VNCB when these companies failed to pay off their debts.–VNA